More than 1,477,000 people visited the zoo in 2006, the most in its 120-year history. The previous record, set in 2004, was 1,351,000.
Officials say the ZooLights display helped push the numbers over the top. About 130,000 people came during the holidays, 45,000 more than the previous year.
“Each year, more and more people make ZooLights one of their holiday traditions,” zoo director Tony Vecchio said. “We’re always trying to make new and innovative additions to draw in first-time visitors, and bring back our loyal supporters.”
Some new animals, including the cougars and an ocelot kitten, were also big attractions.
“We have big plans for 2007,” Vecchio said. “Our Black Bear Ridge exhibit, featuring black bears and bobcats, opens this March. It’s the final, $2 million piece for our stunning $36 million Great Northwest exhibit. In May, we’ll bring Portland another charismatic pig, when babirusas join our Island Pigs of Asia exhibit. Our visitors will have a lot to see in the coming year.”