BALTIMORE (WJZ) ―After a few rough years financially, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is thriving. 

Jessica Kartalija reports the zoo officials are extending their season.

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So much for taking a little time off this winter. 

“The zoo is not going to be closed in January and February like it has been in the last five years,” said Don Hutchinson.

Hutchinson, the zoo’s president and CEO, says the zoo will stay open Friday through Monday through the winter season.

“The zoo is going to be different.  Polar bears are going to be excited.  Animals like the giraffes and lions will be quiet but it will be a different experience and a new experience if you haven’t been to the zoo in the winter for a while,” Hutchinson said.

“I saw frogs and I rode on the train,” said Isaac Spoto.

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“It’s awesome. It’s great for the kids as long as it stays warm.  He had a blast today; got to see the frogs and it’s a really nice zoo,” said Matt Spoto.

Starting in January, admission will be reduced to half off the regular weekend admission price.  Adults will be $8, children ages two to 11 will be $5.50, seniors are $6.50 and members and children under two are free.

“I think that’s fabulous.  This is the first time we’ve been to the Maryland Zoo and we will definitely come back more and I am glad there is going to be a place where we can get out in the winter,” said Rachel Tarp.

The good news comes after three years of tough financial times for the zoo.

“We are in a different position today than we were just a few years ago,” Hutchinson said.  “Attendance has held steady during this recession; our philanthropy has increased fairly substantially.”

The announcement is also good news for employees who work here, who typically have to take a few months off before being rehired in the spring.

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Zoo officials say during the winter months when things can get snowy and icy, it’s best to call ahead and make sure the zoo is open.