Free admission at the Houston Zoo isn’t new. But historically it’s only been allowed on five days throughout the year or through special tickets released to non-profit organizations.
Zoo Spokesman Brian Hill says the goal of the free day program was to provide access to people who could not afford admission.
“But when we analyzed zip code and census tract information from our free day guests we found that less than nine percent of our free day visitors were arriving from low-income communities. Thirty-two percent of the free day visitors were from outside the City of Houston.”
Since the free day program wasn’t benefiting the intended people, Zoo officials decided to offer the Lone Star program instead.
Beginning August 1st, patrons who present a Lone Star card at the gate get free admission for up to eight people.
“We want to reach children. We want them to experience these incredible animals and to have an opportunity to introduce them to these creatures and to talk about not only their conservation, but the conservation of the wild places where these wild animals live.”
The traditional five free admission days for anyone and everyone aren’t going away. But the zoo is moving them to dates outside the peak summer season.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.