5 Apr 18: Good Friday for Hamilton Zoo as new attendance record set

Hamilton Zoo set a new single-day admission record on Good Friday, with 2,517 visitors joining the zoo team for its annual Family Fun Day.

The total exceeded the 2017 Family Fun Day visitor numbers of 968 – a whopping 160 per cent – and was a 57 per cent increase on the previous single-day admission record of 1,602 visitors set in late December 2017.

“It was definitely a day to remember, definitely,” says Hamilton Zoo Director Perrin Aish.

“It was ‘all hands on deck’, but I’m very proud of my team – they put in a huge effort to make sure our visitors had a fantastic day.”

Mr Aish says several factors contributed to the success of this year’s Family Fun Day, particularly moving it from Waitangi Day to Good Friday.

“The end of the summer break and the beginning of the school term is a busy time for most, so Waitangi Day was not ideal for this event. A move to Good Friday when the majority of families have time off and are looking for something to do together seemed the best option.”

Mr Aish says in the last six to 12 months the zoo’s team has worked hard to raise the zoo’s profile and remind the community Hamilton has a zoo to be proud of.

“Partnership promotions, such as recent projects with the Chiefs and Chartwell Shopping Centre, have involved staff from across the zoo team and enabled us to take the zoo out to more people and give them a taste of the experiences available,” said Mr Aish.

The same whole-team approach was taken when planning the Family Fun Day, and together the zoo team developed an appealing experience.

“We included the face painting, bouncy castle, music and art activities that you’d expect, but highlighted our special point of difference – our animals,” says Mr Aish.

“With zoo keepers out mixing with the visitors throughout the day, giving rolling talks and free encounters where possible, we could share the animals’ stories and conservation messages while ensuring our visitors left us filled with fantastic, life-long memories.”

More exciting activities and events are coming up at the zoo during the April and July school holiday periods, celebrations during Maori Language Week in September and a special Halloween-themed event in October.

The Family Fun Day was made possible through the support of Tip Top, Resene and Whittaker’s