Belfast Telegraph

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Zoo toasts record visitor numbers

Belfast Zoo marked its 75th anniversary year by attracting more visitors than ever before, it has been revealed.

More than 300,000 stopped by to see the animals in 2009 - the highest figure since it first opened on Cave Hill in 1934.

The zoo has seen its popularity rocket in the last five years, with nearly 100,000 more visitors going through the gates now compared to 2005.

Zoo manager Mark Challis said he was delighted with such a successful year.

"Over 302,000 visitors is a massive achievement for the zoo. In 2009 we celebrated our 75th birthday, found the family of the elephant angel who looked after our baby elephant during the Second World War, opened a new visitors' centre, and were voted Ultimate Ulster's number one family day out. Thank you to the public for their continued support."

Out-of-state visitors increased with 12% of zoo visitors coming from outside Northern Ireland. This included 6% from the Republic of Ireland.

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