December has historically been a sluggish time of year at the Topeka Zoo.
Normal attendance there that month was 3,343 between 2010 and 2019, zoo information clearly show.
But that was right before the zoo previous 12 months commenced providing Zoo Lights, an attraction that features a winter wonderland of Christmas lights displayed in many shades and designs.
Zoo Lights has brightened the zoo’s December attendance noticeably, together with bringing in 69,140 website visitors this year.
This month’s visitors included Derek Hough, formerly of ABC-TV’s “Dancing With the Stars” and NBC-TV’s “Environment of Dance,” who posted a TikTok message showing him at Zoo Lights with his girlfriend, Topeka indigenous and previous DWTS performer Hayley Erbert.
Local community guidance is ‘enormous’
The results of Zoo Lights, which came to a close Sunday, is among good reasons this calendar year has introduced the Topeka Zoo its greatest attendance in 30 a long time.
This year’s attendance as of Tuesday had reached 266,345, reported zoo director Brendan Wiley.
That was the zoo’s highest such determine considering that it set a record attendance of 288,671 in 1991, according to Topeka Capital-Journal archives.
“The guidance we get from our group is enormous,” Wiley claimed. “To have a breakthrough 12 months like this, just one yr after the begin of the pandemic, is incredible.”
Attendance at the zoo experienced fallen steadily soon after its report-setting year of 1991, remaining below 200,000 each yr from 1998 to 2013 and hitting a minimal of 111,602 in 2010, the calendar year Wiley turned zoo director.
But attendance has considering the fact that risen, totaling 202,711 in 2014, 196,208 in 2015, 203,407 in 2016, 199,307 in 2017, 212,609 in 2018, 224,117 in 2019 and in 200,230 in 2020, in accordance to zoo information.
Steins and Vines, Boo at the Zoo
A person vital element aiding the zoo’s soaring attendance is the quite a few activities it hosts, according to a information launch set out this month by Alexandria “Lexi” Granados, the zoo’s digital articles creator.
Individuals contain the annual, Halloween-themed Boo At the Zoo and the zoo’s Steins and Vines events showcasing are living audio and alcoholic beverages, she said.
“This was also the very first calendar year Kay McFarland’s Japanese Backyard garden was in complete bloom,” Granados said.
Potentially most importantly, growing fascination and aid from the neighborhood has been a substantial variable in the zoo’s progress, Granados stated.
“With 2021 coming to a close, the zoo sets its sights on what it hopes to be the largest 12 months however,” she said.
Giraffe and Close friends, Dinosaurs Alive!
The zoo starting next March will open Dinosaurs Alive!
That experience will function 18 full-sized, robotic dinosaurs, which will transfer and make appears just like the dinosaurs that roamed the earth million of many years in the past.
Dinosaurs Alive! will be part of a sequence of dinosaur-themed sights that will be on show in Topeka early upcoming 12 months as portion of a campaign called “Topeka Dino Days.”
Granados said next summer months will also bring the opening of Giraffe and Close friends, a new, 3-acre habitat for animals that will involve the zoo’s beloved giraffes.