The Erie Zoo is now closed to visitors, and it won’t re-open until March 1. It’s the 5th year in a row the zoo has closed for 3 months during the winter to save money And with the loss of more than $200,000 in gaming funds from county government next year, money is even tighter. The Erie Zoo estimates the move will mean a savings of between $75,000 and $80,000. Erie Zoo President Scott Mitchell said, “We layoff almost all of our part-time staff in almost every department. People who clean the restrooms, clean the grounds, snow removal. We don’t have to do that in parking areas. And energy savings is a big part of it.” Zoo officials say it’s possible the winter closings could change in the future but only if the zoo’s financial situation dramatically improves.