The San Antonio Zoo. Photo by Scott Ball.
The San Antonio Zoo will offer free admission to first responders through Sept. 30. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The San Antonio Zoo is offering free admission to all police, fire, and emergency medical technician personnel through Sept. 30.

All San Antonio and Bexar County emergency service personnel with valid identification are welcome, and the zoo will give 50% off admission to four guests of each personnel member.

“Our police, fire, and EMT first responders work tirelessly to ensure that our community is safe,” said San Antonio Zoo CEO and Executive Director Tim Morrow on Thursday in a statement to the Rivard Report. “Offering them and their families the opportunity to relax and enjoy the zoo is our way of saying thank you for serving our city and county.”

This promotion is similar to others the zoo has offered this year to recognize and celebrate teachers and active and retired military members.

Zoo Director of Public Relations and Communications Chuck Cureau expressed the zoo’s gratitude toward emergency service personnel and appreciation for their often unrecognized sacrifices.

“In their profession, they sometimes have difficulty relaxing and disconnecting, and we want to offer them that at the zoo. … We want to give them and their families a break from the realities they face day to day, which can sometimes be harsh,” Cureau said. “It’s just a great big way to say thank you.”

The San Antonio Zoo was created in 1914, when George W. Brackenridge gave to the City a collection of animals, including buffalo, monkeys, lions, and bears, along with the piece of land that became Brackenridge Park.

In 1928, the San Antonio Zoological Society nonprofit was founded, and the zoo officially opened the following year, becoming home to two of the United States’ first cageless animal exhibits: the Barless Bear Terraces and the Primate Paradise. Since its founding, the zoo has grown to serve more than 1 million annual visitors and create an $85 million economic impact on the San Antonio area, according to 2016 data.

Current special exhibitions at the zoo include Bug Mania, which gives an up-close view of bugs and their ecological roles, with giant replicas around the zoo, and Jungle Boogie Nights, with live music and drink specials on Friday evenings from 6-9 p.m. Bug Mania runs through Sept. 3, while Jungle Boogie Nights end Sept. 1.

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Tom Bugg

Tom Bugg is a San Antonio native and student of English at Colorado College.