Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Environmental Services Agency



October 16, 2002


November 5, 2002



Honorable Board of Supervisors


Marcia Raines, Director


Approval of Request from the Coyote Point Museum Association to Increase Admission Fees to the Museum



Adopt a resolution authorizing the Coyote Point Museum Association to increase admission fees for entry to the Coyote Point Museum.



Since 1978, the non-profit Coyote Point Museum Association (Association) has operated the facility on behalf of the County by written agreement. The agreement requires approval from the County for a number of activities, including admission fee increases.


The Association is recommending an increase in admission fees as follows:



Existing Admission Fee

Proposed Admission Fee




Seniors (62+ years of age)



Students (13-17 years of age)



Children (3-12 years of age)



Children (under 3 years of age)



1st Wednesday of Each Month





Founded in 1954, the Museum was initially operated by the San Francisco Junior League and the National Association for Junior Museums. County Parks took over operation of the facility in 1967 and then turned it over to the Association in 1978 following passage of Proposition 13. Initially offered as a free facility, it appears that fees were imposed in July 1988. Section 4(b) of the Agreement between the County and Association states that "No charge for admission to the museum and/or wildlife center shall be made other than that which may be approved by County upon recommendation of the Association."


The Coyote Point Museum has an extensive outreach program. Last year's attendance was 108,983, a 10% increase over the previous year. Admission revenue makes up a small percentage of the Museum's overall operating budget, but is an important part of the overall funding strategy according to the Museum Director. Costs that have increased, since the fees were last adjusted in 2001 with an $1.00 increase for Adults only, include the higher cost of rental exhibits and shipping, insurance costs, workers' compensation and employee benefits as well as the increased cost of maintaining and repairing an aging building.


In addition to the free day each month, the Museum offers a variety of exemptions to groups, individuals and families including:



Reciprocal admission waiver with other institutions that are members of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and the Association of Science-Technology Centers


Scholarships for disadvantaged groups including youth and special needs


Group discounts for qualifying school, senior and special needs groups


Discounted or free admission based on need


Use of Museum meeting rooms provided to County free of charge


The Museum prepared a summary of admission charges (attached) for other similar facilities in the Bay Area. Even with the proposed increase, the Museum's fees are in the lower third of the fees compared.


The operating budget of the Association was discussed and approved by the Museum Board of Trustees on May 22,2002. However, the Board established a special task force to examine all costs and revenues in an effort to achieve fiscal stability in preparation for a capital campaign. Those discussions reaffirmed the need for an admission fee increase. The Executive Committee approved the revised budget on August 14, 2002.


The County's Parks and Recreation Commission considered the Association's request at their regular meeting of October 3, 2002 and recommend the County's approval of the admission fee increase.


Vision Alignment

An increase in the admission fee for the Coyote Point Museum keeps the commitment of preserving and providing people access to our natural environment and goals number 14: important natural resources are preserved and enhanced through environmental stewardship and number 15: residents have nearby access to green space, such as parks and recreational opportunities. The Coyote Point Museum educates children and their families about the importance of environmental stewardship. The Museum is a major attraction in one of the County's most heavily used parks.


Fiscal Impact

There is no fiscal impact on the County.