hey guys i took a trip to the zoo today for the 1st time in a long time. the zoo here is free! from dec. to mar. so cool!

anyway i got a new tri-pod and it rocks! i took it with me and got some of the best shots i have ever taken in the reptile house! plus it was the first time i've been there with my digi cam.

http://www.dotphoto.com/go.asp?l=almo&AID=1207105
i love sharing pics with you guys. enjoy!
john
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Beautiful pictures! What zoo did you go to?
Leanne
http://members.aol.com/huntryder79
Beautiful pictures! What zoo did you go to? Leanne http://members.aol.com/huntryder79

its the john ball zoo in grand rapids mi.
i'm going back after chruch today. its free for the winter! i still can't believe that. the zoo where i come from is a world class Zoological garden. they wouldn't dream of letting people in for free, but the zoo here is very small, and there are fewer animals on display during the winter, so they make it free. free is a great thing!

john Emotion: smile
Beautiful pictures! What zoo did you go to? Leanne http://members.aol.com/huntryder79

its the john ball zoo in grand rapids mi. i'm going back after chruch today. its free for the winter! ... are fewer animals on display during the winter, so they make it free. free is a great thing! john Emotion: smile

I have a feeling some zoos make a lot of money even when they don't charge admission. At the Houston Zoo, you have to pay to get in, and all the drinks/food etc. in the park is super expensive too. It can be (no kidding) $5.00 for a coke.
-Rubystars
its the john ball zoo in grand rapids mi. i'm ... make it free. free is a great thing! john Emotion: smile

I have a feeling some zoos make a lot of money even when they don't charge admission. At the Houston ... all the drinks/food etc. in the park is super expensive too. It can be (nokidding) $5.00 for a coke. -Rubystars

correction ARE expensive too
I have a feeling some zoos make a lot of money even when they don't charge admission. At the Houston ... the drinks/food etc. in the park is super expensive too. It can be (no kidding) $5.00 for a coke. -Rubystars

You'd be surprised at how little money most zoos make from ticket sales and concessions. It's usually not enough to cover the operating budget.

For example: A good sized zoo (like Cleveland Metroparks, Philadelphia or Toronto) has an operating budget of about $20-30 million per year. Visitorship is typically at about the 1 million mark. So, assuming that every individual that walks through the door pays $20-30, the zoo should do just fine. BUT about 1/2 of visitors are school groups, which get discounted prices (or no charge at all!). Many zoos run specials where there are free days, 1/2 priced days, etc. And no one is gonna pay $80-120 for a family of 4 to go to the zoo, so prices are much lower than $20-30.
Concessions usually produce a few million in revenue, but the rest has to be made up for by state funds (from your taxes), and charitable donations.
Post-9/11 zoo attendance is down, and states are looking for ways to trim their budgets. Expect your concession and gate prices to increase at your local zoo.
Keep in mind also that there is increasing pressure on zoos (mostly from within the zoo industry) to become more involved in conservation programs in the countries that the animals actually come from. This costs money too. Luckily many of these funds can be aqcuired through corporate or federal grants.
FWIW, in 2001 the Houston Zoo had annual expenses of about $3 million dollars. They took in about $2 mill. from state money, admissions, donations, etc. Another $500,000 came from things like concessions, gift shop sales, and adopt-an-animal programs. So they were about $500,000 short that year. Of course, this is when they were still being operated by the parks department. In 2002 the Houston Zoo was privatized, and while still owned by the city, it is now operated by a non-profit managment company.
I would expect to see prices increase as the zoo attempts to become profitable.
OK. This is way more information than you were probably interested in. Zoos, and how they are run, is a big interest of mine. I tend to get carried away.
One final point: The St. Louis Zoo, a world class institution, charges no gate fee. They survive (thrive, one might say) with 2/3 of their income coming from tax dollars and charitable donations. The rest comes from parking fees, train rides, and concessions.

-Z
One final point: The St. Louis Zoo, a world class institution, charges no gate fee. They survive (thrive, one might say) with 2/3 of their income coming from tax dollars and charitable donations. The rest comes from parking fees, train rides, and concessions.

That's a great zoo I had the opportunity to visit this summer. I also went to the Omaha Zoo on the same trip. That's a pricey zoo, as I recall, but they have some phenomenal exhibits.
its the john ball zoo in grand rapids mi.

That's a nice zoo. We used to live in Michigan, until Sept. of last year, and we hit that one a few times. It is not a really large zoo, but it has some really nice exhibits. My brother lives less than 30 minutes from there. When we go visit him at some point, we will most likely get over there again. I miss the zoos we used to go to Binder Park in Battle Creek, Potter's Park Zoo in Lansing, and most importantly, the Toledo Zoo. We didn't really hit the Detroit Zoo that often, as my wife wasn't a big fan of that one.
the zoo where i come from is a world class Zoological garden. they wouldn't dream of letting people in for free,

Which zoo is that?
but the zoo here is very small, and there are fewer animals on display during the winter, so they make it free.

And the reptiles are inside, so it makes no difference to them what the weather is like outdoors. :-)
free is a great thing!

I live in Madison, WI and our local zoo is free. It isn't a real big zoo, but it is still pretty nice. Reptile house is kind of small, but they have one so I can't complain.
Scott
You've got some beauties there...the bear is so cute!

Cindy
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