Kansas City Zoo changes free day program; will begin mailing tickets in June

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Residents in Jackson and Clay counties will have multiple options for free visits to the Kansas City Zoo under a new program announced Wednesday.

The zoo will mail out three tickets to be used on various dates in the months of July, September and November, according to a news release. The tickets will be mailed to every household in Jackson and Clay counties.

The change comes on the heels of two disturbances at the zoo on a pair of free days over the past year, including reports of a shooting at a free day last month. The March free day also had more people in attendance than zoo officials had planned.

"This is a way of thinning the crowd so it can be a much more enjoyable experience for zoo visitors and also reduce the chance of problems we've had in the past," Zoo Executive Director Randy Wishthoff said.

The new program is called Passport to Adventure.

"All the postcards mailed to households are randomized, so your neighbor will likely not have the same day of the week to visit the zoo at no cost," Wisthoff said.

The Passport to Adventure postcards offer one free zoo day in July, November, and September for a total of three free zoo days a year.  The cards will identify which day of the week during that month that you can get free admission. Some card will indicate Mondays, Tuesdays  or Thursdays.

"It gives people an option because if their postcard identifies Monday then that person can pick any Monday of the month they want to visit the zoo," Wisthoff said.

The free tickets will be mailed to residents' homes beginning in June. Adults will need to take identification or a current utility bill and the ticket for free admission, which will give free entrance to all family members who live at that address.

Mailing the postcards is an extra expense but Wisthoff said the zoo will actually save money because they will not have to bring in extra staff and supplies they would need under the old system of one giant free day at the zoo.

If you have questions about the zoo program, visit the home page of the Kansas City Zoo at http://www.kansascityzoo.org/ .

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