Louisville Zoo to start charging for parking


by WHAS11


Posted on March 4, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 6 at 12:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WHAS11) -- Changes coming to the Louisville Zoo.   For the first time since its opening in 1969 they'll begin charging a $5 parking fee.

The Louisville Zoo has come a long way since opening its doors 44 years ago. But time is taking its toll on the 134 acres of attractions. And the zoo is asking drivers to help pay for the upkeep.

 “The parking fee is going to go to help maintain the zoo, new roads, new roof, new fencing, all the things that cycle after about 40 years that need to be updated and replaced,” John Walczak, Louisville Zoo director, said.

Starting March 16, parking will cost visitors without memberships $5 per car.  Visitors with memberships will not have to pay extra for parking. The zoo expects to raise more than over $500,000.

 “This is probably one of the first zoo's I’ve been to where I didn't have to pay for parking,” May Nagelkerk, a zoo visitor, said.

Zoo regular, May Nagelkerk, says she doesn't mind the fee.  But reaction amongst the over 900,000 people who visit the zoo each year is mixed. 

Louisville is the only zoo in the region besides Evansville that doesn't currently charge for parking. I asked if visitors will be seeing any other fee increases soon.

“Rates will change, they always will, they change at the grocery store they change at the gas pumps. Our job is to always make sure try to keep this zoo to be a great value for everyone who comes to the park,” Walczak said.

Again that parking fee does go into effect March 16.  We did get some viewer questions about whether that fee was put in place to cover costs from the zoo's train derailment lawsuit. They've told us the capital maintenance fund is completely separate from the lawsuit, but couldn't comment on how much if anything the suit is costing the zoo directly.