Area mu­se­ums, zoos tough it out

Vis­its up 7% de­spite crunch

Chicago Sun-Times - - News - BY STE­FANO ES­POS­ITO

Even with a tank­ing econ­omy, Chicago area mu­se­ums and zoos saw a 7 per­cent over­all jump in at­ten­dance from 2008 to 2009, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased Wed­nes­day.

“We are en­cour­aged that, even in th­ese tough eco­nomic times, the at­ten­dance gains demon­strate that fam­i­lies see the in­cred­i­ble value that Chicago’s world-class mu­se­ums and zoos of­fer,” said Gary T. John­son, pres­i­dent of the Chicago His­tory Mu­seum and pres­i­dent of Mu­se­ums In the Park, the or­ga­ni­za­tion that re­leased the data.

In all, 14.8 mil­lion peo­ple vis­ited the 14 Chicago area mu­se­ums and zoos. Part of the in­crease can be at­trib­uted to the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of “free-day” vis­its, which were up 29 per­cent over­all.

Lin­coln Park Zoo, which is free, saw the most vis­i­tors last year, with an es­ti­mated 3 mil­lion, fol­lowed by Brook­field Zoo, with 2.2 mil­lion vis­i­tors. The Shedd Aquar­ium at­tracted 1.9 mil­lion vis­i­tors.

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