Ahh Philadelphia…my love/hate relationship with you has swung over to the hate side. The older I get the more difficult it is for me to recapture childhood memories. The Philadelphia Zoo used to be a fond memory. I have a picture of Queenie, Sleeping Beauty and myself in front of the now barricaded elephant statues that I absolutely cherish. As usual that memory has been sullied by a visit to your fair city.
As home to the nation’s first zoo, I can see your trifling ways have rubbed off:
Inflated pricing on fun and attractions
Food that’s barely edible
Soda that’s all sloppy, no Joe.
Judging by the amount of people crammed into the place, it appears that the Philadelphia Zoo is a premier destination. Normally an enjoyable outing, I found myself rather cross at the zoo. Once again Bubbles! answered my out loud musing of what went wrong by reminding me:
“You ARE in Philly.”
Ever since The Teen was The Baby, The Mister and I have been members of the zoo. As our family grew and I began to arrange play dates, I could always count on a trip to the zoo as a way to tire the kids all while seeing my favorite animals (otters, lions, tigers, primates); catching at least one parent (sometimes me) snapping on their kids; and fighting off an obnoxious goose that has tried to liberate my lunch.
My latest visit to the zoo reveals that it’s just a hot dusty funky place.
As a member, I get to enjoy free parking in “The Bottom”, save $50.00 as four of us float 400 feet in the air, and access to The Treehouse where I can sit while the kids rip and run. We also have a free ride on the ponies, the PZ Express Train, and the Draft horses. However, The Boy LOVES the train and could ride this ALL day. And I would take my knitting and let him. The PZ has other ideas. I get that as a member we get a free ride per visit. But as a member, shouldn’t I get more access to the zoo? You don’t seem to mind asking for an additional donation, and I don’t mind giving it (sometimes). I realize that the zoo has high overhead and to compete with video games and computers must try to keep up with the times, but do you have to do it at the expense of your patrons? As a member, why don’t I get half off of the rides once I have used my free one? What about 10% off of your over priced food? I’m not asking for any special treatment, but of all the places I could align myself with, the zoo was the choice. Show ME some love!
While I’m asking questions, what happened to zoo keys? The plastic keys that could be inserted into a little box that would tell about the animal. This was a great source of edutainment, and a highlight of each visit. Now there’s a small sign with a snippet of information about the animals and maybe the tree closest to the exhibit. The guides stationed around the park have their ‘I dare you to ask me a question’ look and begrudgingly provide a few memorized facts.
What happened to exclusive members only events? When The Teen decided she wanted to be a veterinarian, we were lucky enough to snag a backstage pass to visit the hospital and feeding area. We saw a sick animal (I want to say giraffe, but I don’t remember which one it was) and went behind the scenes in the carnivore house. Much to my chagrin, we were also able to go to the McNeil Avian Center prior to it’s opening (birds and I aren’t on any type of speaking terms). Now it seems I must be on the Contributor Level to have this access.
Couple this with the surly and pimply teens working the food stations and I want to let EVERYONE know that they knew the job was dangerous when they took it. I could stay at home if I want teenage attitude to kiss.
Perhaps I was overcome by the heat. It was HOT and I didn’t bring sufficient hydration. To not even be able to provide a courtesy cup of ice…quite blasphemous in this heat.
My last kvetch is the so called reusable cup that you offered for a whopping $3.25. How craptastic can you be? I may visit the zoo every day just to feel I got my money’s worth.
It’s like you planned to fail your members. There are some people who care more for animals than other people and they don’t find your over priced park insane. The average family of four is struggling to make ends meets and you aren’t helping at all. Why do we continue to renew our membership? The Kidney Walk in October is one reason. Since three of my family members are in various stages of kidney disease, and you are a major supporter of the area’s biggest kidney event, that’s incentive to remain. Plus, I see that there is a special program to assist scouts with badge work. The Boy could definitely use this as he moves on to WeBeLo.
However, March is coming soon. Will you be continue to be my choice?
The kids did enjoy themselves. Here’s the pictures to prove it.