Kansas City Zoo pays off for visitors — and for taxpayers

01/18/2014 6:06 PM

01/18/2014 6:06 PM

The investments by taxpayers and the private sector in expanding the Kansas City Zoo paid off big time in 2013.

Attendance reached a record of 882,194, up almost 60,000 over the previous mark in 2012.

The popular penguin exhibit that opened in October is attracting many fans, while the polar bears remain popular, too.

Zoo director Randy Wisthoff has carried out his pledge to put crowd-pleasing exhibits close to the facility’s entrance.

And a surge in tax revenues, approved by Jackson and Clay counties’ voters in 2011, will help the zoo add even more amenities in the next few years.

Next up: Zoo backers hope to reach 1 million visitors, a goal that’s been talked about for a long time but never seemed realistic — until recently.

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