Museum forest lives on

The Otago Museum's popular tropical forest will continue next year, the museum trust board has decided.

At a meeting yesterday, the board considered financial and attendance data regarding the forest, and decided it would continue to operate beyond November this year.

The forest is part of the museum's Discovery World science centre and is home to about 1000 brightly-coloured tropical butterflies.

The facility was initially set up in late 2007 to run for a three-year trial period and was recently reviewed.

The board accepted a recommendation to continue to review the forest each year to determine its "ongoing financial viability".

Consideration would also be given to the "intangible benefits" to the museum, Otago and Dunedin, in keeping with the museum's mandate of "bringing the world to Otago", the board decided.

About 80,000 people are expected to attend the paid-entry facility in the financial year ending on June 30.

Museum exhibitions, development and planning director Clare Wilson said that although attendance was no longer at its initial peak, the forest remained popular and was breaking even financially.

Meeting its costs was important because the forest received no ratepayer subsidy, she said.



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