Yael T. Abouhalkah

Another ‘free day’ at Kansas City Zoo, but not for Johnson Countians

The Kansas City Zoo will be open for free on Monday — at least to residents of Jackson and Clay counties, that is.

Those are the two counties that embraced an eighth-cent sales tax in 2011 to form the Zoological District to help pay for an upgraded facility. In return, zoo officials promised free admission for at least four days a year to residents of those counties.

Johnson Countians remain some of the zoo’s biggest fans, of course, but they haven’t had the opportunity yet to support a small stream of public funding for it.

Instead, Kansas officials have turned their backs on attempts to get bistate types of votes on the zoo and other Kansas City area amenities, including the arts.

So Johnson Countians will have to pay full freight to get into the zoo on Monday, and most days of the year as well. Meanwhile, Jackson and Clay county residents get reduced admission rates as well as breaks on Friends of the Zoo year-round passes.

The first three “free days” days at the Kansas City Zoo were offered during better-weather days, but it’s also nice to have a day that promises to not be too crowded open to the public.

The zoo noted in a press release that some of the recently added indoor exhibits will be open, even though all of the animals won’t be out in the winter’s cold weather:

“Warm up in the Tropics, Discovery Barn, Snakes and catch a bird show in the zoo’s auditorium. And, of course, visit our rock star Nikita at Polar Bear Passage. But most of all, stop in Helzberg Penguin Plaza where our feathered friends are awaiting your arrival to make you smile and laugh as they demonstrate their downhill slides, water aerobics and ‘graceful’ torpedo ice-landings.”