The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park generated more than $875 million in regional economic impact, according to a newly issued report. The study was commissioned by the Zoo and conducted by researchers at the nonprofit San Diego County Taxpayers Association with support

from consulting firm Applied Development Economics. The Zoo supplies more than 7,400 jobs and brings in more than $241 million in direct spending by the parks and visitors and an additional $201 million in regional indirect spending. “The biggest shift is that there’s now a much richer mix of tourists than there might have been a decade ago,” said Ted Molter, Chief Marketing Officer for the San Diego Zoo Global. The San Diego Zoo, which will celebrate its centennial in 2016, has consistently registered about 3.5 million visitors annually during the past several years. The Safari Park greets about 1.5 million yearly visitors.

Visit the Zoo to see the three giant pandas, including Xiao Liwu, born in July 2012 at Panda Canyon. The two main enclosures beckon tourists to view the pandas enjoying the shade of the trees, climbing structures and endless amounts of bamboo to munch on for a mid afternoon snack. Or travel a bit further to the Safari Park, where visitors can experience up to eight different safaris. The fan favorite show at the Safari Park is Shiley’s Cheetah Run, daily at 3:30 pm, weather permitting. Witness the fastest land mammal up close and personal doing what it does best: run! Experience Amara, the Park’s prized cheetah, sprint a straight 330-foot long track from zero to 70 miles per hour in an astonishing four seconds.

Source: San Diego Business Journal. February 17, 2014. Zoo’s Animal Magnetism Draws Visitors, Dollars to S.D. Region.