Free Houston Zoo Admission To Low-Income Residents

The Houston Zoo will offer free admission to low-income Texas residents. The zoo announced plans to open their doors to families who are on the Texas Lone Star Food Stamp Program. Laurie Johnson reports.

Free admission at the Houston Zoo isn't new. But historically it's only been allowed on five days throughout the year or through special tickets released to non-profit organizations.

image of Meerkat at the Houston Zoo

Zoo Spokesman Brian Hill says the goal of the free day program was to provide access to people who could not afford admission.

"But when we analyzed zip code and census tract information from our free day guests we found that less than nine percent of our free day visitors were arriving from low-income communities. Thirty-two percent of the free day visitors were from outside the City of Houston."

Since the free day program wasn't benefiting the intended people, Zoo officials decided to offer the Lone Star program instead.

image of spetacled bear at Houston Zoo

Beginning August 1st, patrons who present a Lone Star card at the gate get free admission for up to eight people.

"We want to reach children. We want them to experience these incredible animals and to have an opportunity to introduce them to these creatures and to talk about not only their conservation, but the conservation of the wild places where these wild animals live."

image of snake from Houston Zoo

The traditional five free admission days for anyone and everyone aren't going away. But the zoo is moving them to dates outside the peak summer season.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...