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The Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield saw 226,009 visitors in 2012, an attendance total that ranks second all-time. This marks the 9th straight year the zoo’s attendance numbers surpassed 200,000.
Melinda Arnold, spokesperson for the zoo, says 2012 brought the highest daytime attendance in zoo history. She attributes this high volume of visitors to the record high temperatures in the area, which extended the outdoor zoo season from early spring on into the winter. Arnold says both March and April of last year saw the most amounts of visitors out of any of those months in previous years.
“Because the weather was so pleasant in the spring, and we didn’t have the wet weather that we typically have – we were in the middle of a drought – we actually benefitted because that warm, dry weather meant that we had an earlier start to the primary part of our season,” Arnold said.
Over 240,000 people visited the zoo in 1990 – in part because of an animatronic dinosaur exhibit – and that continues to be the highest attendance total on record.