County Executive Bello, Seneca Park Zoo Break Ground on Trailside Cafe

June 25th, 2021

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and the Seneca Park Zoo today kicked off construction on the Zoo’s new Trail Side Café. This new facility will be in accordance with the Zoo’s Master Plan.

“I am thrilled to see work continuing at the Seneca Park Zoo in 2021,” said County Executive Bello. “After a strong start to the Master Plan in 2018, COVID-19 put a halt to the any work over the last 16 months. The future of the Seneca Park Zoo is bright, and I am confident that developers will capitalize on the meticulous preparation of the Master Plan and make the Seneca Park Zoo a truly fantastic place for visitors of all ages. “

The two-level, 9,000 square foot Trail Side Café will be located between the Conference Center to the north and an existing food pavilion to the south, and will be the replacement to the existing Eagle’s Landing food option. The Café’s ability to host zoo-goers will not be weather dependent, as the facility is indoors. While the Café will comfortably fit 40 people during regular hours, the space will double as a banquet hall capable of accommodating over 100 people. The design of the building is in a modern Adirondack style, utilizing real wood and stone to blend in, with not only surrounding buildings, but also the nature the Zoo exists in. Continuing in Phase 2 of the Master Plan, a major seating area will be added in front of the Trail Side Café, creating a central meeting hub for the Zoo.

 “I want to thank County Executive Adam Bello and his leadership moving this project forward and also the support from Empire State Development and the efforts of the Zoo Society and donations made by people who love the zoo and what it stands for,” added Patrick Meredith, Monroe County Director of Parks. “They have put their trust in us to do what is right in keeping our zoo relevant.  The new Trailside Café will provide new opportunities for the community and staff alike.  I look forward to the excitement this new addition to the zoo will bring.

Phase 1 of the Seneca Park Zoo Master Plan began in 2018 and included the new African savanna exhibit featuring giraffes, zebras, and rhinos. This project will be a continuation of the Zoo’s Master Plan and aims to be able to accommodate an expected increase in patrons. The construction of the Trail Side Café will also include a bypass road on Zoo property but outside the fence in order to circumvent construction occurring inside the fence. The road will share some space with the walking trail, which is very popular among Monroe County residents, but will not affect the access to the trail.

“Today is an exciting day for Seneca Park Zoo and the citizens of Monroe County as we take another step toward our goal of providing a world class experience for all our guests.  The new Trail Side Cafe will be a welcome and amazing addition to our zoo,” said Zoo Director Steve Lacy.

“As part of our A Wilder Vision capital campaign, the Seneca Park Zoo is proud to support the design and construction of the Trailside Café,” said Pamela Reed Sanchez, President of the Seneca Park Zoo Society. “We are grateful to Empire State Development for its significant financial support of this project, and are excited for the difference the Trailside Café will make for our guests, members, and tourists to our region.”

During the process of these renovations, the Seneca Park Zoo expects to maintain attendance while also accommodating the neighbors who reside to the east of the property. Much of the planning done by the Zoo and the Monroe County Department of Parks was designed to ensure that both of these aspects of the Seneca Park Zoo community are uninterrupted.