Chester Zoo has welcomed its one millionth visitor this year, having seen attendance rocket since the opening of its Dinosaurs at Large! exhibition in July. The milestone was reached almost four weeks earlier than last year at the zoo, which was already the most visited attraction of those that charge for admission in the UK in 2010.
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The millionth visitor was Dawn Islip from Holywell in North Wales. Along with her family, she was given free entry and a VIP tour of the Dinosaurs at Large! exhibition by the zoo’s resident dinosaur keeper, Lauren Lochrie.
Ms Islip said the news she was a milestone visitor was a "complete surprise" to her.
Managing Director Barbara Smith said: "I am absolutely delighted that Chester Zoo has already welcomed its millionth visitor this year.
“Last year, it was late-September before we reached that mark – so this year’s fantastic figures are testimony to the zoo’s success as a tourist attraction.
"Chester Zoo, like all forward-thinking organisations, is always evolving and offering new, bigger and better experiences for visitors. We work hard to make each visit different to the last and as ever there has been a tremendous amount for people to see and do at the zoo this year, including the opening of the Dinosaurs at Large! exhibition – the biggest in the zoo’s history.
“To have already attracted one million visitors is more proof that we are doing things right and we will continue improving the zoo for both animals and visitors. Every visit also helps us add to the already huge number of conservation projects we support in the wild, both all over the world and in the UK.”
After a successful summer, the zoo now has its sights set on a number of exciting developments planned for the coming months.
An underwater viewing area is being built at the giant otter enclosure and its Jaguar House is soon to undergo a huge makeover – including an aquarium and some exciting new animal species.
About Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo is a registered conservation charity and supports projects around the world and closer to home in Cheshire. It is the largest zoo in the UK; home to 7000 animals, 400 different species, many of which are endangered. Dinosaurs at Large! opened on July 1 and runs until Oct 8.
Top – From left to right – Chester Zoo dinosaur keeper Lauren Lochrie, Mia Kadar (9); Emma Islip (7); Jayden Kadar (5); Zara Islip (4) and Dawn Islip (one millionth visitor).
Bottom – Emma Islip (7) and Mia Kadar (9) have fun with the water-spitting Dilophosaurus.