There has also been an increased emphasis on customer service. Put simply, Scott said, people who have a good experience tend to come back. He said the zoo's staff — from marketing to concessions — have played a large role in the attendance totals.
“If someone waits in a long line for a hamburger, they're not thinking about the cool animals we have here,” Scott said. “Good customer service is just good business.”
ZooFriends also plays a role. That organization has about 26,000 households on its membership rolls. ZooFriends is a nonprofit founded in 1954 to support and promote the zoo. Members receive unlimited admission and discounts on concessions, among other benefits.
Scott said the zoo is budgeting for 925,000 visitors this fiscal year, which began July 1, but there's no guarantee they will hit that number.
“We shouldn't expect to set annual records year after year but I don't think we've hit our ceiling at all,” Scott said.