LINCOLN, Neb. (Press Release) More than 20 million visitors came to Nebraska's attractions in 2016. Each year the Nebraska Tourism Commission collects attendance data from tourism destinations throughout the state including state and national parks, museums, art galleries and more. Once again, state parks and the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium proved to be the most popular places to visit.
“Nebraska is an amazing state to explore and these numbers show that we aren’t the only ones that think so,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director. “More and more people are spending their time and tourism dollars here, and with the sesquicentennial and excitement surrounding the Passport program, it will only grow. This all translates into more jobs and tax revenue for the state's third-largest industry."
Last year, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium had the largest attendance in the state and reached over 2 million visitors for the first time ever. This is a 22 percent increase from the zoo's 2015 attendance count, which was documented at 1,679,324, and comes after the opening of the African Grasslands exhibit last spring.
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area in Ogallala had 1,366,863 visitors and Branched Oak State Recreation Area in Raymond had 1,290,856 visitors. Five destinations total reached over 1 million in attraction attendance in 2016.
The 10 destinations with the largest attendance numbers in 2016:
1.) Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
2.) Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
3.) Branched Oak State Recreation Area
4.) Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
5.) CenturyLink Center Omaha
6.) Wagon Train State Recreation Area
7.) Ponca State Park
8.) Fremont State Recreation Area
9.) Platte River State Park
10.) Pawnee State Recreation Area