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      Riverbanks sets attendance record with more than 1 million visits

      The zoo said Tuesday that it had 1,029,492 visitors in the year that ended June 30. The previous record was 1,020,876 visitors in 2002.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia has set an attendance record with more than 1 million visitors.

      The zoo said Tuesday that it had 1,029,492 visitors in the year that ended June 30. The previous record was 1,020,876 visitors in 2002. Director Satch Krantz says the record is remarkable because the zoo has not added a major attraction in 10 years. The 2002 record was set as the zoo had added three major attractions. The first time the zoo broke the million visitor mark was in 1990 after the opening of the Aquarium-Reptile Complex.

      According to zoo officials, a recent study conducted by the University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management, which was commissioned by the zoo, showed that Riverbanks generates more than $60 million in local business sales and creates more than 700 jobs in the community.

      Riverbanks has added a ropes course, brought in Komodo dragons and bald eagles and had had the births of a koala, two Toco toucans, two giraffes and five Galapagos tortoises. Krantz says the cumulative effect of the additions helped boost attendance.

      The zoo was recently names the 4th best zoo in the United States by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)