Friday, July 30, 2010

Guide: Ways to save money at the Houston Zoo

Ok, how many posts today are about the Houston Zoo? I guess it is on my mind.

Here are some tips about saving money at the Houston Zoo, and tips for first timers.

First, parking is free at the Houston Zoo. I suggest coming near to when they open to find easy parking. If you arrive at peak parking times, parking is hard to find. To avoid a long walk, you can park near one of the train or metro stops, and ride in.

Save $1 when you ride METRO to the Houston Zoo! Present any current METRO bus or METRORail ticket at the admission booth to receive your discount on an adult ticket. (One offer per person).

Go to their website for more details:

I haven't ridden the Metro yet, so I can't tell you much about it. Anyone have feedback?

I have parked at the science museum (HMNS) and ridden the train to the zoo. You are forced to get out at the zoo to buy the ticket anyways so it is natural to go in.

2nd: Food.
The food in the zoo isn't that great and is overpriced. My advice is to eat before you go so you aren't hungry and bring a snack and drinks. There are so many fabulous restaurants in Rice Village or on Westheimer, so this is a good excuse to go explore Houston eateries. Also, you can go eat at Au Bon Pain, which I posted about yesterday. ABP is a short walk from the zoo when you go through the Medical Center entrance (only open on weekends).

Can I bring food and beverages to the Zoo?
Absolutely! It's long been a Zoo tradition for guests to bring their own coolers. 
All we ask is that you follow a few simple rules and be mindful of our animals and their home. Be sure to pick up all trash and pack out what you bring into the Zoo. You may NOT bring:

  • Glass bottles
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Plastic straws
3rd: Wagons. They charge between $8 and $11 to rent a wagon or a stroller for the day. So, an obvious way to save is to bring your own. If you must rent one, you will see where to do it when you get inside the zoo. If you return it back to them, you get $1 back. Be sure to save your receipt if you plan to do that. The biggest negative about these rentals is that you can't take them to the parking lot, and for us that seems to be the hardest part of the walk.

4th: Avoid the gift shops. Cute stuff but more than what you would pay in other places you can get toys. The hardest one to avoid is the one where you get off the train.

Tips: Go to Meet the Keeper Talks. There is a schedule in the front or you can download the IPhone App
The last time I was there, I learned the reason Giraffe's tongues are black (a natural sunscreen because their tongues are out of their mouths a lot).

I highly suggest wearing sunscreen and bringing your own water.

Enjoy your trip to the Houston Zoo!

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