Lifestyle

El Paso Zoo: Summer heat drops attendance to three-year low

Attendance at El Paso Zoo at...

The summer's heat is having a negative impact on the attendance rate at the El Paso Zoo, and has been for the past three years.

"As we have gotten hotter earlier in the summer our June and July have had the most impact in terms of attendance," Marketing and Customer Relations coordinator Arthur Aguirre said.

Over the past three years trends tend to point south for May, June and July.

May 2014: 49,151 people

May 2015: 51,846 people

May 2016: 43,184 people

May 2017: 41,092 people

During the month of May, there was a minor increase between 2014 to 2015, but for the past two years the attendance had dropped close to 10,000 people. June shows a similar trait. 

June 2014: 33,714

June 2015: 32,962

June 2016: 30,541

June 2017: 24,317

Through the course of three years, June has see a decrease in attendance by nearly 9,000 people.

July shows about a drop in attendance by about 10,000.

July 2014: 41,993

July 2015: 39,571

July 2016: 31,926

August, however, is an outlier. The eighth month out of the year shows a sharp increase in attendance from 2014 to 2016.

August 2014: 21,883

August 2015: 27,246

August 2016: 30,288

Low numbers means less sales, which has a trickle down effect at the zoo. "Every ticket we sell, every hot dog we sell, every hat we sell in our gift store," Aguirre said. "All of that goes back to feeding our animals, giving supplies to our medical staff and giving equipment to our keepers."

Aguirre went on to add that the "big thing" he wanted people to know is that the zoo's operation cost is driven by revenue and attendance.

"One of the things that we did see that would break some of the trends because of the heat are the new attractions bringing people in," Aguirre said. The newest attraction, Wings of the World Bird Show, seems to be a hit. The zoo offers the show three times a day seven days a week, which houses several dozen under a shade pavilion.

Aguirre said the increase in August could be a result of people getting used to the heat. Although numbers tend to tell a different story, Aquirre said the zoo gets most of it's business during the summers. "We look forward to the summer months, because we know the kids are out of school," he said.

In an attempt to beat the heat, Aguirre said the zoo offers event for people to cool down.  There are shaded park benches and table for guest, as well a misters at certain exhibits.

"If our summer isn't exactly what we hoped for it means next year we revamp and look at our fall months," Aguirre said. 

The Zoo looks to make money with by hosting other activities including weddings, quinceneras and corporate events. 

"We are always trying to find ways to bring people to the Zoo," Aguirre said. He is hoping future project slated to begin in the fall will bring more people to the park. The projects include two major additions included in the 2012 Quality of Life Bond, including a carosoul, Asian Gateway and a Chihuahuan Desert exhibit. 

Although attendance may be down for the summer, Aquirre said the El Paso Zoo is remaining optimistic. "The No. 1 priority is the animals," Aguirre said. " If everyone decided tomorrow that no one would come to the zoo we could continue doing what we are doing."

 

 


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