Do you enjoy the zoo? You’re one in a million, and each one of the million found something special there.
As of August 6, one million people visited the Detroit Zoo this year. The zoo reached that milestone three weeks earlier than it did last year and is well on its way to topping the annual attendance record of 1,476,378 visitors set in 2015.
This is the 11th consecutive year zoo attendance topped a million.
“We appreciate the million-plus visitors who have supported the Detroit Zoo this year, not only with their feet walking our 125 acres but also with their votes on the millage renewal earlier this month,” says Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan.
Voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties approved the millage renewal for the Detroit Zoo in the recent election. The millage provides about one third of the Detroit Zoo’s operating budget.
The new Polk Penguin Conservation Center was a major attraction and boosted attendance. Since it opened on April 18 more than 735,000 have visited the largest penguin habitat in the world.
The 33,000-square-foot facility features a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area where visitors can watch as more than 80 penguins of four species explore their habitat. An underwater gallery and two acrylic underwater tunnels provide breathtaking views of the birds as they swim above, around and below.
There are many other things to do at the zoo from riding on the Tauber Family Railroad, watching monkeys swing from the trees, riding the carousel to checking out the lions up close and personal. We also need to remember the Detroit Zoo is so much more. It is hub of animal conservation, a generator of sustainable power, a spectacular school room and much more.
The Detroit Zoological Society’s is committed to wildlife conservation, animal welfare, sustainability and education. It has taken in polar bears from a tropical circus and rescued lions from a junkyard and an urban drug house. It also just took in a 29-year-old polar bear that lost her home when the zoo in Indianapolis permanently closed its polar bear exhibit.
It was also the first zoo in the world to no longer have elephants, due to ethical concerns. That inspired other zoos to follow suit.
The zoo has also helped reverse the global amphibian crisis, rescued and rehabilitated imperiled gorilla populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and taken the lead to revive a species on the brink of extinction, the Partial noose, a Tahitian land snail.
It will soon debut the first dry biodigester in Michigan and the first zoo-based system of its kind in the country. The biodigester will convert more than 400 tons of animal crap (manure) into compost and capture the methane byproduct to help power the animal hospital.
The Detroit Zoo is indeed one in a million itself.