SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 21: Tony, a Siberian Tiger, walks by new fencing in its renovated big cat grotto at the San Francisco Zoo February 21, 2008 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Zoo reopened its big cat grottos for public viewing almost two months after a man was fatally mauled by a Siberian tiger that escaped from its enclosure on Christmas day. Renovations to the enclosures included an extension of the concrete moat to 16 feet, 4 inches from the bottom, installation of glazing and fencing barrier, and installation of a hot wire electric fence. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
It's been a long, hard climb back to popularity for the San Francisco Zoo following a string of bad publicity.
After surviving the onslaught of national media and lawsuits involving a tiger attack that left one teenager dead and another two severely injured on Christmas day in 2006, the zoo has been doing what it can to clear its name.
After three years of consistent visitor decline, the zoo says it is ahead of pace for the first two months of the new year.
The zoo attracted 46,237 visitors in February despite only expecting 39,000. January beat expectations by more than 10,000 people as well.
The climb comes ahead of the traditional summer rush when the zoo does its best business.