10 Things Your Zoo Doesn't Want You to Know
Two words: road kill
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2011 4:53 PM CDT
A polar bear cub prepares to emerge to an outdoor area of the Alaska Zoo on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Anchorage.   (AP Photo/Dan Joling)

(Newser) – Heading out for a fun day at the zoo? Check out this list from SmartMoney first, which rounds up 10 things you might not know about the zoo's inner workings:

  • You're paying a lot: Maybe not a lot compared to other types of entertainment, but a lot more than you would have paid in the past. A number of zoos have recently raised prices by anywhere from $1 to $3. It may not seem like much, but it adds up. (And if you're not a member, SmartMoney notes, you're definitely paying too much.)
  • But you're not seeing as much: Though both prices and attendance are up, exhibits are being shut down as funding is cut and budgets are slashed. Zoos that don't depend as much on public funding, like the private Dallas Zoo, continue to open new exhibits.

  • And what you are seeing may not be animals: Zoos are increasingly reliant on separately priced attractions—which may or may not be animal-related—for profits. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, for example, bought a water park and golf course in 2006. The San Diego Zoo's add-on is more zoo-like: You can pay $120 for a behind-the-scenes tour.
  • You don't necessarily want to know what they feed the animals: Because sometimes it's ... road kill.
  • You could get sick: Think twice before entering that petting zoo. Animals can transmit salmonella, E. coli, and other similarly unpleasant things to visitors.
Click for the complete list or, for a slightly more heartwarming zoo story, click to gaze upon some baby liger cubs.