Sunday, August 27, 2006

Attendance Down Even at Iowa's Gem

In "Rain Forest Attendance: Trends Are Down," August 15, I reported that the attendance numbers at attractions are down all across America. ("USA Today reports that museums are having a tough time. Judy Keen, "Museums Pinched by Higher Costs, Fewer Visitors," USA Today, August 10, 2006 (updated August 11, 2006).

The numbers don't bode well for rain forest exec David Oman's predictions of upwards of one million visitors a year at his rain forest.

Even Iowa's best run, top edutainment attraction, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aqarium, is reporting declines:

"A 5.3 percent decline in attendance contributed to full-time employee layoffs at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. . . . The facility at the Port of Dubuque drew about 230,000 visitors for the year ending June 30 after drawing more than 242,000 the previous year." Erik Hogstrom, "River museum attendance lags; Officials plan to lay off a few full-time employees after previously cutting some part-time jobs," Dubuque Telegraph Herald, August 24, 2006.

Is this, perhaps, a part of the reason for David Oman's break with the past, and decision to go after taxpayers' money for his rain forest's operations as well as its construction? See the preceeding entry, "Oman: Taxpayers to Pay for Earthpark's Operation," August 27.

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