County Executive Adam Bello Announces Completion of New Trailside café at Seneca Park Zoo

July 18th, 2022

Photo of Trailside Cafe

Trailside Café offers indoor dining and new menu options

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, joined by state lawmakers, Monroe County Legislators, Seneca Park Zoo officials and local contractors cut the ribbon and formally opened the Trailside Café at the Seneca Park Zoo.

“A world-class zoo needs world-class amenities. This new café ensures that families can enjoy exceptional menu options while cooling off during hot summer days or warming up on winter visits to the zoo,” said County Executive Bello. “The Seneca Park Zoo is a true treasure in our community that attracts thousands of people every year. The Trailside Café is the beginning of a major expansion and renovation of the zoo. Thank you to Governor Hochul, our state delegation, New York State Empire Development and the Monroe County Legislature for their help and support of Seneca Park Zoo.”

The Trailside Café is a state-of-the-art facility designed to meet the growing expectations of members and guests looking for first-class amenities and expanded menu options. The Café features indoor dining spaces and is home to the zoo’s in-house catering kitchen. The catering hub will be the central support for all dining points at the zoo, including the Trailside Café, Savanna Outpost, Crater Canteen, and future Welcome Center and Tropics Complex event spaces, as well as for the many private catered events hosted at the zoo each year.

Following the 2018 five-acre expansion and Animals of the Savanna habitat, the Trailside Café is the newest facility added as part of the Seneca Park Zoo’s transformation. The next phase reimagines the front entrance experience, adding a new Conservation Resource Center and a 1.5 million cubic-foot Tropics Complex.

“Seneca Park Zoo’s new Trailside Café enhances the overall experience of zoo-goers of all ages while supporting our economy and nutritious options with locally sourced food,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney. “This space is an enticing kick-off to the zoo’s expansion plans for facilities that foster their ongoing environmental conservation and education efforts. I look forward to the wonder, discovery, and engagement that will be furthered for zoo visitors from across our region by this meaningful work.”

“The Seneca Park Zoo has long been one of Monroe County’s greatest public attractions,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “I am proud of the vision County Executive Bello has sought after for our zoo with funds secured in part by our local state delegation and Governor Hochul. The Trailside Café is the first step in the zoo’s new transformation. Providing food and beverages, the café will be at the center of all dining at the zoo and provide our families a new dining experience to try. It is improvements like this that will continue the tradition of excellence at the Seneca Park Zoo and keep visitors coming to the zoo year round!”

“The Seneca Park Zoo is an invaluable asset to our community and I am encouraged that the first phase of their renovation plan has delivered a family-friendly space to eat and gather,” said Senator Samra Brouk. “As we work in the Senate to preserve our natural resources and invest in projects that uplift our communities, the Seneca Park Zoo’s phased renovation promises growth in tourism, sustained economic activity for local food producers and importantly, to inspire our children about the natural world and encourage them to care about preserving our wildlife and ecosystem. I am proud to work with my colleagues in state government and County Executive Adam Bello to invest in landmark community treasures like our Seneca Park Zoo.”

“The completion of the Trailside Café further cements the Seneca Park Zoo as one of our region’s greatest attractions,” said Assemblymember Sarah Clark. This café will enhance the experience of zoo goers with a family friendly environment for all ages to enjoy, and create additional jobs in our community. Thank you Empire State Development, County Executive Bello, and all the stakeholders involved for your commitment and investment in the Seneca Park Zoo. Today’s ribbon-cutting ensures our Zoo will continue to be a main destination in Rochester and a place for all visitors to enjoy."

"The new Trailside Café is a wonderful improvement to one of our most beloved treasures in Monroe County, the Seneca Park Zoo,” said Assemblymember Jen Lunsford. “Not only is the Zoo an important place for our community and local families, but it has also become a top tourist destination for our region and beyond. The more we invest in improvements like this one, the more we attract tourism and maximize the economic benefits to our region. We should all celebrate this first step of what I believe will be many, to continue to enhance the experience at the Seneca Park Zoo for all."

“I would like to congratulate the staff of Seneca Park Zoo on this grand opening of the Trailside Cafe," said Assemblymember Demond Meeks. "For years, Seneca Park Zoo has served our community as a landmark destination for Greater Rochester. Improvements such as these provide our children and families with opportunities to both educate and enjoy themselves during their visit. It helps in creating cherished experiences and memories that give our children a sense of pride and inspiration early in their lives. Providing a better experience for visitors promotes tourism through the city of Rochester, giving support to our small businesses and our local economy. It means generating commerce and resources necessary to uplift our families and neighborhoods. I am hopeful that these investments will continue to provide tremendous service to the members of our community.”

Hope Knight, President, CEO and Commissioner of Empire State Development, who granted $1 million towards this phase of the Zoo’s expansion, commented, “Empire State Development understands the importance of Seneca Park Zoo as an economic driver in our region, and also recognizes how an amenity like the Trailside Café is essential to the guest experience, and we were proud to provide support for this project.”

“It is a joy to see the Trailside Café come to fruition and be able to provide our guests with this major upgrade to their visit to Seneca Park Zoo,” said Seneca Park Zoo Society President and CEO, Pamela Reed Sanchez. The Trailside Café is a harbinger of the buildings and experiences that will soon be a part of Seneca Park Zoo, and the Zoo Society is proud to partner with Monroe County and the SSA Group in these efforts.”

The Trailside Café is open to the public during regular zoo hours.