We're all going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

 

Dublin Zoo had the busiest year in its 180-year history in 2010 as 963,053 people passed through its gates.

The figure represents a 10 per cent increase in visitor numbers on 2009.

Many were drawn to visit a host of new arrivals as the zoo experienced somewhat of a baby boom. Eight Chilean flamingo chicks, four red-river hoglets, a leopard tortoise, two Sulawesi-crested macaques, a white crowned mangabey, a Rothschild giraffe calf and a southern white rhino calf were all born during the year.

A miniature farm with a cow and her calf, a ewe and four lambs, and pigs, goats, geese and hens also opened during the year, and the penguin habitat was redeveloped

The director of Dublin Zoo, Leo Oosterweghel, said he was delighted with the figures.

“To increase visitor numbers by almost 10 per cent since 2009, particularly in a recession, and to break our all time visitor numbers proves that Dublin Zoo offers a superb visitor experience and provides value for money," he said.

“Dublin Zoo is now amongst the best zoos in the world and one of Ireland's top visitor attractions.”

Plans for this year include starting work on a world-class gorilla rainforest and a bull elephant house.

It remains to be seen whether the baby boom will continue in 2011, but Mr Oosterweghel said he was “hopeful” the zoo would be welcoming new arrivals.