It's a Zoo at the Zoo

It's spring break for most of North Texas, releasing thousands of kids into the wild, and with fewer people going out of town due to the economy, lots of folks are looking for a cheaper place to go closer to home.

Well, "someone said it's all happening at the zoo" and, for sure, it is.

The Fort Worth Zoo set an attendance record Wednesday: 23,000 and counting, as of early Wednesday evening. (Of course, Wednesdays also have half-off ticket prices.)

The horde shattered the old attendance record by more than 5,000 people.

"Normally, when we break a record, it's by a few hundred," zoo spokeswoman Alexis Wilson said. "This is proof that people stayed home for this spring break."

The previous record was set on Good Friday of 2008, with a mere 17,000 people.

"It's a mess -- people bumping into each other, strollers running over toes," Donna Avila said. "It's terrible, but it's nice though."

But not everyone had fun fighting the crowds.

"This is ridiculous," Ashley Martinez said. "If we would've have known it was half-price Wednesday, we would have waited until tomorrow."

There were reports of miles of backed-up traffic, and there were even Texas Department of Transportation signs directing folks to Berry Street in Fort Worth to get to the Fort Worth Zoo instead of using the Interstate-30/University Route.

Zoo patron Christy Gray drove two hours from Breckenridge with her family to Fort Worth. But she said it took her almost as long as that to get to the zoon once they reached Cowtown.

Fort Worth Police issued this advisory:

Due to an extremely large amount of Fort Worth Zoo traffic, I30 both directions is backed up. I30 West bound is backed up to I35. The Zoo has advised their parking lots are full and to seek alternative routes and parking for the zoo. The back up is causing significant amounts of minor traffic accident and is creating a safety hazard. It is requested radio stations broadcast this information as quickly as possible to help eliminate traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, on the Dallas side, DART transportation is being encouraged to keep traffic to manageable levels. The Dallas Zoo is also providing new and improved attractions for the expected large crowds, including a larger Giraffe Yard and a double-feature at the 4-D Theater.

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