Membership and Servitude in the Badlands

The Rio Grande Zoo is one the finest venues of its kind in the nation. It was based on this fact that my family and I became members of first the Zoological Society and now the Biopark. The ongoing expansion and consolidation of all these wonderful Facilities is something all New Mexican can be proud. On the FAQ of your website you point out that you are a non-profit organization and are revenue (membership) driven. Well, I certainly understand your desire to ensure membership is affordable for all those who desire to sign up. However, member retention should probably be high on the list of priorities, but two incidents this year make me question this assumption. This past summer I took the trouble to drive down to the Zoo and purchase my tickets for the Zoo Music extravaganza ahead of time. Lo and behold, when we arrive for the Concert the line for prior purchase tickets (you know, the people who took the time to plan) was backed up to Santa Fe because only one gate was available! Now those folks who decided to show up at Concert Time were whisked straight through the 3-4 gates available to them. Without the long wait. What is my current complaint? I have two daughters in Kindergarten. Both will soon make a field trip to your very fine Venue. One problem. Public Schools authorities have decided the Biopark makes it too much of a hassle for them to allow us to use our membership. Why? Because they would be required to separate out the children with passes (you know, the ones who support y’all) from the kids who don’t have memberships? OK? How is it that my children must be sorted out from the others. Kids whose parents do not support support you on a regular basis throw $5 in the kitty and they are whisked right through the Gates. In an effort to keep themselves from having to separate the Wheat from the Chaff each child will be require to pay $5 for the privilege of riding a school and being whisked right through the Gates of your very fine Venue. Why can not the person buying the tickets for the school be allowed to turn in a membership number for the children whose families have made it a point to support your very fine Venue? I see a pattern here. What pattern? It seems that once the Biopark has our money we are left to fester in the hot sun. According to your FAQ it is because many people buying memberships are of a questionable character, and must be monitored like–well, schoolchildren.

Q. Why do I have to show my picture I.D. when going to the parks?
A. As a nonprofit organization that relies heavily on membership and attendance for support, we need to prevent misuse of our membership cards. We also want to protect our members should their cards be lost or stolen. We try very hard to keep our membership prices affordable for as many people in our community as possible. If memberships were shared by families and neighbors, our revenues which support our facilities and projects, would be severely reduced.

Why do we have a membership? It would be much simpler to just pay as we go. The actual cost is of little consequence because the “convenience” of membership makes me want to drink myself to a stupor.

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About The Ancient Randonneur

A randonneur and epicure without a sinecure.
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