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Updated: Visiting the Abilene Zoo will cost an extra dollar

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: Oct 06 2013 08:00:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 08 2013 01:42:24 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Visiting the Abilene Zoo will cost a bit more at the gate.

Council members approved raising zoo admittance fees by $1 to go toward $130,000 of the zoo’s operational expenses budget.

The new prices will go into effect by the end of this week.

This is the first time in three years the zoo has increased its admission prices.

The increase is to help cover basic operations, which is about $3 million a year.

"The time has really come where we needed to increase the budget so that we can provide the quality educational, recreational opportunity that we do to our guests,' Abilene Zoo Director Bill Gersonde said.

"One hundred percent of that profit all goes back into the operation and improvements at the zoo," he said.

Here's a breakdown of the zoo's major expenses:

It spends $170,000 a year on food for its 900 animals.

The zoo spends $135,000 a year for veterinary care.

The zoo employs 37 full-time staff members.

Zoo-goers said they don't mind the dollar increase.

"It's worth it," said Melanie Swartz. "The animals are great and they've done a lot of upkeep and a lot of new exhibits. I think it's worth it."

Despite the increase, zoo promotional days will continue.

The next ones coming up are "Two Buck Tuesdays," where you can get in the zoo for just $2 every Tuesday in January and February.

Here are the new rates:

$6 for adults (ages 13-59)
$5 for seniors (60+)
$3.50 for children (ages 3-12)
Children under 3 are free!

Group admissions are also up one dollar:

Group child: $2.50

Group adult: $4.00

Group Senior: $3.50

Abilene ISD and Wylie ISD students on group trips will continue to get in for free.