zoo babies

Sepilok holds her baby at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium's Hubbard Orangutan Valley on Dec. 11, 2014. They are Bornean orangutans. 

The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium’s 2017 membership drive is off to a strong start, with time still left to buy a discounted membership.

The zoo has sold more than one-third of its goal of 51,000 memberships by April 2. To reach that benchmark, the zoo is offering $6 off membership prices until April 2, plus discounted rates through some employers.

A 2017 membership, in addition to admission, includes a discount on Stingray Beach and the new Bird Show, opening May 26 in the new Holland Meadowlark Amphitheater. It also includes a 5 percent discount on concessions, the gift shop and rides, plus access to special members events, discounted zoo classes and more.

Membership rates rose $6 across the board this year. Zoo officials said the additional revenue will help pay for the new amphitheater, a new zoo school and the Adventure Trails exhibit, opening near the Desert Dome this summer. It also will pay for more animal encounters with expert zoo staffers and for upkeep for the Alaskan Adventure splash pad, the African Grasslands and other exhibits.

In addition, membership and ticket sales help fund the zoo’s conservation endeavors.

“When you pay to come to the zoo and you pay for a membership, you’re helping to save animals,” said zoo Director Dennis Pate. “Think about it that way, too. What did I do to save animals? I went to the zoo.”

Pate said he hasn’t heard complaints about the new price and that the zoo is still at or below the median for prices compared with zoos with similar attendance marks. The zoos that are cheaper, he said, often get more tax support or charge for things like parking, which is free at the Omaha zoo.

For more information and to purchase a membership, visit omahazoo.com.

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.