The effort to entice some of those going to Bentleyville to also stop at the adjacent Great Lakes Aquarium has paid off.
Attendance is definitely up on the weekends, thanks to extended hours (open til 8 p.m., tickets sold til 7) and special admission rates after 4 p.m.
"Saturday seems to be the busiest day," says Bill Alworth, the Aquarium’s director of finance. "Last Saturday, after 4 p.m., we had 55 people come in. That was pretty good."
On Friday, they had about 15 people after 4 p.m., on Sunday about 20.
"So that’s worth staying open for," Alworth says.
Usually, December is the Aquarium’s slowest month. But they’re seeing an average of 75 people per day this year, compared to 60 last year at this time, he says.
The extended hours during Bentleyville, however, wasn’t paying off Mondays through Thursdays so they’ve cut back to regular hours (close at 7 p.m.) on those days.
"We weren’t seeing anybody coming in the building, so we modified the hours," Alworth says.
The Aquarium is still making money on parking, however, charging $4 per car after 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and all day Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
"Our parking revenues have been very good," Alworth says.