Zoo cancels free days

Our zoo, the Houston Zoo, has cancelled its once-a-month free days for the rest of the summer because too many people attended on the first free day of summer.

They report 12,000 people tried to go to the zoo, but the June 5th free day caused traffic jams and safety concerns.

I understand about the traffic and safety issues, but if that many people are coming to the one free day a month you offer (and only after 2 pm- not free all day), maybe this means you need more free days, not less. The zoo usually costs $13.00 per adult (only $9.00 for 2 year olds, though!).

With the tight economy and school being out, it would be nice if us poor folks folks could come to the zoo on occasion. Certainly the demand is there if 12,000 show up. If you can’t afford to let us in free once a month for 5 hours, what about a discount day?

You’re right. A few more traffic fatalities and some kids getting mauled is a small price to pay for free admission.

But it is stupid, make people order free tickets on a first come first serve basis, and make some available for every day.


And if the store gives away milk for a day and it’s a huge hit, they should give away milk more often!!!

You do realize that would be a bad business model right?

Maybe in the future they could try something else out. Give away the tickets in advance (half by phone, half by internet) and make everyone very aware of the new method. This might avoid the traffic problems. They could also try giving people less notice. I’m not sure how long they advertised it for or how well it’s known. But maybe instead of it being on certain days, they could just do it on random days and let the media know about it the day before.

Feel lucky. My zoo (Philadelphia) costs $18 for an adult, $15 for a child, $0 for children under 2.

Costs nearly a hundred dollars to take my family to the zoo for the day. Don’t even get me started on the food/drink prices.

You think you’ve got it bad: the St. Louis zoo is free to everybody, all day every day.

(I didn’t do that right, did I?)


Come to San Diego.

$42 for adults, $32 for kids.

Oh, and “adult” is age 12 and over.

Ha! We don’t even HAVE a zoo!

I was just thinking to myself, maybe I wasn’t really fair. It probably takes a lot of money to take care of all those animals, maintenance the buildings, etc.

But $32 for a child? Great OG.

I suspect San Diego’s zoo is a wee tad larger than the confined Philadelphia Zoo.

But still, yikes! Them’s Disney prices!

Going back to my museum days I will say that we always winced at the free days. The visitors tended to have odd delusions about what was free (guess what! the museum is free, the stuff in the museum store is not!), and a true case of tragedy of the commons with regards to anything even remotely considered breakable.

You know…the Houston Museum of Natural Science (every Thursday from 3-6pm for the permanent exhibits) and Museum of Fine Arts Houston (every Thursday all day for permanent exhibits, due to donation by Shell) both offer free admission one day each week. And they’re literally down the street from the Houston Zoo. No animals but they’re both air-conditioned, which is nice in the summer in Houston.

As for the Zoo itself, you can get a $2 admission reduction if you purchase advance tickets at a Fiesta Mart. And admission is free for military and people getting SNAP/WIC benefits. So, yeah, they are doing something for low income and military families.

I guess beggars really can be choosers.

“Daddy, I thought we were going to the zoo!”

“Shut up and feed the pigeons! I paid good money for that loaf of bread!”

On topic, I’ve personally learned to be extremely wary of going anywhere that’s offering anything free. It tends not to bring out humanity’s best and brightest.

The San Diego Zoo is a bit of an exception, though, right? It’s literally a world class zoo. There aren’t many like it in the US or even the rest of the world. We couldn’t even get through half the zoo in an entire day, and we were hardly dawdling.

It’s like comparing a county fair with Disney World.

Many years ago, maybe. As of today (just checked) a single day pass for Disneyland is $87 for 10 and up, $81 for children 3-9. I guess anybody under 3 gets in for free.

I don’t understand why traffic was an issue. Didn’t everyone come in the same van? /racistmonday

A friend of mine is bringing his family to the US for a vacation later this year. They’re starting out in Southern California, then heading off to a bunch of other places.

He and his wife have three kids, aged 12-17. Here in Southern California, they want to visit, at the very least, Universal Studios, Disneyland (two days), and the San Diego zoo.

By my calculation, that’s $1470 in entry fees alone, before they eat a single thing. And at places like Disneyland and Universal, half of the day that you paid all that money for is taken up waiting in lines for the rides and attractions.

Maybe, but you can’t see Dokken and Quiet Riot at Disney World!

Even if the people aren’t dimwits, there are always LOTS of them on the free days. At some places, it doesn’t matter too much, but at other it can really make the experience less enjoyable.

At museums, for example, the place is always much louder on free days, and it’s often hard to look at something without someone jumping in front of you. There are plenty of times when i just prefer to pay and avoid the hassle.

I do think free days are great, though, because they allow people to come who might not otherwise do so, especially people without much money. It also allows families with multiple kids to bring them along without having to pay a fortune. Another great thing is that, if you get in for free, you don’t feel like you have to stick around for the whole day to “get your money’s worth.” You can come for an hour or so, and leave when you get tired or bored or whatever.

Wow, must’ve been a zoo.

And it’s actually a pretty great zoo, too. Although I will admit that the price makes it a wee bit crowded on those perfect days. Members-only days are awesome, though. :slight_smile: