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Animal Baby Boom Helps Bring Record 915,000 Visitors To Dallas Zoo In Past Year

More than 915,000 people visited the Dallas Zoo in the past year, an all-time attendance record for the fourth consecutive year.

During the zoo’s 125th year, visitor totals exceeded last year’s attendance by 46,166, or more than 5 percent. Attendance is based on the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

Zoo officials credit the increase to several factors, including a recent baby boom.

The births include a rare ocelot kitten, two new male gorillas, as well as cheetah cubs Winspear and Kamau, and their companion Labrador puppy, Amani.

In addition, the zoo was the first in the country to combine elephants and giraffes in the same habitat. Tekin and Kobi are the only koalas in Texas. Safari Nights evening concerts draw more than 1,000 visitors weekly.

The zoo had its busiest July in its history thanks in part to MetroPCS Dollar Day, which on July 18 drew 32,212 visitors, the second-highest ever for that event.

Many observers say the zoo has been on an upward swing since private management took over the zoo in 2009. Since then, zoo attendance has been up by 250,000 visitors.

“It’s deeply gratifying and exciting that the community is rediscovering the Dallas Zoo in greater numbers and, most importantly, walking out proud of the changes we’ve made since privatization,” Michael L. Meadows, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Zoological Society, said in a news release.

Watch Winspear and Kamau in action at the zoo:

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.