Special to 1808Delaware

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s operations and visitor spending boosted the Central Ohio economy by more than $450 million in 2022. Conducted by Regionomics LLC, the economic study unveils a compelling narrative of economic growth propelled by the Zoo’s operations and visitor activities.

Regional earnings experienced a boost of $128 million. At the same time, more than 5,100 jobs were sustained as a direct result of the Zoo’s multifaceted activities and influence. These efforts reverberate across the region and the state, contributing to the vitality of cities, counties, and communities. In a significant financial contribution, the Zoo’s activities generated over $11 million in sales, lodging, and income tax revenue.

Tom Schmid, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, highlighted, “Our primary mission is solidly focused on wildlife conservation, research and education, however with a workforce exceeding a thousand employees and welcoming 2 million annual visitors, we recognize the profound economic impact this institution wields throughout our region and the entire state of Ohio.”

Below are some highlights of the Zoo’s 2022 economic impact findings: 

  • Of the Columbus Zoo’s 2 million guests,
    • Franklin County residents constituted approximately 43.5 percent, making up nearly 880,730 visits.
    • Visitors from outside Ohio accounted for 16.7 percent.
    • Notably, the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)* represented a significant portion of guests, with 68.9 percent hailing from this area. 
  • Zoo operations generated nearly $7.2 million in tax revenue for local municipalities, school districts, COTA, and other public entities.
  • The Zoo’s operations generated $6 million in state tax revenue, and more than 2,700 jobs were sustained across Ohio.

“This report demonstrates how our zoo has become far more than a cultural capital of the Columbus Region, but a powerful economic driver as well,” said Kenny McDonald, President and CEO of The Columbus Partnership. “Their relentless efforts to innovate, balanced with their determination to boost wildlife conservation, continues to make the Columbus Zoo a national leader, and we’re proud of all they continue to do for the people of central Ohio.”  

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium isn’t simply a place for animal encounters; it stands as a dynamic force, enriching the community and beyond with economic vibrancy. The Zoo’s mission of Empowering People. Saving Wildlife. transcends beyond species and contributes to the fabric of Central Ohio and the Buckeye State’s vitality.

*Columbus MSA includes: Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, and Union counties.

Image by Adi Laksono from Pixabay


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