Planckendael Animal Park, in Mechelen, welcomed 965,000 visitors in 2014 – an increase of 25.5% over the previous year. In a statement released on Thursday, the Antwerp Royal Zoological Society (KMDA), which manages both sites, said that Antwerp Zoo welcomed 900,000 animal lovers through its doors over the past year – an increase of 7.5% compared to 2013.
In November, the Pairi Daiza Zoo had already announced record-breaking attendance figures. “More than 1.8 million visitors have been able to get up close and personal with the animals at Antwerp and Planckendael Zoos!” rejoiced the KMDA. “A record-high number of visitors and membership sales, appealing new projects…it was all a success!” The Antwerp and Planckendael Zoos report over 200,000 membership cards sold over the past year – an increase of 6.5% compared to 2013.
At Planckendael Animal Park, “visitors clearly enjoyed discovering the newly-renovated and expanded Americas area, watching the only pair of tamanoirs in Belgium and looking out over the prairie’s bison and wapiti elks,” said KMDA. The Antwerp Royal Zoological Society also pointed out that the penguin exhibit, which allows visitors to mingle with the birds, was very popular.
At Antwerp Zoo, “the winter garden was home to some beautiful butterflies, so, it has now become a butterfly garden. “In 2015, the city zoo is expecting the arrival of colourful Costa Rican butterflies and the opening of a new aquarium. All in all, 2014 has been an excellent year for animal parks in Belgium.”
At the Pairi Daiza Animal Park, visitor attendance also reached its peak in 2014 with 1.39 million visitors, as reported the park management board last November. The arrival of pandas Hao Hao and Xing Hui at the zoo, located in Hainaut Province, has obviously been a key factor in this record number of visitors.