LOUISVILLE ZOO MEDIA RELEASE
May 29, 2012
CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
(Media Cell for press inquiries only: 502-744-5639)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Zoo Achieves Record Attendance
Meets Goals of Glacier Run
As of April 2012, the Louisville Zoo hosted a record 12-month attendance of 948,155 visitors. The largest prior 12-month gain was seen following the opening of the award-winning Gorilla Forest in 2002. Visitors now name Glacier Run as their favorite Louisville Zoo exhibit.
Contributing to the record attendance was the unseasonably warm weather in early 2012 and the April 2011 opening of the town and bear habitat in the arctic-themed Glacier Run exhibit – the largest phase of a multi-year project supported by the Glacier Run Capital Campaign. The Stellar’s Sea Eagle Aviary opening this summer, and the snowy owl exhibit scheduled for completion in 2013, will represent the final phases of the Glacier Run project.
During 2012, two new attractions opened at the Zoo creating additional appeal for guests. These included the new 50 seat 4-D experience and Dinosaurs! a temporary display of animatronic dinosaurs through mid-August. Both attractions are presented by Ford Motor Company.
One of the goals of the Glacier Run project was to increase Zoo attendance by 15%. Attendance increased by 19.5% - from 793,322 to 948,155 - over a 2-year period from April 2010 to April 2012, the period that included the openings of the town, pinniped and bear habitats.
Zoo memberships were predicted to increase by 10%. As of June 2011, the Zoo had achieved a 6.7% increase up from 33,716 to 35,972 households. A conservative estimate has the Zoo achieving 37,208 households, for a total increase of 10.3% by June 30, 2012.
Additional key achievements of this state-of-the art exhibit include the following:
Substantial increase in the variety and frequency of up close and engaging visitor experiences with animals and keepers. Glacier Run provides multiple above-water views, impressive underwater views, amphitheater seating for 300 guests to enjoy training sessions and several training doors that allow safe, close up viewing of bear training along with personal contact with keepers and docents.
The psychological and physical welfare of the animals is a top priority. This new exhibit provides a significant increase in daily animal enrichment activities, state-of-the art aquatic life-support system and utilization of varied and enriching on and off-exhibit habitats allowing animals to rotate through the areas. Rotation provides an increase in both keeper and visitor engagement plus increased resting time and new daily challenges critical for the pinnipeds and bears.
The ability to accommodate and manage an increasing number of geriatric and rescued animals in need of expert care. To date, the Zoo has participated in the rescue of a wild-born grizzly bear family from Montana, Qannik, the wild-born orphaned polar bear cub from Alaska, and a California sea lion. A handful of geriatric animals have also been accommodated.
Creation of a highly immersive destination experience in the town of Glacier Run that provides unique animal experiences plus captivating stories of challenges to arctic animals and habitats, including the effects of climate change on the arctic regions. Visitors can lean how incremental changes in everyday activities can make a difference for our planet and these magnificent animals.
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The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.