Happy 43rd Birthday, Skyfari!

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Skyfari Aerial Tram

On this day in 1969, the San Diego Zoo’s Skyfari aerial tram was inaugurated. It has since become an iconic fixture, loved for the bird’s-eye view of the Zoo, Balboa Park, and downtown San Diego that it offers guests. To celebrate our beloved Skyfari’s 43rd birthday, we thought we’d share some interesting stats to give you more of an appreciation of the ride that has become so deeply associated with our Zoo. Enjoy!

  • 64,074,196 all-time riders at the end of 2011 (that’s more than 20 times the population of San Diego!)
  • 2.1 million riders have ridden the Skyfari in each of the last 3 years
  • Skyfari operated 3336.5 hours last year
  • 981,026 times our dispatchers released a car out of each station last year
  • Ross Wilson, the great-grandfather of our Associate Editor Debbie Andreen, was Skyfari’s first paying customer
  • There are 424 wheels on the Skyfari, including the stations, towers, and gondolas
  • The cable is just over 1 inch thick and 3,600 feet long with a 125-foot splice
  • The cable travels at a speed of 500 feet per minute
  • Skyfari ridership averages 60% of the Zoo’s attendance

Enjoy our gallery of cool Skyfari photos we found on Flickr.

Matt Steele is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read his previous post, Albert’s Winter Brewmaster Dinner w/Sierra Nevada