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More than 1 million people have visited the Detroit Zoo this year

Posted: 5:16 PM, Aug 10, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-10 17:20:56-04

More than one million people have visited the Detroit Zoo this year.

It's a yearly milestone, but it has come earlier than usual.

Scott Carter, the Chief Life Sciences Officer, said, "A day we've been having every year for the past 11 years, that's the day we have a million visitors."

Lines at the Detroit Zoo snake around the park, as more and more folks try to get a closer look at the animals.

One million yearly visitors has become the norm but this year they hit that number a few weeks early.

"This is a record breaker. Last year, we had 1.4 million visitors for the whole year and that was record breaking attendance. We expect to break that this year."

The new Polk Penguin Conservation Center could be the reason people are flocking to the zoo.

"We have views of penguins that you just aren't going to see anywhere else they are very different than what we had in the old penguin area," he explained. "It looks as though you can just walk right into their very icy habitat with them."

And birth announcements attract visitors of any age. Just this week, the zoo welcomed a baby giraffe.

"People love babies in general, but people love babies at the zoo."

And last week, voters overwhelmingly approved a zoo millage, assuring officials that the Detroit Zoo has the community's support.

"It does make us feel, realize again how much this community treasures the zoo."

Usually hot days deter folks from going to the zoo but there are ways to stay cool, especially with indoor exhibits.

With the zoo on track to break an attendance record, this puts some pressure on 2017.

"We are always setting our own standards higher all the time so I don't know what we are going to do next year but next year we will have something. People will be coming back."