Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens members will see their annual fee rise in the new year.
Membership costs are going up $25 across-the-board beginning January 1st, to generate more funds to support Zoo operations, including salaries, animal food, and related areas. The increase will also allow JZG to put more money toward conservation- $5 per membership, instead of the $1 they do currently. General admission is not changing.
“Our memberships haven’t been increased in years and years and years, and so we’re playing a little catch up,” says JZG Membership and PR Supervisor JJ Vitale.
Vitale says, along with the price increase, they’re restructuring what memberships look like. Currently, she says there are a lot of different plans available. You will be able to still get all the same benefits, but in a more streamlined way.
“It’s going to be an individual, a one-adult family, or a family. From there, we’re kind of doing an a la carte option,” she says.
Those options will include adding a named or unnamed guest to your membership. JZG members will also be able to get non-members tickets for a reduced rate of $10, which will make it more affordable to bring a large group of friends or family.
Vitale says they are also adding some more events and activities, to try to make up for the increased rate. That includes new member-only events like Painting with Penguins and Breakfast with the Bunny, a book club for children, and new partnerships with local institutions that will be reflected through your membership card.
“Better connect our members to our mission, and making it fun while we do it,” she says.
The revenue from this boost will specifically go toward Zoo operations, but it comes as JZG is separately fundraising for their Master Plan. The City of Jacksonville has committed to matching $5 million each of the next five years for donations the Zoo can bring in to support this multi-year program.
WOKV brought you an in-depth look at the projects involved, which range from improved exhibits to new features. Viltale says some of the early projects will include improving parking and relocating the Zoo’s entrance to be more central on the overall trail.