Tuesday, November 28, 2023

New Zoo & Aquarium Report from Market & Feasibility Advisors

Dan Martin, Managing Principal, MFA

Chicago-based Market & Feasibility Advisors (MFA) surveyed more than 220 AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) accredited institutions in what will be a twice-yearly study to chronicle strategies for revenue generation and what operators are charging for everything from admissions and membership to rides, animal encounters, and rental space for meetings and events.

The full study is available at this link.

Some of MFA’s observations from the study:

  • Zoos and aquariums should look at their pricing structures and strategies. Some may be leaving money on the table while others leave audiences at the gate.
  • Zoos and aquariums should periodically reconsider and benchmark their membership and admissions pricing strategies using peer and local competitive data.
  • Individual memberships are a comparatively bad buy, requiring on average 4.6 visits to equal the purchase price. Yet single-person households now comprise 27% of all households in the US, are the fastest growing US household type, and are the drivers behind the humane societies in the US.
  • 53 percent of all accredited zoos and aquariums have rides, and in general zoos seem to enjoy financial benefits from having rides.
  • Most zoos now have interactive areas where visitors can touch or feed animals; many have greatly expanded these programs in recent years.
  • A growing number of zoos are offering water play or spray pad features.
  • The number of animatronic dinosaur exhibits appears to be increasing.


Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, CNN.com and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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