Here’s how to get free admission to the SF Zoo in February

Would it kill you to do something positive in your life, for once? What if it meant getting a free day’s pass to a world-class zoo to see majestic grizzly bears and cute, waddling penguins?

Well, now’s your chance. To celebrate Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, the San Francisco Zoo is offering free admission (normally $25 for adults) to anybody who pledges to make an environmentally friendly change in their life.

“Groundhog Day isn’t just about the superstition that a groundhog seeing its shadow will determine how long winter will last,” the zoo crew writes. “It’s also a metaphor that refers to events or actions that recur over and over. Hence, it’s about making changes in your life, often for the better. On Thursday, Feb. 2 – Groundhog Day – we invite you to make a change in your life, however big or small, such as riding a bike instead of driving or avoiding single-use plastic.”

How the storied institution intends to prove or enforce that, who knows. But are you really going to defraud a place that’s trying to do something good for the world? And after you’re done at the zoo, you can walk over to Golden Gate Park and see the bison that zookeepers like to entertain by tossing them Christmas trees.

Note that a parking fee isn’t included in this deal. But you’ll be riding a bike anyway, right? Here are some ways the zoo suggests you can make a change:

Avoid products that use palm oil – palm oil is derived from tropical forests, with deforestation for this product destroying some of the world’s most biodiverse regions, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, home of endangered species, such as orangutans.

Ride a bike rather than drive a car – save the environment by reducing noise and air pollution and conserve roadways.

Stop using single-use plastic – basically one-time usage, like a water bottle, plastic bag and food containers, that contain chemical additives, and plague our waterways and oceans, affecting wild and marine life.

Reduce, reuse and recycle – cut down on what you throw away, compost food items rather than throw in the trash, and recycle paper, plastic and glass.

Eat sustainable seafood – follow the Seafood Watch guidelines to know what fish and other seafood is sustainable, that is, harvested in a way that does not harm the environment.

Animal care staff guide six Magellanic penguin chicks as they waddle their way to their home on Penguin Island as part of an annual, March of the Penguins, at San Francisco Zoo on Saturday, August 8, 2020. (Marianne V. Hale/San Francisco Zoo)