Free zoo afternoons prove 'too' popular

June 18, 2012 12:18:38 PM PDT
The Houston Zoo is a popular place, and they're having to make some changes to the way they let people visit for free.

Citing traffic congestion and safety concerns, Houston Zoo President and CEO Deborah Cannon today announced that the zoo is altering its free 'First Tuesday' of the month afternoon (2pm to closing) admission policy and removing the summer dates from the schedule. The change will go into effect immediately resulting in the cancellation of the July 3 and August 7 free 'First Tuesday' afternoons. However, the free 'First Tuesday' (2pm to closing) afternoons from September through May will remain in effect.

The change in the Houston Zoo's free 'First Tuesday' afternoon admission policy was prompted by the severe traffic congestion in Hermann Park and in the Texas Medical Center that accompanied the free 'First Tuesday' afternoon on June 5.

"Approximately 12,000 people came to the Houston Zoo in a three hour period that afternoon," Cannon said.

The traffic congestion that resulted on Cambridge Street created a potential hazard for Houston Fire Department ambulances and other emergency vehicles making their way to the emergency rooms at Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann hospitals.

"The Houston Zoo has worked diligently to identify opportunities for free and discounted admissions. However, in doing so we cannot adversely impact public safety. We must be a good neighbor to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and to the Texas Medical Center," said Cannon.

"In taking this action, the Houston Zoo is being a good neighbor, taking responsible action and doing the right thing," said Texas Medical Center President Dr. Richard Wainerdi. "The Zoo is just across Cambridge Street from the Texas Medical Center and two of Houston's Level One trauma centers at Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann hospitals. By eliminating the summer free 'FirstTuesday' afternoons traffic congestion will be reduced ensuring that emergency vehicles arrive at TMC emergency rooms without needless delays."

The Houston Zoo is located at 6200 Hermann Park Drive in Hermann Park. The Zoo is open daily from 9am to 6pm during Central Standard Time (last admission at 5pm) and from 9am until 7pm during Central Daylight Time (last admission at 6pm). The Zoo is closed Christmas Day. Regular admission is $13 for adults, $7 for seniors, $9 for children ages 2-11 and FREE for children under 2.

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