Houston Zoo has record-setting year

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HOUSTON- They’re not monkeying around at the Houston Zoo. They’re setting records, and doing somersaults because, their attendance has increased for the 8th straight year.

Last year, a record setting 2.46 million people visited the Zoo- that’s 80,000 more than the previous year. “This new attendance record also sets us in a really elite status as the number two most attended zoo with a paid admission” says the Zoo's Jackie Wallace.

The renowned San Diego Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. with more visitors than the Houston Zoo.

On the heels of this record setting year, CEO and Zoo Director Deborah Cannon and Rick Barongi have turned the reins over to Lee Ehmke.

Ehmke is a landscape designer and a world renowned exhibit designer who excels at turning exhibits into naturalistic habitats that benefit the animals and the zoo visitors. “He spent 10 years in Minnesota and before that he was a landscape architect and an exhibit designer at the Bronx Zoo in New York” says Wallace.

No doubt the new boss is pleased with the wave of growth at the Houston Zoo’s Kipp Aquarium. After 10 months of construction the new and improved aquarium is home to more than 2,000 fish and 251 different species. George Brandy, Curator for the Kipp Aquarium gives us the 4-1-1 on the new display. “The main exhibit in the aquarium is 10,000 gallons of water, it’s 32 feet long and it’s 9 feet high. It’s the largest salt water exhibit that we’ve ever had at the Houston Zoo.”

If you’ve ever left plastic on a beach you need to visit “Washed Ashore” at the Zoo’s Brown Education Center. The entire exhibit is made out of trash collected from beaches, and highlights the sea creatures most affected by plastic pollution. It'll make you want to recycle more.