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InvisibleBuilding t1_j201hd7 wrote

Thank you.

Out of curiosity - why did the zoo take a big financial hit? It’s free (except parking) and taxpayer funded. Was the parking revenue a big amount?

It feels to me often like the zoo doesn’t really want people there. It built the ticket booths and has been more closed off. The wayfinding isn’t great. And there’s the constant debate about whether to allow people to use the part of the walk/bike trail that goes technically through zoo property (outside the fence, but between the main zoo and the research facility).

I’d love to know the zoo people actually do want to make a great zoo people love to go to, but compared to other zoos sometimes it feels like the attitude is “we get our funding whether or not you come and so we’d just as soon you not.” But it’s be great to hear that’s not the case.


DCSubi t1_j20kduz wrote

It is free bc it is partially funded by the gov but it needs to fundraise the difference. Memberships and parking is/was one of the fundraising streams. The large events raise money through corporate sponsorships (for instance you might remember seeing Pepco’s name at zoo lights) and some of the evens (like the Halloween event) raised money through ticket sales. 3rd party/outside vendors set up along the main walk prob shared their profits as another revenue stream for the zoo. So, it makes sense that it all took a hit during peak SAH COVID. But the Smithsonian is not doing itself any favors with the way it handled dissolving FONZ - in terms of how it treated the FONZ employees and the visitor experience.


InvisibleBuilding t1_j20muue wrote

Yeah, I think the zoo would find a lot of enthusiasm from the community to support it, if it acted like it wanted the community to be there.