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I didn't realize it was that small! :shok:

The article only listed the amount of contiguous exhibition space (and even some of those were wrong). The entire convention center is 142,500 sq ft. But even still, there needs to be more exhibit space.

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Most people aren't.

Here's a really good article about the current state of tourism in Columbia, as well as how outsiders perceive the city, in this week's edition of the Free Times: https://www.postandcourier.com/free-t

The article only listed the amount of contiguous exhibition space (and even some of those were wrong). The entire convention center is 142,500 sq ft. But even still, there needs to be more exhibit space.

Ah, I see. Thanks. I was wondering why/how/who, but that makes a LOT more sense now...

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  • 1 month later...

There is a great article about Riverbanks Zoo in The State. I knew Riverbanks receives high marks, but these numbers are simply astounding. The Riverbanks Zoo gets more annual visitors than many major cities in the South including Atlanta, Jacksonville, and New Orleans. This speaks well to the continual high quality and standards of the Zoo and it's impact on Columbia and South Carolina.

Columbia: 955,542 - Riverbanks Zoo

Atlanta: 711,574 - Zoo Atlanta.

Jacksonville: 687,300 - Jacksonville Zoo.

New Orleans: 683,807 - Audubon Zoo (down from the 850,000 before Hurricane Katrina)

The State

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  • 3 weeks later...

Riverbanks is planning a $40 million upgrade to the zoo. It would include:

• A $3.5 million to $4 million venue especially for children. It would offer a small water park, interactive features and fairy houses.

• A $3.5 million to $4 million rebuilt main entrance designed to get visitors inside faster and reduce congestion, especially during big annual events

• A $10 million renovation of the popular sea lion exhibit, with a glass front for better underwater viewing and stadium seating

• A $15 million Asian park featuring, the zoo hopes, Komodo dragons, orangutans and Tasmanian devils, among other animals

Construction would not begin before 2011, and each new feature would take one year to 1 1/2 years to complete.

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Riverbanks is planning a $40 million upgrade to the zoo. It would include:

• A $3.5 million to $4 million venue especially for children. It would offer a small water park, interactive features and fairy houses.

• A $3.5 million to $4 million rebuilt main entrance designed to get visitors inside faster and reduce congestion, especially during big annual events

• A $10 million renovation of the popular sea lion exhibit, with a glass front for better underwater viewing and stadium seating

• A $15 million Asian park featuring, the zoo hopes, Komodo dragons, orangutans and Tasmanian devils, among other animals

Construction would not begin before 2011, and each new feature would take one year to 1 1/2 years to complete.

That is great news. Those upgrades will be great additions to the zoo. The changes above do not even take into account the new kangaroo exhibit (under construction now) to open in 2010.

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  • 5 months later...

My family and I were a part of that record breaking attendance, crazy time but the weather was great. I am proud of our Zoo for drawing such a crowd but I must say the numbers don't show the entire picture. We used our membership to gain entry. I am sure many others that were there are also members. I also witnessed a few people in line with us that had some free passes. It would be interesting if the zoo broke down those attendance levels. I doubt they would do that since they are using that to their advantage to be able to have the bond issue. I agree that the zoo needs the improvements they have mentioned recently, just not sure the best way the funds should be raised.

There is also quite a different cost and age factor in comparing Carowinds to the zoo, however it is nice to have a destination here in Columbia that can post these impressive numbers.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 2 years later...

In addition to the planetarium/observatory expansion at the state museum, Richland County officials are also strongly considering building the state's largest water park and hope that it will capture a share of the tourist dollars in the Midlands.

 

http://www.thestate.com/2014/08/09/3610794/richland-county-could-best-other.html

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I think this project is best viewed as a regional rather than a statewide draw. Charleston and Myrtle Beach are always going to be easier trips to justify because they are cities built on tourism, whereas Columbia will probably never be in the same category. Using existing water parks to build attendance projections seems like the wrong method since locals will probably still go to the better known venues. The proposed park would likely capture a percentage of Midlands and Upstate residents and entice some locals who otherwise might not go to a water park at all. My concern is the overuse of hospitality funds. With the new ball park and now this water park drawing funds, won't the city have to cut transfers to the State Museum, Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia Museum of Art, etc.?

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