The Columbus Zoo ended a big year in a big way by smashing all attendance records with 2,218,511 guests in 2009. Prior to 2009 the best attendance year for the Zoo was 2008, when attendance jumped to 1,862,433 after the opening of Zoombezi Bay.
In January the USA Travel Guide declared the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium the number one zoo in the country. March brought a big bundle of joy with the birth of Asian elephant “Beco”. In June the Zoo experienced a tragedy with the loss of its leader, Executive Director Jeff Swanagan, but carried on his vision to “touch the heart to teach the mind” with the opening of Animal Encounters Village and the debut of the Animals on Safari show. September brought the birth of three baby lion cubs; the first at the Zoo in 25 years. In November the Zoo kicked off Wildlights and Dale Schmidt was named Executive Director. “Colo”, the first zoo born gorilla and now the oldest gorilla in a zoo, received worldwide recognition when her 53rd birthday was celebrated on December 22nd.
“Achieving an attendance over 2.2 million visitors was an exciting way to end a landmark year. We would like to thank the Central Ohio community for helping us attain the highest annual attendance in the history of the Columbus Zoo” said Dale Schmidt, executive director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
To show appreciation for the support we received in 2009 the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will offer 50% off admission in the months of January and February 2010. Winter months are always a great time to visit. Many of the Zoo’s animals thrive in the cold weather and a variety of indoor habitats are available for Zoo visitors who prefer to brave the cold in small doses.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is open 363 days a year 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. after Labor Day. General admission is $12 for adults, $7 for children ages 2 to 9 and seniors 60+. Children under 2 and Columbus Zoo members are free. The Zoo was named the #1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.) For more information and to purchase advance Zoo admission tickets, visit www.columbuszoo.org.