Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



Copyright 2013 Eric Thompson


The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is a key cultural and recreation attraction serving the Lincoln, Nebraska area. The Zoo also brings and retains visitors and visitor spending in the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County. The Zoo attracted 183,000 visitors during 2012, including many from outside of Lancaster County. Just as importantly, the Zoo retained the recreation spending of many Lincoln families within the city.

This study estimates the annual economic impact of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo on Lancaster County during 2012. The annual economic income flows from three components 1) operations of the Zoo; 2) construction and other capital expenditures of the Zoo, and 3) off-site spending of visitors attracted to or retained in Lancaster County by the Zoo. Table ES.1 provides a summary of the annual economic impact of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo on Lancaster County. The overall economic impact in 2012 was $6.31 million. This impact included $2.32 million in labor income paid to workers in 73 full-year equivalent jobs, some of which were at the Zoo but others at businesses throughout the community. There also was $94,000 tax revenue impact in local sales, use, and lodging taxes, including $22,000 in local taxes paid directly by the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. The Lincoln Children’s Zoo also benefits the economy by making a significant contribution to quality of life in Lancaster County.