Katy area parents who had planned to take their kids to one of the Houston Zoo’s free “First Tuesday” events will have to make other plans after the zoo announced it is cancelling the promotional for the remainder of the summer months.
Citing traffic congestion and safety concerns, Houston Zoo President and CEO Deborah Cannon today announced that the zoo is altering its free “First Tuesday” of the month afternoon (2 p.m. to closing) admission policy and removing the summer dates from the schedule.
The change will go into effect immediately resulting in the cancellation of the July 3 and August 7 “First Tuesday” afternoons. However, the free “First Tuesday” afternoons from September through May will remain in effect.
The change in the Houston Zoo’s free afternoon admission policy was prompted by the severe traffic congestion in Hermann Park and in the Texas Medical Center that accompanied the “First Tuesday” afternoon on June 5.
“Approximately 12,000 people came to the Houston Zoo in a three-hour period that afternoon,” Cannon said.
The traffic congestion that resulted on Cambridge Street created a potential hazard for Houston Fire Department ambulances and other emergency vehicles making their way to the emergency rooms at Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann hospitals.
“The Houston Zoo has worked diligently to identify opportunities for free and discounted admissions. However, in doing so we cannot adversely impact public safety,” Cannon said. “We must be a good neighbor to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and to the Texas Medical Center.”
Texas Medical Center President Dr. Richard Wainerdi said the zoo’s decision showed it was “being a good neighbor, taking responsible action and doing the right thing.”
“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,” Wainerdi said. “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.”