WORCESTER - A busy EcoTarium is a welcome sight for President Lucy Hale, but it's also not an unfamiliar one.

The museum set its all-time record last year for attendance, attracting more than 178,000 visitors.

"We just had a phenomenal year last year. And it was everything from the programs and the exhibits we had here... and then also being more present in the community and that driving folks through our doors,” said Hale.

The museum smashed their old record, set in 2017, by roughly 8,000 people.

Following the resignation of former president Joe Cox, Hale said they expected a slow 2018  and wanted to come back strong.

"Every time you have a CEO transition...you always have a bit of a drop in attendance because things that have been in progress kind of halt and wait for someone new to come in," Hale said.

Families filled the EcoTarium Wednesday during what is one of their busiest weeks of the year.

The museum is becoming more than just a kid’s destination though.

2019 was the first year for EcoTarium-21. It offers interactive exhibits for adults ages 21 and up.

Hale wants the community to know everyone can learn something new in a visit to the EcoTarium. 

"It's people from 21, all the way up to 90 that are coming to these programs. I think it shows there's a space for science for all ages in our community, and that to us is really important."

The EcoTarium says for 2020, their goal is to host 180,000 visitors. In 2025, the museum will turn 200. Hale says the goal then is 300,000 people.​