For the second consecutive year, the staff and volunteers at the Idaho Falls Zoo are excited to announce a record-breaking season.
The 2016-17 total fiscal year (Oct. 2016-Sept. 2017) attendance was 158,534, beating the 2015-16 total fiscal year attendance of 132,615 by 25,919 visitors.
The numbers include records broken during the Boo at the Zoo event as well as record attendance in May, June, July and August 2017.
Why the phenomenal increase in visitors this year? “All the new babies definitely were a big draw,” states Zoo Director David Pennock, “With more babies born at the zoo in a single year than ever before, particularly high-profile babies like lions and sloth bears, they really stole the show.”
In conjunction with the draw of new babies, the zoo launched an aggressive marketing campaign. Staff amped-up the Facebook page, introduced a zoo Instagram page and YouTube Channel, and communicated regularly with the public and local media partners.
Zoo staff and volunteers also enhanced their engagement with guests while at the zoo. During this season, staff and volunteers interacted with over 30 percent of zoo guests through informational stations (known as Exploration Stations) and daily presentations by zookeepers. This percentage is up from 10 percent in 2016.
While zoo staff saw and unprecedented numbers of new births, it was also the dramatic stories that really added to the excitement and impact that accompanied the young wild ones’ introductions to life.
The season started with a Great Pyrenees named Justice helping raise a lion cub. From there, zoo staff and volunteers embarked on a months-long effort to successfully hand-raise a baby Mueller’s Grey Gibbon named Sid. Last but definitely not least, an uncommon occurrence of multiple lion litters born in a single year.
The energy and the challenges of dealing with so many unprecedented firsts at the zoo made the 2017 season very exciting.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of all the zoo staff and volunteers who helped this season,” says Operations Manager Linda Beard. “Each week it seemed we were met with a new birth that posed a unique set of circumstances never before encountered at the zoo in my 25 years of experience. The team repeatedly stepped up to the challenge and turned it into an incredible success story.”
Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.