Here in DC, a person who supports the National Zoo is called a FONZ: Friend of the National Zoo. Super idea to be the Zoo's Friend. Except for the fact that, if you have been following the zoo in the media of late, there have been many reasons to not return the zoo's calls and to pretend you're working late so you don't have to do happy hour with it: Several dead animals due to caretaker carelessness, ongoing issues with the facility itself, the subsequent departure of the zoo's director, etc.
Today's visit to the zoo with The Bambina gave me another reason to not invite the zoo to my next kegger and to take it off my speed dial: $12 Parking.
And here's the best part: they don't tell you it isn't free parking until you drive all the way through the zoo, down the back road, all the way to the remaining empty parking lot, and up to the gate where a sign on the parking booth says, "0-1 hours: $4; 1-2 hours: $12..."
I can hear all the codependent FONZ's saying, "it's $4 parking! Not $12!" Yeah. Because everyone I know with a 15 month old kid packs them into the car with all their stuff, drives 15 minutes, unpacks everything, gets them into a stroller and up to the zoo gate--to stay 40 total minutes and then rush back down the hill, across the access road and back into the car and out the gate before your ticket expires at 61 minutes....
I know this sounds like such a stupid, petty issue. But think about how uncool it is to treat your Friends that way. Post signs saying, "Parking This Way." Direct them down a mile and a half of access road, bring them to the gate, and then say, "Oh--by the way; I know the zoo is free, but did I mention that the parking is $12? Love ya!"