Cameron Park Zoo announced Tuesday it had another record breaking number of visitors this past fiscal year.
From October 2015 until September 2016, 289,610 people visited the zoo. In the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the zoo had 256,750 visitors and 60 percent of them were traveling from outside of McLennan County.
"I think some of it - it's our marketing effort. Some of it goes to the good weather we had this past year and there are more people in town. More people are here to see Magnolia and be at the Silos,” Zoo Director Jim Fleshman said.
He said the record attendance is also due to the attractions offered at the zoo.
"We are very kid-friendly, plus it's different than going to a zoo. This is more like going to a park and inside the park, there happens to be other things to see,” Fleshman said.
He said having high attendance is also beneficial for the community since a big portion of the admissions revenue goes back to the City of Waco’s general fund. Visitors from outside of the county generate up to $14 million per year into the local economy.
Belton resident Melanie Stephens visits the zoo several times a year with her family.
"This is a nice zoo. It has a lot for kids,” Stephens said.
Ann Gage and her two children from Woodway also go to the zoo often.
"It's really pretty weather and it is good exercise and we haven't been here in a couple of months,” Gage said.
The Zoo director said the numbers for the fiscal year, which started in October, are already higher than compared to previous years. He attributes that success to the orangutan baby shower of Mei and KJ that was highly publicized. The baby is expected to be born next month.
In addition, Fleshman said the giraffe feeding station will be a big draw to visitors.
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