Big fee hikes at Winnipeg zoo when polar bear exhibit opens July 3

Journey to Churchill, the Assiniboine Park Zoo's new home for its polar bears and other Arctic animals, will officially open to the public on July 3.

Journey to Churchill, the Assiniboine Park Zoo's new home for its polar bears and other Arctic animals, will officially open to the public on July 3.

The four-hectare exhibit will feature polar bears, Arctic foxes, muskoxen, snowy owls and seals in expansive new habitats.

It will also have interactive interpretive components, a 360-degree theatre, underwater viewing tunnels and more, zoo officials announced in a news release Monday.

"Journey to Churchill will open as the greatest northern species zoo exhibit anywhere in the world and that’s something of which Manitobans should be very proud," Margaret Redmond, president and CEO of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, stated in the release.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo will close between June 23 and July 2 to prepare for the grand opening on July 3 at noon.

Members of the public can access the exhibit via a new South Gate entrance on Roblin Boulevard that will open that day.

Zoo officials said they'll raise daily admission fees when Journey to Churchill opens, marking the second time this year that fees are going up. Rates increased April 1.

Starting July 3, adult gate admission will go up from $10.24 to $18.50, not including GST.

The gate fee for seniors and youth (aged 13-17) will go up from $8.24 to $14.81, while the fee for children between the ages of three and 12 will go up from $6.62 to $10.

Gate admission is free for children under the age of three. Zoo officials are changing the free admission age from two to three.

As well, the zoo will have "10-dollar Tuesdays," offering a reduced rate of $10 to everyone on Tuesdays starting July 8.

The zoo's annual membership rates, which went up on April 1, are not changing for the opening of Journey to Churchill.

Officials said the admission prices are being adjusted to "reflect the industry standard across zoos in North America" and bring the Winnipeg zoo closer to being a self-sustaining facility.

"Our job was to build a world-class and increasingly self-sustaining facility that allowed the [Assiniboine] Park and Zoo to be dramatically less dependent on tax dollars," Redmond said.

"In 2015 our funding model basically flips from being originally funded 75/25 with the majority coming from tax dollars to 35/65 with the majority coming from earned revenue. These new rates make that possible with all revenue going right back into maintaining and growing the Park and Zoo."

Check out the full list of admission price changes here:


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