Denver Zoo served a record 2,239,114 people in 2017 through zoo visits and outreach education programs, the highest in the zoo’s 121-year history. A total of 2,176,016 guests visited the zoo while 63,098 people participated in the zoo’s outreach education programs in schools, libraries and community centers throughout Colorado and Wyoming, as well as conservation education programs around the world. A total of 382,446 guests were provided access to the zoo with free admission.
Much of last year’s success can be attributed to the zoo opening its new tiger exhibit, The Edge, in March 2017. Located at the southeastern portion of the zoo, The Edge is home to the zoo’s three Amur tigers—Nikolai, Nikita and Thimbu—and offers several unique ways for guests to see the tigers closer than they ever have before. In addition, guests enjoyed the popular Dinos! Live at Denver Zoo traveling exhibit that ran July through October 2017. The exhibit, supported by Your Hometown Toyota Stores, featured 21 life-size dinosaurs, 19 of which were animatronic. Dinos! Live at Denver Zoo gave visitors the opportunity to learn about the extinct beings, while comparing them to the living animals who call the zoo home.
“The 2017 attendance record reinforces the importance of the Denver Zoo in our community,” said Denver Zoo interim president/CEO Denny O’Malley. “We are very pleased that our guests value the Zoo as an enjoyable place to visit with family and friends to learn about animals and the conservation efforts underway throughout the world to save them. We will continue to explore the most effective ways our zoo can support the preservation of wild animals and wild spaces, while enhancing the on-campus guest experiences.”
Crowds also flocked to see the many new births at the zoo. Reticulated giraffe, Dobby, made national headlines when his mother surprised the Zoo with her pregnancy just days before delivery in March 2017. With the aid of zoo staff, Dobby was nursed to health after initially struggling his first few weeks of life. Two male red panda cubs, Lali and Masu, were also popular among fans when they were born in August 2017.
This is the fourth time Denver Zoo has reached more than two million guests. The 2016 attendance number was 2,050,819. In 2015, the attendance number was 2,037,036. Both years were just short of the former record-year (now second-highest attendance) set in 2012, when Toyota Elephant Passage opened, and the zoo served 2,065,410 guests.
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