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Whitaker Center breaks attendance record over Thanksgiving weekend

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Ted Black became president and CEO of Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in early March. He is seen here surrounded by two life-sized animatronic dinosaurs featured in the center's summer exhibit Dinosaur Discovery.
Ted Black became president and CEO of Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in early March. He is seen here surrounded by two life-sized animatronic dinosaurs featured in the center's summer exhibit Dinosaur Discovery. - (Photo / )

The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts posted its best Thanksgiving weekend ever for attendance, officials said Wednesday, a sign of what could be a strong holiday season for the Harrisburg-based entertainment venue.

Officials said more than 1,800 people flocked to the Whitaker Center between Friday and Sunday, a 68 percent increase over last year and the biggest crowd in the complex's 17-year history.

The previous record was in 2010 when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" opened in the cinema. That drew 1,690 people over three days in the cinema and science center.

The record crowd this year came for a new hands-on exhibit, Whitaker Wonderland, as well as holiday films such as "The Polar Express" and "A Christmas Carol 3D." Whitaker Wonderland includes a sock skate rink, snowball pit and cranky cars.

Also new this year is the festively decorated AMP Lobby, which is open to the public to enjoy holiday trees, a gingerbread village and electric trains.

Ted Black, the center's president and CEO, said his team is excited for December, which will include the debut of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." The latest installment of the "Star Wars" saga opens Dec. 15.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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