When Southwick’s Zoo got involved with the Feinstein Junior Scholar program last year, zoo officials were told the free passes would be distributed to a small number of students who met strict criteria. Ms. Brewer said it turned out the cards were given to every student in the schools.
To make matters worse, she said, “The people that got them photocopied them.”
The value of each adult-child admission to the zoo is $35.
Ms. Brewer said the zoo honored the passes last year out of commitment to their guests’ satisfaction, but they did not renew their participation in the program for the 2012 season, which opened in April.
Still, Feinstein Cards had been distributed for the current school year and included Southwick’s Zoo as an attraction, despite its withdrawal from the program.
“The mistake was mine,” Mr. Feinstein said about the zoo’s contract date. “We make our cards for the school year.”
He said he talked to zoo officials and apologized when he saw that the contract was for 2011.
“Our lawyer said it’s a legal issue.”
She said that while nonprofit organizations such as museums or publicly funded zoos can get by with a big loss in admission fees, Southwick’s Zoo, which is private, relies solely on admissions proceeds to provide all of the animal care and maintenance of the zoo.
Ms. Brewer said in a news release, “While we wholeheartedly empathize with the children, it is just not currently feasible for us to honor the cards.”