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kayman

Birmingham Zoo

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Zoo sees 41% rise in attendance

It seems the Birmingham Zoo has nearly doubled its number of vistors in the past 7 years. The attendance has gone from 335,000 in 2000 to 472,500 in 2006. I am so glad that the Zoo is finally becoming a major attraction, and hopefully it will one day attractive over 1 million visitors annually as other major regional zoos.

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Zoo sees 41% rise in attendance

It seems the Birmingham Zoo has nearly doubled its number of vistors in the past 7 years. The attendance has gone from 335,000 in 2000 to 472,500 in 2006. I am so glad that the Zoo is finally becoming a major attraction, and hopefully it will one day attractive over 1 million visitors annually as other major regional zoos.

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And all of this has been done since the Zoo became a non-profit PRIVATE organization with the city no longer funding it!

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Yeah, it is amazing what private investment can do for things such as this. Too bad the gov't. officials would realize this involving the expansion of the BJCC.

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I really love our zoo and hope they can continue to do some upgrades and expansions. Hopefully these increases in attendance can maybe help them afford these changes.

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I recently heard about some campaign to fund the continued expansion of the zoo on 1 of the local news programs, but I can't remember which. It seems that the increased attendence will only help encourage more of this expansion.

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The Zoo is about to embark upon another major expansion this fall. They now have major plans on board to open a much larger and interactive elephant exhibit. However, they are staying mum on the other major exhibits that are coming. However, they state for a fact they are not trying to compete with other regional zoos like Zoo Atlanta, Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, or Memphis Zoo & Aquarium. Instead they plan on becoming competitive on a "national scale" as the Zoo CEO, Dr. Bill Foster, stated.

I can only imagine what grand scale places the Zoo has in store and with attendance growing at a rapid rate every year for the past 7 years, they are probably planning something really grand scale. I have a feeling that Zoo may break 1 million visitors annually around 2015, if not sooner. :lol:

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The zoo and its employees have done tremendous work over the last several years. I had no idea there were 77-acres available for expansion. That really provides a lot of potential for our zoo. The Birmingham Zoo has always been thought of highly in terms of quality... this expansion provides them the opportunity to not only continue to improve on quality, but also maybe in quantity. I'd love to see some new exhibits and species. I'm with you that the zoo could probably reach 1 million visitors per year within the next decade.

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I wonder how much it would cost to bury or relocate the numerous power lines that criss-cross the zoo.

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The Zoo is about to embark upon another major expansion this fall. They now have major plans on board to open a much larger and interactive elephant exhibit. However, they are staying mum on the other major exhibits that are coming. However, they state for a fact they are not trying to compete with other regional zoos like Zoo Atlanta, Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, or Memphis Zoo & Aquarium. Instead they plan on becoming competitive on a "national scale" as the Zoo CEO, Dr. Bill Foster, stated.

I can only imagine what grand scale places the Zoo has in store and with attendance growing at a rapid rate every year for the past 7 years, they are probably planning something really grand scale. I have a feeling that Zoo may break 1 million visitors annually around 2015, if not sooner. :lol:

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Here's a link: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2007/07/coming..._expansion.html

Though Foster declined to talk about specific exhibits being considered for expansion plans, he said Birmingham won't try to compete exhibit versus exhibit with other regional zoos that have established themselves as destinations. There's no point in trying to out-panda Atlanta, he said.

But Birmingham can find its own niche.

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Has anyone else heard of Alabama Adventures talking about an animal park in the future? What are your ideas on this if you have heard about it? Do you all think that it would hurt the Zoo?

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I think that it is great that Birmingham is expanding and improving their zoo to be a "National Scale" not "Regional Scale" zoo. I think that it is interesting to call Zoo Atlanta and the Memphis Zoo & Aquarium to be "Regional Scale" zoos when they are 2 of the 4 zoos in the country that have Pandas. The other two are the National Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. What zoos would the Zoo CEO consider "National Scale"? Everyone can easily say the San Diego Zoo. After that what? Pittsburgh, San Francisco, any others? I don't know of any older zoos that couldn't do things to improve themselves and that don't have some leftover facilities from days when there was more of an emphasis on showing numbers of animals vs. areas that are comfortable for the animals that they have. For instance, the Philadelphia Zoo let go of their elephants since they do not have the space for a paddock that would be large enough to hold them. Does that make them a "Regional Zoo"? The Memphis Zoo & Aquarium has made over $77 Million in improvements since the 1990's, so it is improving and enlarging as well. I noted that the Birmingham Zoo has ~750 animals representing 250 species. That compares to the Memphis Zoo having over 3500 animals representis 500 species. The Aquarium is a joke, but much of the zoo is very good and it already breaks the 1 million visitor level. Different zoos have different areas that they focus on. Is preservation of endangered species what makes zoo "National"? Is it number animals? Number of species? Is it the amount of area that is devoted to displaying the species of animals? I just don't think that Mr. Foster should have made that type of statement without stating goals or what he is using as a yardstick to determine "National" vs. "Regional".

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I wonder how much it would cost to bury or relocate the numerous power lines that criss-cross the zoo.

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Has anyone else heard of Alabama Adventures talking about an animal park in the future? What are your ideas on this if you have heard about it? Do you all think that it would hurt the Zoo?

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I'm still wondering have they relocated the majority of bodies of the historical cemetary located adjacent to Lane Park.

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BZI, Inc. has recently approved a major addition to the Zoo. The new exhibit will consist of a large are reminscent of the African Savanna with natural habitats for elephants, rhinos, hippos. The new exhibit is projected to be open by the Summer of 2009.

This addition would help boost Birmingham Zoo position amongst other regional zoos like Memphis Zoo and Zoo Atlanta. It will also aid boosting the attendance surpass the 1 million point annually.

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Has there been any public release with details or drawings of this savanna exhibit?

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^^Not to my knowledge. The announce was only made within the BZI board itself. The official announcement probably is at least another 6 months away as it exhibit is still in the initial planning stages.

As this past Sunday, the annual zoo attendance is already at the 355,070 which is up from this time in previous years considering there are still 4 months left in the year. Also realize the annunal attendance for the zoo in 2000 was barely 335,300, so this quite a leap for the zoo.

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It seems the Zoo is seriously working on becoming a national leader for care and conservation of endangered elephant species. This newest addition, "Trails of Africa" would make the Zoo one of only 2 reknowned for elephant conservation and care of endangered species, and the only other one is the National Zoo in DC. This also allow schools like UAB, Samford, and Tuskegee to have their students perform biology and veterterian research, care, and studies and also for some UAB students even market studies.

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The latest figures have been released and the Birmingham Zoo has set another record year in attendance. The 2007 numbers showed that it had 515,028 visitors, 17,000 more visitors, an additional 60% increase to the numbers seen between 2005-2006 year. The Zoo is well on its way to becoming the state's most visited tourist attraction, and also many are looking forward to the groundbreaking of the expansion mentioned last fall.

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Tremendous work by all those associated with the Birmingham Zoo. What a success story it has become. I'm looking forward to the new additions and the zoo's continued growth and success.

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