Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I didn't renew my Bronx Zoo membership.... even if the snake is no longer on the town

Since having kids seven years ago, the Bronx Zoo has been one of our favorite places to visit as a family. We even had an annual Merry Zoo Day tradition (also known as Christmas). Our kids loved everything about being at the zoo from visiting Tiger Mountain to riding the Bug Carousel to wandering around the Mouse House.

And yet, even with all these happy memories, I'm not planning to visit the Bronx Zoo again any time soon. I'm not renewing our membership, even though I'm sure we'll still make a few trips to the Central Park Zoo.

Why don't I want to go to the Bronx Zoo anymore? It's not because they lost a venomous cobra. No, it's because they lost their integrity when they added Dora and Diego's 4D Adventure to the list of attractions at the zoo. Touted as a "multi-media experience," it's really just a movie. And it's all my kids want to do at the zoo. Forget the animals. Forget being outside. Forget being together as a family. Forget you're a kid at the zoo - let's go inside and help Nickelodeon reach their corporate profit goals!

I got a renewal email from the zoo recently, and took the time to respond why my family would no longer be members. The Assistant Director of Guest Relations replied, clarifying for me not only why the film was a super-great addition to the zoo, but also that the film was playing at "other widely-respected Zoos and Aquariums" including the "National Aquarium, Cincinnati Zoo, North Carolina Zoo, and St. Louis Zoo."

Great, now I'm even more depressed that Dora & Diego have taken over other major zoos (and aquariums), too.

The good news? The Assistant Director of Guest Relations informed me that they "currently plan to replace Dora & Diego's 4-D Adventure with a new 4-D movie, yet to be determined, at the Bronx Zoo in the spring of 2012."

I don't even want to guess what this film will be, but I am willing to guess that I won't be renewing my membership to the zoo in Spring 2012. And it's a shame.

Dora and Diego have been at the zoo since last summer when the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood wrote Et Tu, Bronx Zoo? about their disappointment that advertising had reached the previously commercial-free zoo.

What do you think about kids having more and more advertising in their lives?


A Mommy in the City said...

That's sad. They are taking away what the zoo is all about and replacing it with technology that our kids don't need.

Kristin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oops, I didn't mean to delete the above post...I just meant to log in with my current id! Sorry about that. Anyway...

I don't particularly mind it, but I was able to scoot my kids past it by telling them that Dora and Diego were napping and we'd see if they were up later. I know - filling their heads with lies!

It is kind of a sell-out, but I feel like they do so many good works ecologically (and it's a heck of a great day trip) that I'm okay with keeping my membership. I'd like to get there more often, but with Turtleback Zoo so close now, it's a tough choice.

Jill said...

I definitely can understand why that bothers you. Certainly not the intention of bringing them to the zoo and I applaud you for taking the time to express your opinion directly to them. It is sad, in a way, but it's everywhere and there are very few commercial experiences that lack some kind of branding. You wouldn't expect it of "cultural" activities though. SIGH.

skramly said...

What's a 4D movie?? I'm scared.

Tracy said...

I think the biggest disappointment is when they removed the holiday of lights program from the BronxZoo and then blaimed lack of funding when it was being underwritten by Pepsico AND Con Edison, my family would visit Holiday of Lights every year and since they took it away we have not returned! Thanks for sharing this post so I could vent! The children deserve better!

Anna said...

thanks for all your comments, i totally feel for places like the zoo that are in dire need of funds, but i still wish corporate funds/advertising wasn't always the answer.

tracy, i miss the holiday lights too. and the bronx zoo being open on christmas - we used to go every year.

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