Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo is located in Central New York on 20-acres in Rome, New York. This is such a cute zoo and is A GEM for Family Fun!

Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo is a petting zoo that caters to children and family fun! Fort Rickey has an array of different animals but you can also pet and feed many different animals and there are some fun play areas for kids too!

Here is everything to know about Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo in Rome, New York:

Hours and Admission

Admission to the Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo is $10.75+tax for adults and $8.75+tax for children age 2-15. Kids under 2 are free and offer season passes for $32.25 for each adult and $26.25 for each child. They do not participate in any reciprocal zoo programs or have any discounts that I’m aware of. However, this was such a great value zoo because they had so much to see and do!

Admission price includes the zoo, a playground wooden boat, Wild Creatures Playland and a jumping pillow. There is also a water gun feature for extra (I believe $3 per person) but it wasn’t a super hot day and wasn’t being used.

The food for the petting area was $2 or $5 for 3 cups for food, as well as .25 food machines around the zoo.

The zoo accepts both cash and credit, but some extras like petting zoo food is cash only.

Please make sure to check their website for hours of operation as it does vary. It is a seasonal zoo and it open on the weekends only in the spring and fall, but is open seven days a week for summer vacation.

The last admission to the zoo is at 3pm each day as it closes at 4pm so please plan accordingly.

Please check the website for the most accurate hours for Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo and check their Facebook page for weather advisories as they may close during poor weather days like rain or excessive heat.

Animals

Deer at Fort Rickey in New York

If you are looking for the typical Zoo experience, you may be disappointed. There were no lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, zebras, or elephants.

However, nobody in our party really cared as the animals they did have did not disappoint!

Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo is more of a petting zoo where you can feed and pet a lot of animals like deer, goats, pigs, horses, sheep, alpacas, and more! Our kids loved feeding and interacting with the animals!

Some of our favorite animals at the Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo were the miniature donkeys, alpacas, wallabies, baby goats, bison, black spider monkey, wolves, and tortoise but you can find the whole list of animals at the zoo here.

They also had a lot of shows and presentations happening during the day. We did not organize our time well to catch one, but I wish we got to maternity ward to hold baby goats!

Things To Do

Wild Creature Playland at Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo in New York

Besides visiting, petting, and feeding the animals– there’s more to do than just watch animals here!

They offer a small wooden ship to play on but if you look a little further past, you’ll notice that’s not the only playground.

Fort Rickey also has a new play structure. My kids called it “Mini Billy Beez” because it was a play structure you’d see inside at the mall but it was outside and free to use! It wasn’t as large but it kept my kids quite busy– and the ball pit was popular!

Also, beyond the Wild Creatures Playland, there was a huge jumping pillow and it was free to use!

The Jumping Pillow is for kids only and they must wear there socks. It is limited to four jumpers at a time and their is staff monitoring. It was such a nice surprise!

They also had a water feature for $3 per kid but did not see it in action as it wasn’t super hot during our visit. It looked good for the young teen set, but I could be wrong.

Food and Concessions

There was one food concession stand toward the back of the Zoo in between Wild Creatures Playland and the Bouncing Pillow. It was a small concession stand with not a lot of offerings but they had drinks, slushies, chicken fingers, hot dogs, fries, and a few other items. They did take credit card.

Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo also had a picnic area (some shaded spots!) near the beginning of Zoo and you are able to bring your own food in provided you do not feed the animals. There were chickens roaming around the picnic area during our visit, so make sure you don’t feed the chickens either.

Parking

There is free parking and it’s right outside the entrance gate. The lot is on the small side, but it was easy to find a spot, and you can make your own spot if you really had to.

Tips

Here’s a few tips to make your visit to Fort Rickey great!

  • Make sure your kids wear socks! There’s a jumping pillow (free!) that requires socks as well as play structure that you’ll wish you put socks on your kids. (You can also buy socks there in a pinch, but just bring them with you!)
  • Bring Quarters! There are little feed machines around the park for .25 each! (You can also buy larger feed for $2 at a feeding station.)
  • Pull up the schedule online before your visit if there’s a special presentation you want to catch!
  • The zoo paths were wide and gravel. Strollers did manage fine, but there are also free two-seater wagons (free to borrow!) if you want to manage without one and then change your mind!
  • There was a shaded picnic area where you can bring in food!

Crowds

We visited in the morning/early afternoon on a weekend in June. It wasn’t too busy when we arrived but it did pick up a little toward the afternoon. However, I wouldn’t really call it crowded or overwhelming or anything.

I didn’t feel rushed or bothered and we had no crowds feeding the animals and we didn’t have to wait for anything.

Overall, the zoo was very manageable. I would be pretty comfortable solo parenting this outing if I had too, especially since all the play areas give a little break.

How many hours for a visit?

We stayed nearly three hours at Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo with friends. I’d say that you could easily stay less and you could easily stay longer. We let our kids go to town on the Wild Creatures Playland and didn’t rush them. It was nice to catch up with friends, and we weren’t in a rush.

We didn’t stay long on the bouncing pillow because it was four kids at a time and new kids arrive very quickly after us so our kids bounced for a few minutes before letting the others have a turn. However, I’m sure they could have stayed much longer there.

I feel like our three hour visit was a good amount time, and I feel like I got my $40 worth for our family of four!

Conclusion

Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo’s mission is to be a special kind of petting zoo with a focus on children and healthy family fun, and personally I think they nailed it.

We had such a great time and I loved all the play structures! I loved getting a break and I loved that the jumping pillow and structures were included in the price!

If we lived closer, I would highly consider getting a membership here between the zoo and play area, this was a great value and a little gem of a place and perfect for families!

For more information about Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo, please head to their website here.

For even more Zoos, don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Zoos in the USA post!

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