With the new 13-acre African Adventure exhibit, Fresno Chaffee Zoo shattered its annual attendance record with more than 800,000 visitors in 2015.
The record-year broke the 2014 record of 703,000 visitors and is nearly double the 417,000 visitors who went through the gates in 2009, said Scott Barton, the zoo’s director.
The 800,000th visitor went through the zoo’s gates on Tuesday, he said.
Barton said the zoo had been on pace to match the 2014 record until October, which is when African Adventure opened.
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“Attendance has been incredible,” he said.
Zoo officials are budgeting for 850,000 visitors in 2016.
“I feel really confident with our budget number,” he said.
While Barton said he does not expect the sudden influx of visitors to continue, he said some visitors are returning for fourth, fifth and sixth visits to the Africa exhibit.
A new warthog exhibit will likely be finished by the end of 2016 in the Africa exhibit, he said.