Million visitors for Dublin zoo in 2011

Tue, Jan 3, 2012, 00:00

DUBLIN ZOO has finally got to its goal of attracting a million visitors in a single year with just a few hours to spare.

The zoo achieved 1,001,083 visitors in 2011, another record for what has become the State’s most popular visitor attraction.

The millionth visitor was from the Barrett family from the Navan Road in Dublin, who arrived at lunchtime on New Year’s Eve.

The zoo had targeted a million visitors with a December Facebook campaign, which had a €2.50 promotion offer.

In 2010 the zoo attracted 963,053 visitors, itself a record.

Zoo director Leo Oosterweghel said the manner in which Dublin zoo had consistently bucked the recession amounted to a “small miracle”, given that zoos across Europe were experiencing an average 15 per cent drop in visitor numbers because of the economic climate.

Visitor numbers last year were boosted by the opening of the gorilla rainforest in September and 42 new arrivals in the last 12 months, including two baby gorillas, a hippo and giraffe calf and two red-panda cubs.