The Denver Zoo lured nearly 2 million visitors last year. Were you one?

The Denver Zoo was just shy of a new attendance record last year.

staff photo
Billy the elephant at the Denver Zoo. (Courtesy of the Denver Zoo)

Billy the elephant at the Denver Zoo. (Courtesy of the Denver Zoo)

The Denver Zoo was just shy of a new service and attendance record last year, with nearly 2 million people stopping by to see lions, tigers, bears and other inhabitants.

The zoo is listed as one of Denver’s must-see attractions by the city’s tourism arm Visit Denver. A total of 1.99 million guests visited the spot in 2016, and an additional 60,863 people were served through outreach education programs in schools, libraries and community centers throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

Altogether the zoo served 2.05 million people last year — the second-highest number behind 2.06 million in 2012, the zoo announced Monday.

“We are thrilled to have had such a successful year and are grateful for our guests’ ongoing support,” Denver Zoo President and CEO Shannon Block said in a statement. “We strive to inspire all of our audiences to love animals in support of our mission.”

In 2015, about a quarter of the zoo’s funding, or $9.78 million, came from admission sales. Financial numbers for 2016 weren’t immediately available.

The zoo is expecting another strong attendance year in 2017 with the opening of “The Edge” tiger exhibit.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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