We're used to repeat record performances from the Akron-Canton Airport...now the Akron Zoo is getting into the act.
The Zoo hit a record all-time attendance mark last Friday with more than 329,000 visitors, breaking the 328,953 set back in 2008 when a new exhibit featuring jellyfish. The "Jellies: Rhythm in the Blue" exhibit was such a smash the Akron Zoo expanded into it's "Journey to the Reef" exhibit which has also proved a real attendance grabber.
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(Akron Zoo - news release) The Akron Zoo set a new all-time annual attendance record on Friday, November 30, 2012, surpassing the previous annual attendance record of 328,953 people set in 2008. Several factors contributed to the success, but perhaps the biggest factor was the opening of a new exhibit in May, Journey to the Reef.
Through the end of November 329,060 people have come through the zoo gates with still a full month left in the season for the zoo to add to the new record. With the zoo open daily, and events still to come like the Trunk Show on December 6, and Breakfast with Santa events, which are already sold out, the zoo is expected to top the 330,000 mark for the first time in its history.
The last time the zoo set an attendance record was 2008 with the opening of Jellies: Rhythm in the Blue. The temporary jellyfish exhibit was so popular that the zoo kept it open through last year. Because of its popularity, the zoo incorporated some jellyfish species into Journey to the Reef, which also included an octopus, lion fish, eels, clownfish, a sting ray touch tank and more. The exhibit garnered international attention when the zoo held a naming contest for its octopus on June 25, in which the octopus, Cora, seen in photo above, was able to pick her own name by reaching her arms into a container and pulling out the winning entry.
“We are very proud that we have been able to provide a place of enjoyment and education for so many people of our community. We have been listening and working hard to provide the kind of zoo our community wants to see and it is so rewarding to see the community responding to the efforts of our staff and volunteers,” said zoo President & CEO L. Patricia Simmons.
In addition to the opening of Journey to the Reef the zoo also welcomed, for the first time in their history, two endangered snow leopard cubs, which were born in May and have been on exhibit since mid-August. Also born this year at the zoo were two endangered Humboldt penguins.
Construction is well underway for the zoo’s next project, The Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge, which will open in the summer of 2013. Grizzly Ridge will include grizzly bears, red wolves, coyotes, otters, eagles, an aviary and more.