Since the start of the pandemic, the zoo has required tickets for access. While restricting access aligned with scientific recommendations when less was known about outdoor transmission of COVID and when transmission in the area was high, that is no longer the case. As a primarily outdoor venue, there is no reason to set capacity limits or require walk in visitors to seek a pass. Furthermore, zoo staff report that the current capacity limits the zoo has set for itself are never reached. Given current CDC guidelines and community transmission, there is no basis for continuing to restrict access to this public resource.
If, as zoo staff have reported, the goal of ticketing is to have a better head count of visitors, there are many ways to do so that would not require a ticketing system. Currently there is staffing at the entrances manning the ticket scanning and that staff could count people entering the zoo, or the zoo could use an electronic sensor to count people entering.
This system is a deterrent to visits by the neighbors of the zoo in the surrounding neighborhoods who have been supporters of the zoo for years. Many of us have regularly popped into the zoo for short visits, walked young children through the farm, and included the zoo on our running routes, but no longer do so because of the ticketing system. The inclusion of the zoo in our routines was a wonderful aspect of life in our community, a privilege, and inspired many to become financial supporters of the zoo.
Not only is the current system frustrating to locals, but it essentially requires visitors to have smart phones. This may serve as a deterrent to visits by segments of our community who are older, or have fewer resources. It will also limit visits by members of the local community who do not use electronic devices on shabbat, and they can no longer access the zoo on Saturdays.
I would like to see the zoo rescind the ticket requirement for people entering the zoo on foot.”
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