Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



A Bureau of Business Research Report From the University of Nebraska—Lincoln May 15, 2008


Copyright 2008 Thompson


The City of Omaha, and the State of Nebraska, benefit from the presence of a leading national zoo in the city. The nationally-known Henry Doorly Zoo makes a significant contribution to the Omaha economy. The Zoo attracted over 1.3 million visitors, and their spending, in 2007 including many visitors from outside of Omaha and outside of the State of Nebraska. The Zoo also makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in Omaha and Nebraska, and by many indicators, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is among the largest, and most affordable zoos to visit in North America.

This study estimates the economic impact of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo during 2007. The Zoo generated an economic impact on the city and state economy by 1) attracting new visitors to Omaha and Nebraska, 2) encouraging existing visitors to spend more, and 3) retaining spending by city and state residents in Nebraska. The economic impact of the Zoo is large in part because a significant share of visitors to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo comes from outside of the Omaha Metropolitan Area. Figure ES.1 shows the origin of the Henry Doorly Zoo’s 1.33 million visitors during calendar year 2007. Around one-sixth of visitors come from other states such as Kansas or South Dakota, or from ―outstate‖ Nebraska and Iowa, that is, counties that are not adjacent to the Omaha Metropolitan Area.