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Virginia Zoo records record attendance in '11

Friday - 1/20/2012, 9:07am  ET

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - More than a half-million visitors came to the Virginia Zoo last year, a record for the Norfolk attraction.

Total attendance topped out at 505,641 in 2011, a 23 percent increase from the previous year.

The zoo's executive director, Greg Bockheim, said the zoo saw a 5.5-acre expansion last April, adding nearly 30 new animals. They include Malayan tigers, orangutans, and Asian small-clawed otters.

This year, Bockheim said the zoo's goals include fundraising for a new veterinary hospital and an animal "wellness" campus. He said they also plan to bring in some new animals.

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