Free Access is a driving force behind Como Friend’s advocacy for Como.

Advocating for free access at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a cornerstone of our work at Como Friends. That’s why we’re paying close attention to a feasibility study the City of St. Paul is conducting this fall to explore the possibility of introducing paid parking in city park facilities, including at Como.

The study will explore the potential impacts on existing sources of revenue that support the annual operations of, and improvements to, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Included in the study is an analysis of impacts on philanthropic gifts from supporters of Como Friends and on revenues raised from sales in the gift shop, from purchases in the café and food concessions, and on making voluntary donations at the front entrance.

While no decision has been made on how revenues from paid parking might be used, the City of St. Paul has noted that “a wide variety of various community, city and Como priorities such as programming for underrepresented residents or improvements to public facilities and services will be taken into consideration.” Results from the study are expected to be available in October.

Free access is a driving force behind Como Friends’ advocacy for Como. Como Friends does not support paid parking at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory because we believe it will impede access and impact families most in need—especially the 7 in 10 visitors who report that they rely on Como’s accessibility and open door policy.

“At Como, free means free,” says Jackie Sticha, President of Como Friends. “Since we shared our position on paid parking earlier this summer, many supporters have called to tell us that free access is an important part of why they give to Como. We look forward to analyzing the results of this study later this fall, and continuing to advocate for the values that our community cares about most at Como.”

Be sure to join our Como Promo email newsletter list at to stay informed on the latest developments, and to learn more about Como Friends’ advocacy work on behalf of the nearly two million visitors who come to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory every year. Thank you for all you do to support free access and needed improvements at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, to ensure this beloved treasure is thriving for generations to come.

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  • Peg Tyler says:

    I just wanted to say that I tried to get through the email survey but it went on for much too long — most of those on-line surveys do and I rarely try them anymore but I wanted to do this one for Como Zoo!!! I would like to add my voice and vote to the no parking fee. I agree completely with the Friends’ group position on this subject.

    • Matthew Wehner says:

      Thank you for your feedback on the survey. We’ll make sure to add you to the list of people who are opposed to paid parking. Thank you for your support for Como Zoo!

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