Cleveland Metroparks Zoo reached a significant milestone in 2012 - 20 consecutive years with more than a million visitors through its gates.
Attendance last year was 1,170,443 guests, despite 2012 being the warmest year on record in Cleveland with 28 days reaching 90 degrees or higher. Attendance in 2011 was 1,318,458.
The Zoo broke two attendance records in 2012 -- highest November attendance total at 55,999 guests and best Thanksgiving Day at 15,249. June 25 saw the year's highest daily attendance at 15,732, while the lowest occurred January 13 with 160 guests.
It's no coincidence the 20-year attendance streak was reached the same year the Zoo celebrated the 20th anniversary of The RainForest exhibit. Attendance has been over the million visitor mark every full year since it opened.
Three new animal species debuted at the Zoo in 2012, including an aye-aye, which is a nocturnal primate, a subspecies of Asiatic wild ass known as the Persian onager and two dingoes. The rhino barn was the source of big animal news when a new calf marked the start of a third generation of rhinos to be born at the Zoo.
The most bittersweet milestone reached in 2012 however, was the announcement that after 24 years as Zoo Director, Steve Taylor would retire at the end of the year. Cleveland Metroparks Executive Director Brian Zimmerman announced in November that the Zoo's Curator of Animals, Dr. Chris Kuhar, would be Taylor's successor -- securing a smooth transition for the Zoo.
Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. From November 1 through March 31, 2013, admission is discounted to $8.25 per person, $5.25 for kids ages 2 to 11 and is free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.
For more information, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.