CHICAGO: Anxious to give people a place of respite from the recent
tragedy in New York, Chicago's Brookfield Zoo decided to waive all
admission fees on Sunday, September 16.
The zoo distributed a release on its decision using PR Newswire, called
local media contacts, and put word of its decision on its website the
same day. Local media picked up on the news Saturday.
On Sunday, more than 30,000 people showed up at the zoo, twice the
normal Sunday attendance. To accommodate the crowds, the zoo stayed open
one hour past its normal 6pm closing time.
"It was important for us to encourage people to come," said Lee Haines,
assistant director of marketing and PR. "We wanted to make sure people
had some place for solace - some place to reconnect with their
The zoo normally charges $7 for adults and $3.50 for
children and seniors, so the free admission offer likely cost the zoo
Zoo director George Rabb made the decision to offer free admission
Friday, so Haines and his staff had only a few hours to get the message
On Monday, the Chicago Tribune ran a Metro section page-one story on the
Sunday turnout. The Brookfield zoo, in a Chicago suburb, is the largest
zoo in the area.