Houston Zoo changes free admission policy

Traffic around Texas Medical Center prompts change

HOUSTON - The Houston Zoo won't offer free admission on the first Tuesday of the month for a while.

The policy change is because of traffic congestion and safety concerns.

The Zoo's policy of free admission after 2 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month won't be in effect in July and August.

On the first Tuesday of June, nearly 12,000 people came to the Zoo, officials said. The influx of people resulted in severe traffic congestion in Hermann Park and the Texas Medical Center.

Zoo officials said the traffic created a potential hazard for ambulances trying to get to hospitals.

The Zoo started the program in 2010 and officials said it had worked really well until June 5.

"In taking this action, the Houston Zoo is being a good neighbor, taking responsible action and doing the right thing," Texas Medical Center President Dr. Richard Wainerdi said.. "The Zoo is just across Cambridge Street from the Texas Medical Center and two of Houston's Level One trauma centers at Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann hospitals. By eliminating the summer free 'First Tuesday' afternoons, traffic congestion will be reduced ensuring that emergency vehicles arrive at TMC emergency rooms without needless delays."

The Zoo will continue to offer free admission on the first Tuesday in the months of September through May.

There are some ways to get into the Zoo without paying the full admission price. Visit the Zoo's website to find coupons and current specials.

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