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Cosley Zoo Raises Admission Fees

Board approves $2 increase in adult non-resident admission fees at Cosley Zoo.

Out-of-towners in the new year will have to shell out $2 more to get into Cosley Zoo.

To avoid a deeper deficit at Cosley Zoo, the Wheaton Park District board of commissioners Wednesday approved increasing the zoo's adult non-resident admission fee from $3 to $5.

According to a staff report, the increase is "necessary in reaching sustainability," while maintaining rates with comparable zoos. 

As the Cosley Foundation, a not-for-profit that raises money for the zoo's capital projects scales back on its support of the zoo's operations, Cosley looked to other ways to make up for $50,000 it won't see from the foundation in 2013. 

The zoo finished 2010 with an $88,000 defecit and 2011 with a $57,000 defecit. Staff projects $28,000 deficit in 2012. Without increasing fees, "the zoo's defecit will grow considerably," according to the staff report.

Park director Mike Benard said for every dollar added to non-resident admission fees, the zoo makes about $40,000.

The $2 increase, based on an istimated 37,972 adult non-resident visitors in March-November 2011, would result in $75,944 in additional revenue to the zoo, according to the staff report.

The zoo will still be free for residents and child and senior admission fees will not change. 

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