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Summer was the zoo's busiest season, with more than 428,000 visitors passing through the gates in July and August.


TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - The popular Zoolights exhibit attracted more than 175,000 people as the Oregon Zoo saw its annual attendance hit more than 1.6 million visits in 2016.The Oregon Zoo was a popular place last year, attracting 1.6 million visitors, the third highest number since 2010.

Zoo officials said the attraction had 1,619,143 visits in 2016, the fourth time in its 128-year history that attendance topped 1.6 million. The record of 1.645 million was set six years ago.

"Our mission is inspiring people to make a difference for wildlife, and 1.6 million visits adds up to a lot of teachable moments," said Don Moore, who joined the zoo as director in February. "Each person who steps through the front gates represents an opportunity for us to make positive change together."

Summer was the zoo's busiest season, with more than 428,000 visitors passing through the gates in July and August. Spring, too, was big: The zoo shattered a decade-old attendance record for the month of April, with more than 160,000 visitors.

More than 175,000 people attended the annual ZooLights event between Nov. 23 and Dec. 31, even though the exhibit was closed for four days because of snow and ice.

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