King of his wild kingdom

Nashville Zoo President Rick Schwartz balances present and future needs
Mar 13, 2015 5:50 AM

Nashville Zoo sets attendance record

Nashville Zoo officials announced today the exotic animal park set an annual attendance record in 2014 with 834,042 visitors, a 10 percent increase from the number of the previous year.

In 2013, the South Nashville-based facility drew 775,000 attendees. The previous record attendance mark (787,548) was set in 2012.

Today’s announcement, via release, follows a November announcement that Nashville zoo will receive $10 million from Metro Nashville after having matched within five months the dollar figure with privately raised funds.

“2014 saw the return of DinoTrek, the birth of our first red panda and the launch of our Grow Wild capital campaign,” Rick Schwartz (pictured), Nashville Zoo president, said in a release. “The community’s support over the last few years has been tremendous, and we are thrilled to have this momentum going into the new year.”

For 2015, the zoo will introduce Skyglider, a seated zip line attraction that will offer riders sweeping aerial views of the park’s 188 acres.

In addition, construction will continue on a new visitor entrance, a new entrance road and an Andean bear exhibit (read more here).

By the Numbers: Nashville Zoo in 2014

• 178,937: Visitors to DinoTrek, an animatronic dinosaur exhibit, during its four-month run

• 36,800: Households with a Nashville Zoo membership

• 12,363: Visitors during the April 19 Eggstravaganzoo, the second-highest paid attendance day in zoo history

• 4,400: Critically endangered Puerto Rican crested tadpoles sent from Nashville Zoo to Puerto Rico to be introduced into native habitats

• 2,839: Volunteers serving more than 41,200 hours

• 642: Animal births, including one red panda, six kangaroo and two Great Blue Turacos (excludes tadpoles)

• 474: Nashville Crayfish observed for a research project developed and conducted by Nashville Zoo biologists to determine long-term population trends for the federally endangered species

Jan 15, 2015 1:00 PM

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Mar 2, 2014 1:40 PM

Zoo sets attendance mark, announces kangaroo exhibit

Nashville Zoo officials announced today both an attendance record and the spring opening of an exhibit for red kangaroos.

The exotic wildlife park saw 787,548 visitors in 2012, marking a 21 percent increase from the previous year’s mark of 648,034 and the highest year-to-year attendance jump in zoo history.

“2012 was a banner year for our organization,” Rick Schwartz, zoo president, said in a release. “Our membership program grew to 33,000 households representing more than 140,000 individuals. We are grateful for the continued community support for making us the number one paid attraction in Middle Tennessee.”

In 2011, the zoo recorded 28,276 household members representing about 120,000 individuals.

To accommodate the rapid growth, the zoo plans to update infrastructural components this year, including an expanded entrance from Nolensville Pike and additional parking.

Nashville Zoo is also opening Kangaroo Kickabout, a walkthrough exhibit allowing guests to enter the home of several red kangaroos.

“Kangaroo Kickabout is very exciting because it adds another interactive experience for our visitors,” said Schwartz. “We want to thank Jim and Sally Hunt for sponsoring their second exhibit and bringing the Australian Outback to Middle Tennessee.”

Zoo officials believe several factors helped drive attendance, including the addition of DinoTrek, the births of a Masai giraffe and six clouded leopards, and pleasant weather throughout the year.

Jan 4, 2013 12:15 PM

Early spring boosts Zoo numbers

Count the Nashville Zoo as one of the beneficiaries of this year's freakishly warm late-winter weather: Attendance of more than 105,000 set a record for March, up more than 50 percent from the month's previous record. Alson contributing, says President Rick Schwartz, was the mid-month opening of the DinoTrek attraction.

Apr 11, 2012 1:03 PM

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Jul 6, 2011 7:18 AM