More people than ever are visiting Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, which shattered its annual attendance record over the Labor Day weekend.
When a Bellevue family walked through the turnstiles Sunday, they helped the Eatonville park break its record by bringing the number of visitors this year to 214,699.
By closing time Monday, the record rose to 217,926.
That handily beat the previous annual record of 214,696 visitors set on Dec. 31, 2015.
“We are gratified that so many people see the value of connecting with nature through the many touch points we offer at Northwest Trek,” deputy director Alan Varsik said. “The remainder of 2016 will be as awesome as the first eight months.”
It’s already been a year of excitement at Northwest Trek, which has been around for 41 years.
It started in April with the opening of a Kids’ Trek nature-inspired play area, which set a one-day attendance record of 3,122 people.
The half-acre, $1.9 million play area has proved popular with a replica tree stump for kids to climb in, slides, a stream and a building area with logs.
Baby animals also had a luring effect with visitors. Spruce the moose arrived in June, following the births of bison, beaver triplets, elk and caribou.
“We believe our setting, the animals for which we care, and our conservation story and record resonate with people across Washington and around the world,” said Gary Geddes, director of zoological and environmental education for Metro Parks Tacoma, which runs Northwest Trek.
Nearly 6.9 million people have visited the park since it opened July 17, 1975.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653