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(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) An Amur Tiger takes a break from his lunch Thursday January 9 at Hogle Zoo. The Amur also called a Snow Tiger is found in the Russian Far East and is well adapted to life in extreme cold. Most people don't consider a trip to the zoo in the middle of winter but it has its advantages. With practically no crowds it's a quiter, more personal experience. Many of the animals that are acclimated to cold weather are active and more relaxed. Some even seem to like to watch people.
In 2013, Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo attendance topped 1 million

Despite summer heat, the facility cracked the million mark for the 4th time in 5 years.

First Published Jan 09 2014 09:27 am • Last Updated Jan 09 2014 09:59 pm

Visitation to Utah’s Hogle Zoo exceeded 1 million in 2013 — the fourth time in five years that benchmark figure has been surpassed.

"We were pleased to have such a strong year, coming in between two major exhibit openings," said zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen, noting that 1,051,413 people passed through entry turnstiles last year.

At a glance

Hogle Zoo 2013 attendance stats

Hogle Zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen cites the following 2013 visitation statistics:

School field trips » Zoo gave 48,311 students and chaperones free admission

Service » Volunteers contributed nearly 15,300 hours

Education » Onsite and traveling programs served close to 4,000 students

Sugar rush » Concession stands sold 87,000 ice-cream cones and 17,500 cotton candies

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Zoo attendance rose in 2012 with the opening of Rocky Shores, an Arctic-oriented exhibit featuring bears, sea lions, otters and seals.

Another upswing is anticipated this year with the debut of the African Savanna exhibit and the return of the zoo’s popular miniature train.

"Everyone has been missing the train," which was shut down when savanna exhibit preparation began in the fall of 2012, Hansen said. "It will come back as a bigger, better train with an extended ride that wraps around the savanna."

Hogle Zoo’s three female giraffes and an ostrich will be moved soon to the exhibit, where they will be joined by a male giraffe, three zebra, two young male nyalas and four African lions, two males and two females. Zoo officials eventually hope to breed the lions, Hansen said.

The 2013 attendance figures slightly exceeded projections despite some less-than-favorable weather, she added, recalling the relentless heat of the summer months.

Hansen credited the "Creatures of Habitat" exhibit, featuring zoo animals made of Lego bricks, with pulling in thousands of visitors between April and September, high temperatures or not.

"Then we had such a frigid early December that we saw slower attendance," she added. "But it picked up significantly at the end of December."

In total, about 62,500 visitors took in "ZooLights," animated light displays set up along pathways this winter.

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Hansen cited a few other 2013 visitation statistics:

• The zoo granted free admission to 48,311 students and chaperones on school field trips;

• Volunteers contributed almost 15,300 hours of service

• Onsite and traveling education programs served close to 4,000 students

• Zoo concession stands sold 87,000 ice cream cones and 17,500 cotton candies.


Twitter: @sltribmikeg

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