Detroit Zoo posts second-highest attendance with more than 1.5M visitors

Posted at 9:33 AM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 09:33:35-05

The Detroit Zoo posted its second-highest attendance ever in 2017 welcoming more than 1.5 million visiting the zoo in Royal Oak.

According to the zoo, the number was boosted by the 151,202 guests who attended to the zoo's annual Holiday Lights display in November and December.

The 1,560,981 is down from the record of nearly 1.7 million people who came to the zoo in 2016. That came as people from around the globe visited the all-new Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

“A spectacular Wild Lights display and continued improvements in operations and facilities are contributing factors to our robust numbers,” said Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society executive director and CEO. “We are grateful to the community for supporting their zoo and look forward to providing more outstanding experiences in 2018 as we celebrate our 90th year.” 

The zoo is already planning several events for 2018, including the return of Dinosauria in the summer with more than 40 animatronic dinosaurs.

On top of that, there will be three major renovations and expansion projects. Those are the giraffe habitat, Devereux Tiger Forest and Holtzman Wildlife Foundation Red Panda Forest.

Plus, a new habitat for Japanese giant salamanders will be unveiled at the National Amphibian Conservation Center.

The zoo also said construction is under way on an all-new Buddy's Pizza inside the zoo that will seat 155 people - 80 inside and 75 on an outdoor patio and rooftop deck.

Attendance at the Belle Isle Nature Center also increased greatly, welcoming 111,928 guests last year from 95,363 in 2016.