Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



A Bureau of Business Research Report From the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, May 1, 2009


Copyright 2009 Thompson


Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is among the largest, and most affordable zoos to visit in North America. The nationally-known Henry Doorly Zoo further makes a significant contribution to the economy of the City of Omaha and the State of Nebraska. The Zoo attracted nearly 1.4 million visitors, and their spending, in 2008 including many visitors from outside of Omaha and outside of the State of Nebraska.

This study estimates the economic impact of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo during 2008. 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 1.39 million visitors during calendar year 2008. Around one-eighth 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.