The Oakland Zoo is a perfect balance of animals, play areas, and (dare I say it?) rides for kids. In fact, there is so much other fun stuff going on, sometimes it's a challenge to remember to see the animals. The nice thing about membership is that you can go, see an animal or two, have a meltdown, and leave without stressing about the price of admission.
But is it worth it? How many times do I need to go to the zoo to break even? Is it a good deal if my kids are toddlers or babies? Let's break it down.
Regular admission to the Oakland Zoo:
Under 2 and Over 75: FREE
Kids age 2 to 14 or seniors age 65 to 75: $18
Ages 15 to 64: $22
Car Parking: Another $10
For my family of two adults, three kids, and one vehicle, that's $108 per regular-priced visit
Perks of Membership at the Oakland Zoo:
- FREE admission 362 days of the year at The Oakland Zoo
- FREE parking at The Oakland Zoo
- DISCOUNTS at the Gift Shop, for Zoo Camp, Birthday Parties, and special events such as Walk in the Wild and ZooLights
- DISCOUNTED or FREE admission to over 125 zoos and aquariums nationwide
- When a kid gets snoozy or worse falls into the frog pond (like my kid did TODAY!), you can leave and not curse the entrance price (priceless)!
What Membership to the Oakland Zoo doesn't get you:
- Free admission to annual ZooLights events, birthday parties, special events (except for special Member Mondays, which you should totally look for!)
- Additional guest passes or ride passes
Doing the math on the break-even point of an Oakland Zoo membership:
Though pricey at $159 my family of five (two adults and up to four children between 2 and 17 allowed) would have to go to to the Oakland Zoo less than twice to offset the ~$108 (gulp!) of a visit. That's not factoring in guests passes or ride tickets but I think it's a slam dunk.
Two visits per year is very easy to meet. However, being members means we should go as often as we feel the urge to visit the gondola, monkeys, giraffes, lazy lions, and zoo train. Membership also means discounted admission to local attractions, we also get half off when visiting the grandparents at the Cleveland Zoo (no, I don't mean to imply my parents live at the Zoo!).
Pro tip: I like to purchase a membership in the middle of December in order to get two ZooLights member visits out of one calendar year. We go once in the second half of December for this year and can go once at the start of December next year before it expires.
When is it not worth it?
If your children are under age two, it may not be worth it yet; they're still free. Can you glom onto a friends' membership? Do the math on your own family and let us know if it's worth it for you.
Other membership levels:
- There are many other zoo membership levels depending on the size of your family and whether you want to include other caregivers or frequent guests.
[All photos 510families; rate information updated 12/17]