Rosamond Gifford Zoo to Hold 5K “Zoo Run Run” on April 23


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse will hold a 5K run/walk on Saturday, April 23, and is also inviting the public to start logging their kilometers virtually ahead of race day to benefit animal care and conservation at the zoo.

The Zoo Run Run will kick off at 7 a.m. in the zoo courtyard and have multiple waves that morning.  The course will take you through the zoo’s Wildlife Trail past camels, penguins, wolves, elephants, snow leopards, red pandas and more.  You will run the loop multiple times, all while the animals cheer you on.

Participants can also start running – or walking – now as an incentive to get outside through the winter and spring to support the animals of the zoo. The registration site for the Zoo Run Run provides a link to the Strava activity tracker app so virtual runners and walkers can log their miles.

“Zoo Run Runners are encouraged to participate in fundraising for the animal care cause, with prizes awarded for various donation levels,” said Heidi Strong, Friends of the Zoo Director of Development.  Friends of the Zoo plans to make the 5K an annual event that highlights a different species each year. This year’s Zoo Run Run features the zoo’s Komodo dragon, Naga, a member of the world’s largest species of lizard.

Participation in the Zoo Run Run ­- virtually or in person - is a minimum $32 for zoo members and $35 for non-members.  Participants that complete the race will receive a finisher medal, post-race snacks and free zoo admission on race day. Those that bring in additional monetary donations can earn more Zoo Run Run swag such as a T-shirt, Komodo dragon plush, water bottle, fanny pack and more.

The run/walk will be limited to 500 people for the in-person event, start times will be staggered to prevent crowding and chip timing will be used to determine the top finishers. There will be additional prizes for the first, second and third place male, female and non-binary runners.

The event will also offer a Hatchling Hustle Fun Run for ages 7 and younger. The fun run is one lap around the zoo and participants will receive a Hatchling Hustle finisher medal.

All proceeds from the Zoo Run Run will benefit animal care at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

To give examples of the cost for caring for one animal – Naga – the Zoo Run Run website lists:


Naga’s diet

  • Rats for a year: $30
  • Quail for a year: $50
  • Rabbits for a year: $700

Naga’s lamp needs

  • Arcadia UVB bulbs to help her produce Vitamin D: $270 per year
  • Mercury Vapor bulbs for heat and UV light: $300 per year

Naga’s exhibit substrates

  • Pine bark nuggets: $250 per year
  • 200 pounds of sand: $40


With the zoo providing food, health care, enrichments and habitats for 900 animals representing 226 species, “every little bit helps,” said Friends of the Zoo Executive Director Carrie Large.

“The Friends of the Zoo is always looking for ways to help provide the best care and enrichment for every animal, and we planned a 5K as a healthy way to support the health of our animals,” she said.

“While Naga is the star of this year’s Zoo Run Run, we hope every family, team, organizational group and individual will be inspired by all of our animals to get out and support their zoo.”

For more information or to sign up to be part of the Zoo Run Run, please visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *