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City Council members balk at raising Junior Museum and Zoo ticket prices

Original post made on Sep 7, 2022

Despite some first-year hiccups and underwhelming revenues, Palo Alto officials are in no rush to raise ticket prices to the newly rebuilt Junior Museum and Zoo.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 7, 2022, 9:58 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2022 at 12:31 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

"Vice Mayor Lydia Kou suggested hiring an expert in pricing optimization to evaluate whether and when ticket prices should be raised.She also suggested a program to subsidize entry fees for those who cannot afford ticket prices."

Prices should never be raised. Charging kids "over 12 months of age" seems arbitrary. Serious fundraising should start, to have have a limited number of FREE tickets for pre-school children, every day the museum is open, first come first serve. Parents need to have places to inspire toddlers. Please eventually make this museum free for kids.


Posted by Old teacher
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 7, 2022 at 1:29 pm

Old teacher is a registered user.

As a community center resident for more than 50 years, I am horrified by the high price of admission. When my children and grandchildren visited with me, it was free and we could visit as often as we liked. What happened? I remember contributing to fund raisers to rebuild the facility, but I never dreamed it would have high ticket prices like $10! What a horror. The Children's zoo has been a treasure for so long; why is Palo Alto charging such outragious prices for this important learning facility?


Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2022 at 1:47 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Government is very inefficient and that definitely includes the City of Palo Alto. How about using volunteers to do some of the staffing at the museum and zoo? Yes, it use to be free when the City was better at being almost efficient.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2022 at 3:05 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Return to the no cost to enter legacy. Like the Junior Museum community benefit was historically set up for. This is an FDR era legacy supported by the likes of Lucy Stern. Hello! There are very few benefits that come with living in Palo Alto. This is one of them. Ms. Holman where is your leadership in said women centered history of our local Junior Museum?

Lydia Kuo and her embarrassing "cooing" to "hire" consultants to study fee based entrances. Vote her out. Plus she's always too distracted looking at her next multi million dollar real estate transaction just posted to Zillow and on her computer then listening to true community needs and demands from our long time residents. Can't wait for "Phony" Filseth and "Do Nothing" DuBois" City Hall eviction by the CC gavel's Dias. They've done a Century of damage with their culture crashing demeGod decisions un serving the deserving. Instead of raising taxes, they take organically grown, health and education from babies. If only I could post a beautiful picture of my toddler having a fun filled, no cost afternoon looking, touching, seeing, hearing the sights and sounds of our Natural and Scientific world of existence.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 7, 2022 at 3:25 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Not defending Lydia in this case because I don't know enough about her recommendation, but she's one of the pathetically few CC members who goes to bat for the people who live here and who tries to track down answers for us. Note it was Ms. Cormack, not Ms Kou who forced the hugely expensive, hugely impractical Mitchell Park Library on us because she was "ashamed" of the more modest one it replaced. Who in their right mind puts a noisy children's playroom near the entrance so the noise of the playing children echoes throughout the building??

I doubt you want to compare Ms Kou's real estate dcommissions with that of the commercial real estate and real estate law practices of other CC members and mayors, especially when they so often serve the interests of the billionaire developer and landlords.

Remind me again which CC member wanted to convert town & Country Shopping Center into "medical/research" properties thus depriving the city of sales tax revenues mere weeks before the pandemic ended and which CC member actually talked to the small-business owner tenants at T&C!


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:48 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I would love to know how many of the City's senior staff live in Palo Alto and how many have children here. With increasing frequency I read what is being proposed and find myself wondering HOW they can even think about doing whatever it is. There are so many examples, with this idea about hiking the entrance fees to this museum and zoo being just one. The disconnect is concerning.


Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2022 at 2:57 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Is it an April Fool's joke in November or did I just see that the Junior museum is proposing buying two dinosaurs for an exhibit for $950,000?!

Just checking to see how I will finally decide about the measure to transfer utility funds to the General fund.

Does anyone at City Hall understand what this kind of money means?


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 7, 2022 at 3:52 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"Does anyone at City Hall understand what this kind of money means?"

Here's hoping that's a rhetorical question because they answer's clearlu no. The citu manager's proposing the change zoning to allow more gyms and medical offices to replacce retail at a time when the city's also proposing a new city gym and we're already over-run with private gyns that have already replaced retail. They're proposing to spend $144,000,000 for fiber to the home when people who have it at their offices are already complaining about outages and asking about prices for AT&T and Comcast networks.

So why not dinosaurs? It will commemorate all the coming tech crash and all the newly laid dff workers for whom we're being pressured to build more housing.

I hope they'll spend another $1,000,000 on unicorns to keep the dinosaurs company.


Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 7, 2022 at 4:05 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

It's such a shame. Such astonishing generosity from the community coalition that raised and donated funds, effort, and time. The wasted potential makes me so sad.

I put the blame squarely on CSD management. So ineffective in meeting after meeting, decision after decision that I want to pull my hair out. Ticketing isn't hard. Operating budget projection isn't hard. They're just really bad at it. Our City Manager's Office is the same... and City Council is like ho-hum, ho-hum.

The crux of it was that no one had the sense to think (or the ears to listen to those of us saying), "Hey, we're never going to be the San Francisco Zoo... this is a JUNIOR museum and zoo for little kids... let's stop pretending it'll be otherwise even after this beyond generous bequest."

For what we spend on this and other projects, we should be a shining city on a hill. Instead, the money disappears and we get milquetoast results at price tags that would make normal towns laugh at us if they knew. The old JMZ was a gem ... our new projects all smell like the meta-verse. Expensive, hubristic, and joyless.


Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 7, 2022 at 4:08 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

It's such a shame. Such astonishing generosity from the community coalition that raised and donated funds, effort, and time. The wasted potential makes me so sad.

I put the blame squarely on CSD management. So ineffective in meeting after meeting, decision after decision that I want to pull my hair out. Ticketing isn't hard. Operating budget projection isn't hard. They're just really bad at it. Our City Manager's Office is the same... and City Council is like ho-hum, ho-hum.

The crux of it was that no one the sense to think (or the ears to listen to those of us saying), "Hey, we're never going to be the San Francisco Zoo... this is a JUNIOR museum and zoo for little kids... let's stop pretending it'll be otherwise even after this beyond generous bequest. $40 for three kids and an adult for a few hours isn't reasonable for anyone but the wealthy, nor are attendance rates price inelastic."

For what we spend on this and other projects, we should be a shining city on a hill. Instead, the money disappears and we get milquetoast results at price tags that would make normal towns laugh at us if they knew. The old JMZ was a gem ... our new projects all smell like the meta-verse. Expensive, hubristic, and joyless.


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 7, 2022 at 5:26 pm

Annette is a registered user.

This is a perfect example why the business tax should have been specific, not general. It's just too easy for the General Fund to be tapped for expenditures like this. Dinosaurs are fun, but as is the general fund is sustaining the JMZ ($1.3 this year) which was supposed to be a revenue-neutral operation. And we have been told almost daily that we need to sustain the general fund by passing Measures K and L.

I hope City Council puts Shikada's prehistoric proposal on ice.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 7, 2022 at 5:32 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

The od JMZ WAS a gem. We'd regularly walk out dog past the old entrance on the way to the library. There were always 5 more groups of kids and their caretakers sitting on the tree trunk seats under the shady trees or snacking at the tables. Figure 40 people daily, some enjoying the shade and some waiting to use the FREE bathroom.

Kids loved meeting and petting our dog and he went from group to group getting his pets. Good normal neighborly encounters were had by all without spending fortunes on consuktabts with no local knowledge and no oversight from city staff requiring them to get any -- not even the basics of how the site HAD been used.

Now it's empty and sterile. The trees are gone, the tree trunk sears are gone, the neat colorful metal sculpture's gone. The people are gone.

And lots of $$$$$ of dollars are gone.

Where's the accountability?? They don't deserve more money!


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