At Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, 2016 is another one for the record books. Attendance, at 144,193 total visitors, topped the previous year’s figure of 138,994 by 3.7%, and set a new 14 year milestone. That continued growth helped strengthen the Aquarium’s lead as Duluth’s number one paid visitor attraction.
Aquarium officials attribute the success to continual growth, change and enhancement, enticing new and returning visitors to its doors. In July of 2016, the Aquarium opened Unsalted Seas, the most ambitious and costly exhibit development in the facility’s history.
The new exhibit expanded the visitor space inside the Aquarium by nearly 3,500 square feet and unveiled the largest sturgeon touch tank in North America. Since its grand opening, the response from visitors has been overwhelmingly positive.
This marks the second year in a row the Aquarium has hit record numbers since its brief closing in 2002.
“We are very pleased to be able to build upon last year’s success, by reaching even more visitors this year. I feel that it’s the public’s positive response to the $2.5 million investment we’ve made in our facility over the past eight years as part of our ongoing commitment to continuously improve our visitor’s experience,” said executive director Jack LaVoy. “I also think it’s a reflection of the growing importance of Duluth’s hospitality industry to our community’s local economy.”