Ill winds drive in­door ac­tiv­i­ties

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

Great weather for ducks over the sum­mer school hol­i­days has also been bril­liant for di­nosaurs and book­worms.

Di­nosaur En­counter at Te Manawa has proved to be the T-Rex of ex­hi­bi­tions.

With less than three weeks left to run, some 39,000 peo­ple have vis­ited the dino ex­trav­a­ganza from the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum in Lon­don, ac­cord­ing to Te Manawa’s Graeme Beale.

Al­most 9000 of those turned up in Jan­uary, usu­ally one of the year’s qui­eter months.

‘‘We’ve had a lot of out-of-town vis­i­tors com­ing for the ex­hi­bi­tion,’’ Beale said.

De­mand for Di­nosaur En­counter mer­chan­dise, also from the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum, had been high.

‘‘It caught us off guard and we had to re­order, and re­print tick­ets.’’

Di­nosaur En­counter boosted the to­tal Jan­uary vis­i­tor count at Te Manawa to 22,838, with nearly 17,000 vis­i­tors check­ing out the non-dino ex­hi­bi­tions in­clud­ing the New Zealand Rugby Mu­seum, Art Gallery, and his­tory gal­leries.

‘‘I think the di­nosaurs played their part, but the weather helped as well. It’s def­i­nitely been a bonus for us.’’

At City Li­brary, Joanne O’Con­nor said her staff had seen an in­crease in pa­tron­age as well.

‘‘We also no­ticed peo­ple stayed longer than usual. There was also a pro­nounced in­crease in the num­ber of books be­ing re­turned... dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod.

‘‘The Sum­mer Read­ing pro­gramme and fam­i­lies pick­ing up the Pass­port to Play helped with the in­crease in num­bers.’’

The city coun­cil’s Jeff Baker said those pass­ports to 10 city parks proved that de­spite the weather, fam­i­lies had made an ef­fort to get out­doors. .

‘‘I’’m ab­so­lutely thrilled with it. The feed­back is that it was a fun event that helped kids get out and about.’’

Pa­tron­age at the Lido how­ever, had dropped .

Pool man­ager Lyn­den Noakes said num­bers were down by 10,000 on last Jan­uary.

‘‘The wind is what puts peo­ple off.’’

Like ev­ery­body else, Noakes hoped for a warmer and more set­tled Fe­bru­ary. A fine Wai­tangi week­end cou­pled with the vis­it­ing stock­car crowd, started the month off swim­mingly.

‘‘I think the di­nosaurs played their part, but the weather helped as well’’

Graeme Beale, Te Manawa

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