Zoo: Feeding Time Is Over

The San Diego Zoo bans outside food from being eaten by guests in the park

There’s a Bud Light commercial where a guy sneaks beer bottles into the opera in his suit coat pockets. Seinfeld’s Kramer got a latte into a movie theater by cramming it down his pants. And then there are my parents. For a recent visit to the San Diego Zoo, they filled a plastic bag with assorted fruit, bread rolls from the previous night’s dinner and about 10 bags of peanuts from their Southwest flight from Baltimore.

All three examples are now in violation of regulations. The San Diego Zoo now disallows outside food inside its gates. In other words, pay your $35 admission. Then, cough up $11 if you want a burger and a soda. Is that a hyena I hear laughing? Or a zoo concessionaire?

What if Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy was covering this story? He’d send it from the studio out to Brian Fantana (“Panda Watch -- the mood is intense!”), live at the zoo …

Fantana: “Bring food? You’re screwed! The San Diego Zoo arrested a dozen scofflaws today as its new food ban kicks into effect. A nun with a banana, a retiree eating a Luna bar and a Girl Scout troop downing contraband Hershey’s kisses were handcuffed and led into squad cars earlier today....”

In actuality, there appears to be exceptions to the zoo’s new foodless rule. Anyone can bring water. You can bring food if you have special needs, brought a child on formula or are a kid on a class field trip. But if you’re just a civilian mom with an ordinary kid, no food for you.

The rule will be enforced on the honor code. Which seems to open up one more exemption: People who “forgot” they read this article.

Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to NBCSandiego.com who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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