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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

« Wisconsin Cable Regulation Back In Play | Main | Newsweek: A Wonderful Mystery »

October 27, 2009


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Thomas J. Mertz

Why is this better than a wheel tax?

George Hesselberg

Weekdays free?
Charge Edgewood for parking?


Perhaps it should be resident/non-resident of Dane County, as is done for pools in the area -- residents could be free, non-residents pay $5; still cheaper than a movie.


No, the worst thing that would happen is the city & county would spend money on the case and lose, ending up with a bad public image and less money. Municipal cultural institutions should be free. They enrich their residents and their communities. (See St. Louis Zoo and Art Museum, Smithsonian Institutions.) Raise the bloody beer tax, pick up garbage less often, charge more for the ice cream you sell at the zoo, but spend money on arts and culture and keep the good stuff free. Don't put up any barriers, no matter how small.

Ty O'Mara

I agree with Mertz and anon. A free world-class zoo is a great privilege to the underprivileged children of Madison and Dane County. I'd have to guess they would be the biggest losers if an admission were charged. I'm not suggesting a study be done, however, I'm happy just guessing. Those kids aren't going to be getting their laptops any time soon, let's, at least, keep them on the same zoological level as the fortunate kids. Madison is a bastion of progressive thought and action. What a great historical tradition this zoo represents. Thanks for the link, now I know who William F. Vilas was...........and is.


"Doin' right ain't got no end."

If you can't afford $3 twice a year for the kids, then sell the Cadillac and TracFones.


And if you can't afford a fee, simply walk down to the Capitol and watch the republicans.....


Stockholm Syndrome is no laughing matter.


I don't think this is a terrible idea but I think the losers would be the large families who come into Madison from outside Dane Co. who are looking for one fun family trip that is free.

Also, if we were to do this I would want to examine the cost to charge fees, have staff taking money, etc. You would have to have fee booths at both enterences, there would be lines, etc. During the week during off season when very few folks visit the zoo it would be a ghost town and the cost to have the staff taking money would eat into the benefit of the extra reveneue. Also, other revenue could go down if we charged an enterence fee. If less people visited the zoo there would be less money coming in for food and rides.

Any sort of low income reduced fee or free passes would not work well in my opinion.

Oliver Steinberg

The Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minn., does not charge admission but does request a voluntary donation. Como Zoo does not have quite as many exotic species and as extensive a "campus" as Vilas has, but is similar enough to make a fair comparison. On the other hand, a cynical observer would say that the civic mantra of Madison has always been, "If it's not broken, let's 'fix' it." And as soon as your zoo begins to pay for itself, it will be "privatized." Because if you set a precedent here and challenge and change one provision, you can revoke them all.


I agree with froggyprager. It might cost more to collect fees than it is worth. Also legal fees being what they are I think the county can find a better way to raise money for the zoo. There are already donation barrels. How about adding a two dollar check off on property tax bills specifically for the zoo? You could also sell memberships like Olbrich Gardens does - it entitles you to a discount at the gift shop and free admission to the conservatory (normally costs a dollar).


That is a good point Katrina, just ask the property holders to check off the box to donate to the zoo. Geez, a three or four dollar admission to the zoo would not be an imposition to the disadvantage youth. In fact, turning the zoo over to a nonprofit to run would also be wise, it worked for the Detroit Zoo in Michigan. I and my family have been to the zoo many times, its a good zoo, but hardly world class. It could be so much more than it is now. My idea would be to go to all the "progressive" business people and ask them to donate money so they could cover the admission charge to the zoo so the "disadvantage youth" can go for free.

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