AN EXHIBITION featuring 13 animatronic dinosaurs has led to a huge surge in visitor numbers at Chester Zoo.
The zoo has welcomed its one millionth visitor this year, having seen attendance rocket since the opening of its Dinosaurs at Large! exhibition in July.
The milestone was reached almost four weeks earlier than last year at the zoo, which was already the most visited attraction of those that charge for admission in the UK in 2010.
The millionth visitor was Dawn Islip, from Holywell. Along with her family, she was given free entry and a VIP tour of the Dinosaurs at Large! exhibition by the zoo’s resident dinosaur keeper, Lauren Lochrie.
Ms Islip said the news she was a milestone visitor was a ‘complete surprise’ to her.
Managing director Barbara Smith said: “I am absolutely delighted that Chester Zoo has already welcomed its millionth visitor this year.
“Last year, it was late-September before we reached that mark – so this year’s fantastic figures are testimony to the zoo’s success as a tourist attraction.
“Chester Zoo, like all forward-thinking organisations, is always evolving and offering new, bigger and better experiences for visitors.
“We work hard to make each visit different to the last and as ever there has been a tremendous amount for people to see and do at the zoo this year, including the opening of the Dinosaurs at Large! exhibition – the biggest in the zoo’s history.
“To have already attracted one million visitors is more proof that we are doing things right and we will continue improving the zoo for both animals and visitors.
“Every visit also helps us add to the already huge number of conservation projects we support in the wild, all over the world and in the UK.”