Saturday, June 23, 2018
Over 20 years ago, with a family membership to the Minnesota Zoo, we decided not to renew our membership because the value obtained for money spent was just not there. Places like the Minnesota Science Museum and Children’s Museum were much better values. Even the FREE Como Zoo had more animals and activities. In addition to membership fees, the Minnesota Zoo seemed always to be asking for more money, donations to one thing or another. The value proposition was just not there, so we did not renew.
Now, over 20 years later, I decided to revisit the Minnesota Zoo using a free pass. Even though admission was free, we spent over $80 on food and goodies sold to the captive audience at a high price. Still, the value proposition is not sufficient: few animals spread out over lots of space, many over-priced items to purchase, several big corporations allowing the Zoo to use their names, no activities, no regularly scheduled tours, and no “Animals in Action” experience. For the price of admission, certainly there should be some included benefits other than walking around long paths and open spaces to see relatively few animals.
Perhaps the Minnesota Zoo should consider the model used by the San Diego Zoo, an entrance fee somewhat higher than the Minnesota Zoo, with a guided bus tour, "Kangaroo Express Bus", an aerial tram and all regularly scheduled shows included at no additional cost. A very few years ago, I willingly paid the ticket prices and fees for two full days at the San Diego Zoo.
Alternately, the Como Zoo is only 35 minutes away, it’s free, there are many animals and there are even rides for children.
Perhaps in another 20 years, I’ll visit the Minnesota Zoo to see if they’ve made significant changes, that is, if I get a free ticket. Wouldn’t want to waste the price of admission and see that nothing has changed.