The Detroit Zoo’s old attendance record has been destroyed.
This past year 1,476,378 people visited the zoo, the highest attendance record in modern history.
The last record of 1,364,905 was set in 1997. It may have been inevitable that record would fall though given this was the ninth consecutive year with more than one million visitors.
Several events and new exhibits attracted people. Wild Lights, a holiday light show, alone brought in more than 144,000 attendees.
The new Cotton Family Wolf Wilderness exhibit, which opened in June, was a hit as was the return of Dinosauria, with 40 animatronic dinosaurs.
“Good weather for most of the year, Wild Lights, wolves, dinosaurs and continued improvements in operations and facilities are all contributing factors,” said Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society executive director and CEO. “We’re grateful to our community for another fantastic year and look forward to providing even more outstanding experiences in 2016.”
Part of what makes the zoo so optimistic about the upcoming year is the April opening of The Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Once completed it will be home to 80 birds of four species – gentoo, macaroni, rockhopper and king – and will be the largest penguin facility in the world. More than likely another big draw for zoo goers.