One of three new lion cubs, born May 12, gives a tug on the tail of mother Lusaka while playing in their enclosure at the Buffalo Zoo Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. The cubs will be unveiled at the Zoo this Saturday, along with their names, one of which is open for voting on the zoo’s website. (Photo by Derek Gee)

The Buffalo Zoo's attendance last year was its highest in nearly 30 years, topping the 2015 attendance by 52,000.

The zoo attracted 538,100 visitors – the most since 545,800 visitors came in 1987.

“2016 was a great year for the zoo,” president and CEO Donna Fernandes said in a statement. "We were very excited to announce our many animal births with the community. I’d like to thank our incredibly dedicated staff and all those zoo visitors for making this a milestone year.”

Among the births were the first African lion cubs born at the zoo in 25 years.

Continued interest in the new Arctic Edge exhibit, better-than-expected weather and revamped marketing initiatives all contributed to the zoo’s overall attendance, officials said.

The zoo's Polar Bear Days winter promotion continues through the end of February with $5 tickets. For more information, visit

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