How Much Does It Cost to Run a Zoo?

Regardless of type, the costs of running a zoo are very high.

The San Diego Zoo spends up to $150 million every year.

Other well-kept zoos probably cost as much, if not more.

Building and Construction

A zoo is very complex. There is more to it than just building homes for animals. For example, there are the edifices all around. In and around the site are various exhibits as well.

When constructing buildings in the complex, numerous issues have to be addressed. The soil must be of good quality so it can handle large structures.

Second, the site itself must be accessible and spacious. Holding exhibits and other shows necessitate this. Not to mention of course, that it must be able to accommodate large crowds.

Protection against the Elements

The costs of running a zoo are increased by the weather factor. When making homes for various animals, extreme forms of weather must be accounted for. Is the area prone to intense heat?

How heavy does the rain fall here? If a hurricane comes, can the structure survive and protect the animals?

All of these things require study and planning. Experts in the field need to assess the efficiency of the building. During construction, its durability will be assessed.

All of these require a lot of money. After a hurricane or heavy rain, the edifices will need to be inspected or checked for damages. These activities cost money too.

Getting the Animals

There are a lot of issues that need to be assessed here. In no small way do they raise the costs of running a zoo?

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First, you have to choose what animals to bring in. Of course, these animals cost money to bring to the zoo.

Once you have decided, you need to conduct research on every single one. Where are they from? What kind of food do they eat?

Does it need a body of water to live in? What type of shelter is required?

Does it need plenty of sunshine or does it require cool weather? Does it prefer shade or the open air?

Safety Precautions

Knowing the behavior and habits of each animal is critical. When determining the costs of running a zoo, this cannot be ignored.

The personnel in charge must know how far the animal can jump, so the right wall can be created. Does it dig the ground, or destroy walls?

At the same time, you need to make sure it’s comfortable. If it’s shy, you should put the animal in an area with plenty of shade.

Put it in places where it most feels at home, whether it is rocky, swampy, etc.


Part of the expenses goes to the people running the place. These include the exhibit designers, animal caretakers, curators, guides, and many more. The food and maintenance also drive up the costs.

The costs of running a zoo are very high. But they are absolutely necessary. Without the right funding, the safety of the animals will not be guaranteed, hence its importance.