Archive: Detroit Zoo Welcomes More Than 1.5 Million Guests in 2017

Wild Lights contributes to second-highest attendance ever

January 3, 2018

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

The Detroit Zoo saw its second-highest attendance ever in 2017, attracting 1,560,981 visitors. Wild Lights – the Zoo’s annual holiday light display presented by Strategic Staffing Solutions – drew 151,202 guests, boosting the year’s total.

The Zoo achieved its all-time attendance record of 1,698,053 the previous year as visitors flocked from around the globe to see the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, which opened in April 2016.

“A spectacular Wild Lights display and continued improvements in operations and facilities are contributing factors to our robust numbers,” said Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) executive director and CEO. “We are grateful to the community for supporting their zoo and look forward to providing more outstanding experiences in 2018 as we celebrate our 90th year.”

Dinosauria returns to the Detroit Zoo this summer with more than 40 animatronic dinosaurs. Three major renovation and expansion projects – the giraffe habitat, Devereux Tiger Forest and Holtzman Wildlife Foundation Red Panda Forest – will be completed this year, and a new habitat for Japanese giant salamanders will be unveiled at the National Amphibian Conservation Center.

In addition, construction is underway on a 4,434-square-foot Buddy’s Pizza, slated to open in the spring. The restaurant will seat 155 guests – 80 indoors and 75 on an outdoor patio and rooftop deck – and offer a picturesque view of Rackham Fountain.

The Belle Isle Nature Center welcomed 111,928 guests in 2017, up from 95,363 the previous year.