AKRON – Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Akron Zoo set a new all-time annual attendance record with 389,508 visitors in 2013. The new record shatters the previous one of 332,960 set in 2012. The zoo saw record crowds daily through the gates following the opening of their largest expansion in history, the Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge, which opened July 20, 2013.

The 2013 attendance set many new records for the zoo throughout the year. The record of 2012 was surpassed on Friday, September 27, 2013. On July 24, 2013 the zoo broke its all-time one day attendance record with over 6,300 people. The previous record was 5,714 set in 1957. Nine of the zoo’s top 10 attended days in history were set in 2013.

The Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge is about four acres and features grizzly bears, river otters, red wolves, bald eagles, coyotes and a walk-in aviary.

In addition to the new exhibit, the zoo also celebrated the birth of two endangered penguin chicks and a pygmy slow loris. The zoo also welcomed two new Komodo dragons, a new lion, octopus, tiger and snowy owl in 2013. In November residents of Summit County renewed the zoo’s tax levy by 73% which will run through 2021.

"This year has been such a tremendous year for the zoo and our community. We have enjoyed much success, none of which would have been possible without the support of our community and friends," commented zoo President & CEO L. Patricia Simmons. "It is our hope that they not only enjoyed their time at the zoo this year and made great memories, but that they have taken some knowledge with them and will be our conservation champions to help sustain endangered species and their habitats."

The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Zoo hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is $7 per person. Children under two are free and parking is $2.00. For more information visit www.akronzoo.org or call (330) 375-2550.