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Weekday Zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by animalszoos, 5 Jun 2016.

  1. animalszoos

    animalszoos Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever visited a zoo on a weekday (not during a holiday)?
    How many visitors does an average zoo have on a weekday?
    Do you think all zoos should be open on weekdays?
     
  2. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    From a visitor perspective weekdays (esp mondays) are a great time to visit the zoo or indeed any tourist attraction. Because they typically have a reduced number of people attending and thus there's less bustle and crush and more chance for you to enjoy the attraction.

    On the flipside though less people means less profit and thus you get variation in how some places deal with "off peek" times.

    1) They close; the cost of opening to the public is too great for them to risk days where they make little profit. Whilst the keeper side of things always goes on if they are open to the public they have to take on extra staff for food; amenities; litter; cleaning etc...

    2) They run a reduced service; esp in the winter/autumn months away from the summer holidays and better weather, many places will have a reduced service. This might mean less displays during the day; it might mean some cafes are shut it can even be renovation time and thus even key areas like gift shops can be closed or enclosures might be empty as things are changed/moved around.

    Personally I like the off-peek because it generally makes the zoo quieter and easier to take your time moving around in. As I tend to take a camera with me it also makes it easier to get positioned where you want; whilst peek times there are many more people around either wanting the same position or walking in front of you (to be fair many try to avoid doing this, but you still have to wave many though).


    As for if they should be open that depends entirely on the zoo and its operating costs. If they can run a reduced service and thus have a modest overhead for being open to the public off-peek then they should be open. If they require more overhead then chances are they shouldn't be. A zoo shouldn't make a financial loss on entertaining the public, that aspect should be there to generate revenue for the zoo to function.



    Note if a zoo is intentionally going to make a loss then it is investing in the visiting public and thus I would argue that such an investment should be more focused than purely entertainment and would expect a greater education/awareness focus.

    Note 2 a zoo might make an overall annual profit on visitors but have periods where they take a loss. It's their choice how they balance that, since sometimes being too restrictive on opening times turns people away even during peek times; or at least makes an establishment less frequented and thus requiring more advertising investment to ensure that it is in the visiting publics mind and attention when they are open .
     
  3. animalszoos

    animalszoos Well-Known Member

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    Great answer overread:)
    Another benefit of zoos being open in weekdays is that schools and many other educational places can visit the zoo, meaning the zoo might gain profit.
     
  4. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Well-Known Member

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    I much prefer visiting on a weekday during school term times (ie, not during school holidays). The atmosphere is much better, quieter, more relaxed. You can take things easier, without being bothered by lots of kids running around, and any kids that are there are usually part of school groups and easier to avoid. The people visiting tend to be more adults too, and ones that want to be there, rather than being there because they are taking the kids. I actually tend to avoid zoo visits during peak season because I much prefer the quiet of the off-season weekday.
     
  5. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    Education trips can run at any time even if the zoo is closed to the general public; provided that the zoo itself has ensured that they have networked with schools within the local area to make them aware that trips are possible and when they can be conducted.

    Sometimes closed to public trips can be superior because without the general public around there is potential to do more things that otherwise might be more risky or difficult to organise or might might generate additional stresses or problems.

    This might even just be having more detailed or focused keeper talks out in the main zoo area. Since generally keeper talks are pitched for the public whilst a schools trip - which can include everything from preschool all the way up to college and uni.
     
  6. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    While still working at zoos ( late 1980-ties - beginning 1990-ties ) the days with the less visitors were alway Mondays and Fridays.
     
  7. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Is that a European thing, zoos being closed on weekdays? I do not know of any public zoo here in the USA that is not open 7 days a week. A couple (not many at all) in northern USA close in winter. Only some very small facilities such as rescue centers are closed weekdays.

    Of course for most of us the best time to visit a zoo is when it is least crowded. Weekdays for sure, though in some smaller zoos they are overrun with schoolchildren on weekday mornings, making late afternoon a better time. Rainy days are good too, because most visitors stay away and some animals (tigers and elephants) can be more active in rain.
     
  8. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    I have never come across a zoo of any size that is only open weekends. Some very small parks do close one or two days a week but they are very rare. The problem is that the biggest expense in running a zoo is caring for the animals, and it is not like you can lock the front door and not worry about them for a week. the additional cost of collecting entry fees is small compared with the cost of keeping the animals for any reasonably sized collection. So picking up a small amount of admission income is better than nothing at all.
     
  9. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    I know a couple of very small zoos that are not open 7 days, but these are very small zoos that are run by volunteers. But these are rare exceptions. Most zoos in Europe are open 7 days a week all year round. Although some zoos close for the winter months. The most notable zoo that does this is Pairi Daiza although I can imagine that they will evaluate this policy as their park has changed so much and has sufficient to offer for their visitors in winter.
     
  10. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Well-Known Member

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    I’ve just remembered that Chessington Zoo is closed on weekdays during the winter, instead is only open at weekends and on school holidays between October and March/April. Maybe it is a bit of a ‘special case’ being as it is part of a larger theme park which is closed completely during the winter months. At least by opening just the zoo area of the park (which is conveniently the area closest to the main entrance gate) they can still bring in some money.
     
  11. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    When I visited Kuwait Zoo I found it is closed on Saturdays.

    When I worked at Taronga Zoo the quietest days were Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The best time I found to visit was in the first week of the school term because the school's haven't had time to organise a zoo visit, so you don't get the crowds nor the school groups.

    The busiest week is the second week of January.

    :p

    Hix
     
  12. azcheetah2

    azcheetah2 Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard of zoos being closed on weekdays and can't imagine it being very cost efficient due to the lost revenue. I don't know about other zoos in the US, but I know that zoos in Arizona get a lot of school groups during the week. Regular schools and home schoolers. Also, they get field trips from day care centers and when it's a school holiday families travel and visit zoos during the week.
     
  13. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    Flamingo Land does very similar, again being part of a theme park.

    The only other examples of closure on weekdays I know of are colleges which teach animal management and have their own small zoos, so they only open when their students aren't there (Kirkley Hall or Rodbaston for example).
     
  14. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    Granted it might not have been 100% accurate (and I'm sure I took a photo but I can never find it) but I'm sure I saw a piechart (I think at Banham zoo) which outlined where money went and the feed/keepers/vet bill was about 2% or so of the chart. Buildings, Admin, and other elements were much bigger slices of the pie - although I can't now recall if worker wages was included as its own separate segment or not.
     
  15. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I think you are mistaken.

    Alan
     
  16. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    When I travel I try to visit zoos on weekdays due to reduced crowds.
     
  17. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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  18. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    It may be that animal food is 2% of the overall expenses, but that figure would not have included keepers wages. (I am presuming Banham Zoo does not include an amusement park or some other large non-zoo complex). However you do raise the cost of infrastructure and land. Rent and loan repayments don't stop midweek so these fixed charges also need to be met. It is the preponderance of costs that can't be varied whether open or not that make it worthwhile for zoos to open even on slow days.
     
  19. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    This raises another issue, whether the zoo sees itself as a tourist attraction or just as a facility for locals. Any decent tourism attraction will be open every day of the week because as shown by the thread above, tourists schedules are not governed by weekend/weekday concerns. ( they may of course still close during an "off-season").

    On the other hand a local facility with a reasonable Government subsidy and free use of land and infrastructure may find it convenient to close for a day or two each week. Although I hope the "rest day for staff" does not extend to keeping staff!