Detroit Zoo attendance has exceeded one million for the sixth consecutive year with 1,217,200 visitors in 2011, up 6 percent from 1,146,241 in 2010.
The zoo’s summer attraction, Dinosauria – featuring more than 30 life-like animatronic dinosaurs – was a factor in the robust numbers. The attraction drew roughly 28 percent of Zoo visitors between May 25 and Sept. 5. Another factor was the home makeover for the lions, which debuted in August with more than double the space and a 17-foot glass wall for a closer encounter with the big cats.
"It’s wonderful to see the community continue to enjoy the zoo, including the new attractions,” said Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director Ron Kagan.
Attendance surpassed the one-million mark in September, and the zoo continued its roll with the introduction of the Carousel. The 36-foot wood-and-brass ride features 33 hand-carved and hand-painted figures – including traditional horses as well as exotic mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, insects, snakes, fish, seahorses and dinosaurs.
The zoo also opened an American Coney Island restaurant, introduced Science On a Sphere – an animated hologram-like globe that displays dynamic representations of the Earth’s atmospheric, oceanic and land activities – and created a new habitat at the Holden Museum of Living Reptiles for its 18-foot reticulated python.
Plans for 2012 include the introduction of a Michigan wetlands and beaver habitat.