The Houston Zoo is a victim of its own success. Every year the Zoo sets aside several days for free admission, usually including Labor Day. But more than 30,000 people swarmed the Zoo last Labor Day, making for a hot, crowded, not-so-much-fun-after-all experience.
So, no more free Labor Day. Now you’ll have to wait until Columbus Day to get in free.
“The summer free days could draw in excess of 40,000 people,” Brian Hill, director of public affair for the Zoo, tells Hair Balls. “That put a real burden on the park, and on the park rangers. It was a burden on the petting zoo; it was stressful for the sheep and goats in the contact area. It was a burden on the police officers that were directing traffic because it crowded the streets around the Zoo to the extent that there were some real concerns about emergency vehicles getting to Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann emergency rooms."
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“And quite frankly, it was not a very good experience for the people that were coming to the free day," he says. "You get more than 12,000 people in the Zoo and the experience starts to degrade. You get more than 12,000 people in the Zoo in the heat of the summer, and the experience really starts to degrade. So, we looked at those holidays where kids and families probably have the day off and where the weather wasn’t going to be such a factor and made some changes to the schedule.”
A day where the weather in Houston isn’t going to be a factor? We never heard of such a thing.
— Olivia Flores Alvarez