Could admission soon be charged at the St. Louis Zoo?

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Updated Thursday, May 1 at 6:04 PM

(KMOV.com) – Some St. Louis area residents may soon have to pay admission for local attractions that are currently free.

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Zoo Museum District, several board members discussed whether the St. Louis Zoo should charge admission to those who do not live in the Zoo-Museum District, which only includes St. Louis City and County.  

Those with the Zoo-Museum District have said costs to operate the St. Louis Zoo, Science Center, Missouri History Museum, and Botanical Gardens have increased. Currently, all but the Botanical Gardens do not charge admission.

Residents of St. Louis City and County pay an average of $200,000 per year in property taxes to fund those attractions, but that amount has not increased in six years. Some people believe it is unfair that residents from other counties get to enjoy free admission.

“We love coming to see the cardinals and we come to see the rams, we love to come to our institutions, so they pay for other things. Why don’t they help us with the institutions,” Gloria Wessels with the Zoo Museum District Board said,

The zoo has consistently said it will never charge admission, but some visitors told News 4 they would not mind paying a fee to get in.

“As long as it's reasonable, we're taking our family, we can't afford a whole lot,” Ironton resident Kenny Jones said.

The discussion that occurred Wendesday night was not a concrete proposal. Officials have also discussed whether other St. Louis area counties should join the Zoo-Museum District to help fund all five attractions.

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