Some local lawmakers are mad about the Buffalo Zoo's new pricing structure. They say that it's unfair to middle-class Western New Yorkers.

International Security Assistance Force
Getty Images (Stock Photo)

Read More: 3 Major Changes This Year To SNAP Benefits In New York

The Buffalo Zoo is receiving backlash from Republican lawmakers due to discounts it is offering to certain Buffalo residents. Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro told WKBW,

“I think it should be fair across the board that anyone should be able to go there and pay the same price."

Is The Buffalo Zoo's 'Zoo For All' Program Unfair?

One thing is true, no good deed goes unpunished! Under the 'Zoo For All' program, low-income families and individuals enjoy a reduced rate for zoo entry. The program offers those with a New York State EBT or other Electronic Benefit card a rate of $5 for general admission tickets, up to four, per day. Low-income visitors are not the only group afforded a discount. Military members, both active duty and retired, get 50% off their admission prices. Also, those who hold Buffalo and Erie County Public Library cards can get a $5 discount on general admission tickets each day.

New Rainforest Exhibit Home To World's Smallest Monkeys
Getty Images (Stock Photo)

Read More: Millions Of New Yorkers Could See SNAP Benefits Quadrupled

However, local Republican lawmakers seem to be focused on the discount being offered to people who make $39,000 or less for a family of four. In New York State, in order to receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, a family of four must earn less than $39,000 per year. This seems to be a point of contempt to local Republican lawmakers.

Republican lawmakers complained to WKBW that people who make more money should be given the same prices as those who live close to the national poverty level of $31,200. Based on Todaro's argument, someone making $70,00 per year for a family of two should pay the same amount to visit the zoo as a family of four bringing in less than $39,000. Todaro told Channel 7,

“I think everybody should have a fair shake to go to a zoo and pay the same price to get the same value, regardless of what economic value background you are. If it's subsidized from taxpayers' money, it should be fair across the board."

Giraffe Born At Chester Zoo
Getty Images (Stock Photo)

The 'Zoo For All' program allows many WNYers to be able to afford to visit the zoo. Erie County has the 2nd highest number of SNAP recipients in the entire state of New York with 144,212 residents receiving benefits as of January 2024.

The Buffalo Zoo's website lists its current prices as:
Members - Free
Regular (age 13-64) - $21.95
Seniors (age 65+) - $18.95
Children (age 2-12) - $15.95
Children under 24 months - FREE

In my humble opinion, I think the prices are pretty steep, but I also don't think that Republican lawmakers should attack pricing aimed at allowing low-income residents to enjoy the zoo.

Visit The Buffalo Zoo's Website


93.7 WBLK logo
Get our free mobile app

"Wait, There's More!" 'Lions and Tigers and Bears (Oh My)' at These 15 Great Upstate New York Zoos

This is a list of many Upstate zoos, animal sanctuaries, animal rescue farms, and adventure parks where the whole family can visit and get close to nature and mingle with some of the most impressive animals anywhere.

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio

More From 93.7 WBLK