Houston Zoo responds to Mayor Whitmire's criticism over ticket prices: 'Firmly disagree'

Courtney Carpenter Image
Monday, June 24, 2024
Mayor says Houston Zoo is too expensive and needs to cut ticket prices
Houston Zoo's prices are being criticized by Mayor John Whitmire, who asked them to cut costs and questioned the salaries of top administrators.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's summertime, and the Houston Zoo is a popular place to be. However, Mayor John Whitmire said it's too expensive and is calling for them to cut ticket prices.

The mayor's criticism was first reported by ABC13's news partners at the Houston Chronicle.

Eyewitness News headed to the park Monday morning to see what parents think about the prices.

Several people said a zoo membership is the way to go if you visit often.

"If you're just paying for a ticket each time, yeah, that's expensive," Rikki Davis, who was visiting the zoo with their family, said.

The Houston Zoo has dynamic pricing, meaning you'll see different pricing depending on when you want to visit and when you book the tickets.

As of Monday morning, it would have cost around $130 to get two adults and two kids through the gate.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Whitmire says that's simply too much money. He's asking the zoo to cut costs and questioning the salaries of the top administrators.

Some people agree with him.

"There's a lot of families out there that might not be able to afford it, so I think they should go down on prices," Jose Cruz, also visiting the zoo with his family, said.

"I think visitors would come more if it was a little cheaper," Davis added.

In a statement to ABC13 about the mayor's comments, Jackie Wallace with the Houston Zoo said the following, in part:

"We firmly disagree with his assessments and look forward to continuing this conversation in person with the mayor soon.

As a Zoo for All, the Houston Zoo offers many ways for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds to enjoy the Zoo."

A family can buy a membership to the zoo for $300 a year, which many say is the best way if you plan to visit more than a couple of times.

"They have obviously your day pass, which is kind of expensive, but you have the membership option, which is $300 for the whole year, and if you're a mom like me that comes every single week, that's like nothing," Sydni Gordon told ABC13.

The mayor says he has plans to speak to the current zoo director soon.

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