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Zoo Boosts Ticket Prices On Some Days, Drops Them On Others

"Dynamic" pricing ties single day tickets to projected attendance for the day

You may have already noticed that the price of a ticket to the Indianapolis Zoo has gone up, at least on certain days.

The zoo has begun using what it calls dynamic pricing when you buy single day tickets at their web site. "Basically, you can lock in your lowest price if you go online first, and it's based on projected attendance over numbers that we've had in the past," said Judy Palermo, the zoo's senior public relations manager. "What it can do is help you save a little money. It helps you come on a day where attendance is projected to be lower, and you have a better experience."

When you visit the ticket sales page at, you now find a calendar which shows prices for individual tickets and projected zoo attendance for that day. Tickets cost more on days where more people are expected to visit, such as weekends, and cost less on days when attendance is expected to be lower. Palermo says Indy is the first zoo to attempt such a pricing structure. "There are sports teams who have done this. Airlines have done dynamic pricing as well, but we're the first zoo to do it, so everyone is watching to see how it's going."

The Zoo expects attendance to increase dramatically this year with the opening of its new Simon Skodjt (scott) International Orangutan Center, and that's one reason for the shift to the new prices. Palermo says they are using the system to actually try to limit daily attendance to less than 9,000 people. "Once you get above that, the experience isn't as good as it could be. With (the orangutan center), we know we are going to have people from around the world here," Palermo said. The zoo has projected an attendance of 1.28 million people this year, which would be an increase of 24-percent over 2013.

Annual membership prices are not affected by dynamic pricing, and if Zoo members are worried about bigger crowds, Palermo reminds them that members are admitted to the zoo an hour earlier than the general public on weekends.


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