With zoos, as with anything else in life, you tend to get what you pay for. With that in mind, we’re not surprised that Baton Rouge Zoo Director Phil Frost recently asked the East Baton Rouge Parish Recreation and Park Commission to increase admission fees at the zoo to offset rising costs.
Frost proposed raising all fees by $1.25 per person, except for children 1 or younger. Adult fees would have increased from $7 to $8.25, and children’s fees from $4 to $5.25 under the proposal.
Frost said the zoo’s admission fees are among the lowest in the nation. The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans charges $14.95 for adults and $9.95 for children, and the Birmingham Zoo charges $14 for adults and $9 for children.
BREC members agreed to raise zoo admission fees for school groups from $1 per student and $1.50 per teacher or chaperone to $2.25 per student and $2.75 per teacher or chaperone, effective in August. But BREC opted not to raise general admission fees until the 2012 budget is discussed at the end of the year.
The zoo’s operating deficit increased by 88 percent between 2006 and 2010. That’s not surprising. The cost of everything from fuel to animal feed has gone up in recent years.
Even with the proposed price increases, going to the zoo still would be cheaper than going to quite a few movies at the local theaters.
BREC members should be diligent in reviewing the zoo’s budget before approving any increases to admission prices. But Frost’s proposed increases seem pretty reasonable to us.
Baton Rouge needs a quality zoo, and quality costs money.