Reader: It Will Cost My Family $94 Just to Walk Inside the Denver ZooEXPAND
Ken Hamblin

Reader: It Will Cost My Family $94 Just to Walk Inside the Denver Zoo

Denver City Council this week approved ticket-price hikes for the Denver Zoo, which it says will raise $1 million to cover deferred projects. Maintenance costs in general have increased 100 percent in recent years, according to the zoo, thanks to goods and services becoming more costly in an increasingly expensive city. 

Readers had very different responses to the news.  Raye says:

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo charges $25 for adults. Just get a zoo membership and reap the benefits.

Jackie argues:

That's insane. It will cost my family $94 (not including tax) just to walk in the gate. Ridiculous.

Jan explains:

If we lived closer to the zoo, I'd definitely buy an annual pass. My grandkids love the carousel and would go for that alone.

Heather notes:

Still cheaper and better than the Denver aquarium.

And Vicky concludes:

Yearly passes are more than worth it. It's a wonderful zoo.

Keep reading for more stories about the zoo, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, and other institutions that get SCFD funding.

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Andrew Rowan, senior director of external relations for the zoo, says it last petitioned city council for a ticket-price increase four years ago, and it usually asks for price increases every three years.

"There were other things going on around the city the last couple of years," Rowan says, including the 2016 re-authorization effort for the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and last year's GO Bond initiative. "We didn't want to cloud the message with price increases for those years. We thought it'd be prudent to wait."

Rowan says the additional $1 million in revenue a year will increase the zoo's bottom line of about $42 million by nearly 4 percent and will go mostly toward maintenance; those costs have increased 100 percent since 2014. Some will also go to deferred maintenance projects — like replacing HVAC systems — that the zoo has put off. Some of the $20 million voters approved for the zoo during last year's GO Bond initiative will go toward maintenance costs, as well. "It's a lot of stuff you don't see. It's not very sexy," Rowan says.

Do you think the zoo's ticket prices are too high? Let us know in a comment on this story or at editorial@westword.com.

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