Friday, July 30, 2010

Interesting: Houston Zoo Free Day Q and A

In case anyone is interested in why there is a change:

Q: Is the Houston Zoo changing its free day schedule?

A: Yes.  Effective September 1, 2010 the Houston Zoo will offer free admission to our guests on the first Tuesday of every month from 2 p.m. until closing.  During the months that Daylight Saving Time is in effect, the Houston Zoo closes at 7 p.m. (last admission at 6 p.m.).  During Central Standard Time, the Houston Zoo closes 6 p.m. (last admission at 5 p.m.).
Q: The Houston Zoo previously observed 5 free days each year.  Why are the free days changing?
A:  We saw two important reasons to change our free day policy.  For one, with our original schedule our 5 free days each year fell on recognized holidays.  Since parking is limited in Hermann Park, the holiday free days resulted in severe traffic congestion in Hermann Park, the Museum District, and the nearby Texas Medical Center. 


This resulted in a traffic management issue for the Houston Police Department and for METRO Police who had to be called in on overtime duty.  The traffic congestion also created potential delays for emergency vehicles on their way to emergency rooms at Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann hospitals. 
With only five opportunities each year for free access, the Zoo frequently saw very high attendance and required additional Zoo personnel for guest relations and crowd control.  Frankly, we heard from may of our guests that visiting the Zoo on a holiday free day with the traffic congestion and the big crowds meant that the day at the Zoo wasn't the best it could be. 


Q: But it still seems that people are losing opportunities for free Zoo attendance with the shift to weekdays instead of holidays.
A:  We believe that by spreading out the opportunity for free admission to 12 times each year instead of only five over crowded holidays that our guests will have a better experience when they visit and enjoy each visit more. 
Q: Does this mean the free admission programs for active duty military personnel and Lone Star Card holders will be eliminated?
A:  No.  The Zoo will still maintain those free access programs.

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