Taronga Western Plains Zoo has recorded its “busiest ever Christmas Day” and visitors continue to stream through the gates this summer.
New exhibits and baby animals at Dubbo’s premier tourist attraction are proving popular, it reports.
Day trippers and families from further afield have been among the patrons that are a welcome sight for zoo director Steve Hinks.
“The zoo has had excellent visitation over the summer holiday period so far, especially considering the heat and the difficulties with the drought affecting regional areas,” Mr Hinks said.
“We actually had our busiest ever Christmas Day on record, which shows that visitors are coming to the region and looking for things to do on this day.
“It’s great to see so many people enjoying time at the zoo and seeing all the new baby animals and new exhibits.”
The zoo has been opening at 8.30am so guests can start exploring while the day is cooler, the director says.
It is Mr Hinks’ second summer in the role, and the first since the opening of the $9 million African Lion Pride Lands, the largest investment in an animal exhibit in the zoo’s history.
“The new offerings of Lion Pride Lands, Wild Herds and the abundance of baby animals born over the past year including our Asian elephant calf are proving popular and helping to attract visitors to Dubbo,” he said.
On Sunday Davin Xiao, Tina Fu and children Stella, 5, and Hugo, 16 months, were heading on safari in one of the zoo’s electric carts.
It was the Sydney family’s first visit to Dubbo and they were staying for three nights, Mr Xiao said.
They were also planning outings to the Royal Flying Doctor Service base, Gilgandra and if there was time, Shoyoen Japanese Garden.
Mudgee resident Karine Mecklem was making her first visit to the zoo, and was keen to see the big cats.
“I’m a cat person,” she said.
Locals are reminded they can access the zoo at a discounted rate using Mates Rates or using a Locals Annual Pass to see the zoo with visiting friends and relatives during the holiday period.