Louisville Zoo adds parking fee and increases general admission - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Zoo adds parking fee and increases general admission

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- No more free parking at the Louisville Zoo, unless you're a member.

And that's not the only increase Zoo visitors are facing.

Starting on Saturday, the Zoo will start charging $5 for parking. Visitors will pay for it at the Admissions ticket counter. It can also be paid online.

"We looked at benchmarks at zoos throughout the region, and $5 is actually the lowest parking fee that we found," said John Walczak, the Louisville Zoo Director.

He said the parking fee is expected to generate half a million dollars a year. The Zoo says the facility full of elephants, lions, and rhinos needs $42 million in maintenance work for things like paving and roofing.

When asked if the train lawsuits have anything to do with the increase in fees, Walczak said, "This money is going into a capital reserve to help maintain your Zoo."

But the parking fee is not the only new increase. The Zoo just announced general admission will go up starting on Saturday by an extra dollar. So admission will be $15.95 for adults and $11.50 for seniors and children ages 3 to 11.

Shamus Drake, a Zoo visitor said, "I know it's going to be passed on. My experience in business tells me that's going to happen. But I just hope it's also going to be followed up with some added services and benefits to me as well."

Mark Gomsak, another Zoo visitor said, "We are members, so we don't have to pay that. I understand upkeeping the zoo is expensive. I think $5 is a reasonable amount to pay, so I don't see an issue with it."

When asked about membership prices going up, Walczak said, "We are always looking at rates. Our memberships are some of the lowest in the region as well. We will look at membership, general admission rates."

The Zoo already has more than 35,000 members, but the thinking is that more people will opt for memberships as a more economical way to enjoy the Zoo.

The Zoo has more than 1,300 parking spaces. People who walk to the Zoo will not be charged the parking fee.

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