Hellabrunn Zoo welcomes its millionth visitor in 2014 - early than ever

from left to right: Beatrix Köhler (interim zoo director), Brigitte Auer, Celina Krohs and Manfred Oberauer

At 9:40am on Thursday 12 June, Brigitte Auer became the millionth visitor to enter Hellabrunn Zoo in 2014. Accompanied by her partner Manfred Oberauer and their 10-year-old daughter Celina, the totally unaware day tripper from Berchtesgadener Land had quite a start when greeted by zoo director Beatrix Köhler with a colourful bouquet of flowers and a small press team cheering. The family were also presented with a Big Family Annual Pass, which allows them to visit Hellabrunn Zoo as often as they like for the next 365 days, free of charge. It was the first time Brigitte had been to the zoo in Munich since her childhood.

"Today we welcomed our millionth visitor - one and a half months earlier than in 2013 - earlier than ever before. The many sunny days and, of course, the polar bear twins led to an influx of visitors in the first half of the year," says interim zoo director Beatrix Koehler.

In 2013, the zoo recorded attendance growth again with 1,717,473 visitors over the previous year's result for 2012 (1,621,648 visitors) and ended the year with the second highest figure in the zoo's 102-year-old history. Only the centenary year in 2011 was higher, by approximately 6 per cent. This makes Hellabrunn Zoo the most visited leisure attraction in Bavaria. The zoo’s team hope for a good second half so that the two-million mark is reached in 2014. 

Somewhat speechless, Brigitte Auer left it to her partner to find a few words to reply. "This is a total surprise, because at first we had no idea what was happening around us," he beamed in an unmistakable Chiemgau dialect. "We’ve been wanting to go to Hellabrunn for a long time now to look at the animals that are not at Salzburg Zoo, where we usually go." At the top of Celina's to-do list is the polar bear twins where the happy family headed after receiving the unexpected honour.