Glen Rose's significant tourist industry got a big break over spring break.
Several tourism-related businesses set new records this year for visitors during the school hiatus, Billy Huckaby, director of the Glen Rose Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the Glen Rose City Council on Monday night.
Both Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Dinosaur World experienced record crowds for spring break.
Fossil Rim reported that 5,623 cars carrying 23,528 people made the scenic drive. That equals 4.18 persons per car.
In addition, 464 cars, or 1,824, went on guided tours.
That brings the total number of visitors, excluding those staying overnight at The Lodge and the Safari Camp, to 6,087 cars and 25,352 people.
“Fossil Rim had to close the gates at times because so many people were trying to get into the park,” Huckaby said.
Solavaca Mountain Biking Ranch also staged an event in March that drew about 500 riders and an estimated 2,000 spectators, Huckaby added. He said he had reserved a booth at the annual Hotter 'n' Hell bike ride in Wichita Falls to market Glen Rose as an adventure tourism destination.
“That will be right before the Paluxy Pedal and we will promote the rivers, lakes and so forth,” Huckaby said.
He also sees the opening of Wheeler Branch Reservoir for fishing on Sept. 1 as a boost to local tourism.
“We always have people looking for a place to fish and until recently the river was the only option,” Huckaby said. “But now Squaw Creek (Reservoir) is open on weekends and Wheeler Branch will be open every day.”
Upcoming events such as the state Master Gardeners Convention later this month and the Dulcimer Festival in May also should attract large numbers of visitors, he added.
“Hopefully, the strong spring break numbers are a good indicator of a strong summer,” Huckaby said. The CVB has been receiving many requests for tourist information packets, he noted.