We have just concluded a year full of challenges as well as professional achievements as Hungary’s first zoo outside the capital and one and only amusement park.
Due to the coronavirus situation, we had to close for a total of 100 days in spring and late autumn, which – in absence of any revenue from ticket sales – made daily operations, including utmost care for their animals, ongoing maintenance works and preparations for reopening, even more difficult. We are therefore immensely grateful to have received, and to continue to receive, so much support from both individuals and companies in these hard times through animal adoptions, Sponsor and Annual Pass purchases, donations and volunteer work.
Throughout 2020, there were a number of significant breeding achievements and acquisitions; once again, healthy offspring were born in Hungary’s only Palawan leopard cat and reticulated giraffe family, in addition to Vietnamese mossy froglets, an African penguin and a Western crowned pigeon hatchling, common eland calves, a meerkat pup, raccoon kits, red-necked wallaby joeys and baby ring-tailed lemurs, among others. Although the pandemic was a major setback for international animal transfers, in the end our Southern cassowary, red pandas and snowy owls all welcomed potential mates after long preparation.
As we have previously reported, our amusement park, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020, had concluded a successful season, retaining last year’s overall attendance despite the temporary closure and even surpassing it in August. With a number of new additions and overhauls in celebration of six decades of funs and thrills, you had a total of 23 rides to choose from in summertime.
Although several events, including the Amusement Park’s 60th birthday on May 1, had to be cancelled due to the temporary closure, Children’s Day, Night at the Zoo and Halloween Party were still a blast, while the five-day-long Galiba Children’s Festival and the anniversary amusement park exhibit in Fórum Debrecen were in every way worthy occasions for celebrating such a major anniversary. There were also new events like the Park’s first ever Rose Festival in June and Wristband Nights in July, with unlimited amusement park adventures amid the magic of summer evenings. With due health and safety measures in place, Zoo Camps also made a return this summer, offering more children than ever a chance to meet wildlife from five continents up close.
2020 saw the launch of Which Fish?, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s (EAZA) new conservation campaign aimed at promoting sustainable consumption of marine products; as a full member and campaign participant, we set up a thematic educational corner and welcomed a total of 15 African cichlid species in our Palm House. In line with environmental efforts and based on visitor feedback and new pandemic circumstances, we also upgraded our online ticket sale service this autumn, now granting a quick and convenient zoo and amusement park entry with no extra fees.
Even under such extraordinary circumstances, this was a successful year at our zoo and amusement park, mainly because we were able to continue to serve as a source of safe, carefree and nature-friendly recreation in these hard times. A wide array of new adventures will await all after we reopen next year.
Debrecen Zoo and Amusement Park