Mt. Vernon Register-News

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July 17, 2014

Zoo declared a success

MT. VERNON — City Recreation Coordinator Wes Plummer reported the aquatics facility is a success at the halfway mark of the summer season.

“We’re going on six weeks open now, the swimming lessons are packed and we could have more if there was more time,” Plummer said. “We’ve reached 1,000 visitors a day several times on admittance and I’m in the process of running reports and financials now. ... The smallest number we’ve had out there on a bad weather day was 300, but the average at one time is 600 on a day. Last Saturday and Sunday we had 1,000 visitors each day.”

This is the first year the Aquatic Zoo has been open, and Plummer and Parks and Facilities Director George Bryant said the operations are being assessed and notes for next year are being made. Parking has been one issue that is being addressed, as grass and an employee parking lot are being utilized on a regular basis by visitors.

“This is the first year, and we expected big crowds,” Bryant said. “This June has been warmer than usual, and all that factors in for a great year.”

Bryant warned that visitor numbers may not be as high next year.

“We have gangbuster crowds right now,” Bryant said. “But we have to remember this is an outdoor facility. We will be open in the pouring rain as long as there is not lightening, but we are still dependent on the weather.”

In addition, Bryant said there are plans to add to the facility in the future, which will “keep the facility fresh and young with the visitors.”

Visitors are coming from more than 60 miles away to visit the facility, and Plummer reported the Carbondale Park Department brought its day camp kids to the facility last week. There are season pass holders from as far away as Herrin and Nashville as well.

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