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Visitors Prepared For Zoo Mayhem Get Spring Break Surprise

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – It’s become a traditional Spring Break sight — throngs of people and lines of traffic at the Fort Worth Zoo.

In addition to being Spring Break, today was also half-price Wednesday at the zoo. The mid-week special during Spring Break is usually an extremely busy day.

This year the visitors, who had prepared for the mayhem, received some surprises. “We parked half a mile away,” said Yvette Rosario, who expected crowded parking lots. “But there was parking inside!”

Another zoo visitor, Antwaine Burbage, found only light traffic outside the park.  “I was planning on being backed up, traffic being backed up all the way to University [Drive]. The officers have everything directed.  Everything is flowing well.”

Parking near the Fort Worth Zoo? Traffic flowing easily into the parking lots and not backing up onto University or Interstate-30? None of it sounds like the normal crowded mayhem of Spring Break Wednesday at the zoo.

“It seems to have been a little bit of a fluke,” said Fort Worth Zoo spokesperson Alexis Wilson. “Wednesday during Spring Break has traditionally been our busiest day, not only of the week but of the year.”

In fact, last year’s half-price Wednesday set an attendance record of more than 26,000 people.  This year, only about 15,000 showed up.

It seems half-price doesn’t affect people’s plans as much as much as weather forecasts do.

“People make plans based as much on weather forecasts as they do on what they see when they look out the window in the morning,” said Wilson.  “So with the forecast of mid 50’s and a whole lot of wind, people are choosing to come some other day.”

“I thought it was going to be more crowded today,” Rasario said. “My friends said yesterday was worse than today.  It was like shoulder-to-shoulder.”

Rasario’s friends were correct. The animals did have more visitors Tuesday than on Wednesday.  For the first time the zoo saw 20,000 people visit on a Tuesday — far more than normal.

“People must have watched the news, seen it was going to be a little cooler today and we doubled attendance yesterday from normal,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the zoo expects the overall nine-day spring break attendance to be around 117,000 people, which is about normal for the park.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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