Record: Hellabrunn Zoo hits two million visitors mark

This calls for a celebration! On Friday, 17 October, Hellabrunn Zoo welcomed its two millionth visitor for 2014. This attendance figure breaks all records in the zoo's 103-year history.

Zoo-Director Rasem Baban accompanied by family Tendahl from Stadtlohn (North Rhine-Westphalia)

The family that helped Hellabrunn Zoo hit the two million mark arrived around noon on a rainy day. Visiting from Stadtlohn in North Rhine-Westphalia, the family had travelled to Munich to spend the last days of the NRW autumn holiday with relatives living in the Bavarian capital. Bernhard and Angelika Tendahl were completely taken by surprised by this unexpected turn of their visit: "Actually, we were planning to go to the German Museum today," they said, "but the kids were dying to go to the zoo and kept nagging us, until we finally gave in." Mardie (11) and Simon (7) were of course delighted with the unexpected success of their persistence and were as happy as a princess and prince with the gifts packs presented to them by zoo director Rasem Baban. The gifts included a large family annual pass offering 365 days of zoo experiences, which it appears will go to a Munich family. "This is a great gift for my brother and his family," beamed Angelika Tendahl.

Naturally, there was also cause for celebration among the staff at Hellabrunn Zoo. "The two-million mark has been broken!" says Rasem Baban, "This is such a special moment. It means that this year we have even beat the previous record set in 2011". That year coincided with the 100th anniversary of the zoo with over 1.8 million visitors arriving at Hellabrunn. In 2012, the attendance figure was 1.6 million, followed by 1.7 million in 2013.

For the first half of 2014, visitor numbers were boosted by the sunny spring and, in particular, the polar bear twins Nela and Nobby. This was followed by a summer of mixed weather that offered little incentive for families to head to an outdoor swimming pool or beer garden, but made Hellabrunn Zoo an attractive option, and ultimately helped to enthuse and inspire many visitors, domestic and international, to learn more about the animals in Hellabrunn.

Since its inception in 1911, the zoo's attendance figures have not always reflected successful times. However, overall, visitor numbers have increased steadily over the years, with over one million visitors being recorded for the first time in 1967. For the next four decades, visitor numbers fluctuated between 1.1 and 1.4 million and then from 2010 increased sharply to reach the current record of two million.

This once again confirms Hellabrunn Zoo's status as the most visited recreational facility in Bavaria. Apart from the polar bears, the zoo's special attractions are the giraffe savannah opened in 2013, the mischievous baby elephant Ludwig, the gorilla girl Nafi and many other young animals living together with their fellow species in Hellabrunn's enclosures. The zoo’s newborn and young captivate the hearts of visitors season after season in almost any weather - just as they did today with Mardie, Simon and their parents from North Rhine-Westphalia.