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Oklahoma City attractions escape sting of economy

BY STEVE LACKMEYER Modified: March 19, 2009 at 4:57 am •  Published: March 19, 2009
Good weather and a bad economy are combining into a financial bonanza for area attractions, some of whom are reporting record or near-record business this week.

At the Oklahoma City Zoo, extra sheriff’s deputies were called in to help navigate long lines of cars. With parking scarce at the zoo and adjoining Science Museum Oklahoma, spaces were filling up fast across the street at Remington Park.

In Bricktown, water taxis were carrying passenger counts more typical of a mild-weather Saturday in June.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial, meanwhile, is seeing a much needed rebound after being shut down by flooding in January and stagnant attendance last summer.

Tara Henson, zoo spokeswoman, said the visitor count Monday hit 10,100, and then jumped to 16,000 Tuesday.

With turnstile numbers hitting 15,600 by mid-afternoon Wednesday, Henson said she was expecting another day topping 16,000 visitors.

"If the weather holds out, we’re looking at a record breaker for spring break,” Henson said.

"This year people are looking for things to do that are cost effective and are a reasonable drive from their home.”

Henson said one visitor from Shawnee organized a group of 16 friends to travel to destinations in and around their town and Oklahoma City. The zoo was one of their first stops.

Zoo visitors were coming from across the region, she said, including Wichita Falls, Texas, Tulsa, Elk City and Wichita, Kan.

"I think we’re really showing some strength as a regional attraction,” Henson said.

Staying close to home
Spring break week, meanwhile, is typically the start of the season for water taxi rides along the Bricktown Canal.

"This may be the best spring break we’ve ever had,” general manager Chad Huntington said of the water taxis.

"Even with the economy, people still want to find a way to take a break, spend time with family and do things important for their mental and physical health.”
Nancy Coggins
Oklahoma City National Memorial spokeswoman


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