Museums, Zoos and Parks

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 7,200 firms operating museums, zoos and parks in the US earn revenue from contributions, gifts, and grants (public and private sources); admission fees; investment income; and resale of merchandise. Museums preserve and exhibit objects of historical, cultural and/or educational value. Historical sites involve the preservation and exhibition of sites, buildings, forts, or communities that are related to events or persons of historical significance. Zoos exhibit animal life displays. Natural parks are natural areas designated for the enjoyment of the public.

Dependence on Donations

Museums, natural parks, zoos, and related organizations are highly dependent on contributions, gifts, and grants, which account for 35% of revenue.

High Value Exhibits

Many museums, zoos, and historical sites house valuable, sometimes irreplaceable, objects or animals.

Industry size & Structure

The average museum employs 19 workers and generates about $2.6 million annually. The average historical site employs 13 workers and generates about $1.2 million annually. The average zoo employs about 65 workers and generates about $7 million annually. The average natural park employs 13 workers and generates about $1.6 million annually.

    • The museum, natural park, and zoo industry consists of about 7,200 firms that employ about 160,500 workers and generate $17 billion annually.
    • The museum industry is fragmented; the top 50 companies account for about 45% of industry revenue. The historical site, zoo, and natural park industries are more concentrated, with the top 50 companies accounting for 60-66% of industry revenue.
    • Museums account for about 65% of industry revenue and 70% of firms. Zoos and botanical gardens account for 23% of revenue and 9% of firms. Historical sites account for 6% of revenue and 13% of firms. Natural parks account for 5% of revenue and 8% of firms.
    • Large organizations include the Smithsonian Institution, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the San Diego Zoo.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Museums, Zoos and Parks Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Jan 18, 2024 - National Park Crowding Leads to Expanded Reservations
                                  • More US national parks will require visitors to use advance tickets and reservations in 2024 to help control overcrowding, according to AFAR. Eight US national parks will require advance reservations, including Yosemite National Park, which experienced severe overcrowding and long wait times in 2023. Yosemite first used a reservation system in 2020 during the pandemic due to large crowds and social distancing guidelines but removed the requirement in late 2022. Visitors at Yosemite will be required to make reservations to enter the park starting again in 2024 during peak periods. Additional parks requiring advance reservations in 2024 include Acadia National Park in Maine, Arches National Park in Utah, Haleakala National Park in Hawaii, Glacier National Park in Montana, Olympic National Park in Washington, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and Zion National Park in Utah. The National Park Service took public comments before making the changes.
                                  • Consumer confidence levels rose in December 2023 for the second month in a row, following three consecutive months of declines, according to data from The Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index increased to 110.7 in December 2023 from 101 in November 2023. According to Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board, “December’s write-in responses revealed the top issue affecting consumers remains rising prices in general, while politics, interest rates, and global conflicts all saw downticks as top concerns.” Peterson added that the gains in consumer confidence were largest in householders aged 35-54 and households with income levels of $125,000 and above. Plans to purchase homes, autos, and large appliances rose on a month-to-month basis as interest rates moderated.
                                  • Improving consumer confidence and higher demand for in-person activities are expected to support growth in the US museums, zoos, and parks industry, which is projected to increase at an over 4% CAGR from 2022 to 2027, according to a recent Inforum forecast. This rate is comparable to the projected growth of the overall economy. The forecast follows several years of sales volatility during the pandemic in 2020 (-16.8%), 2021 (18.9%), and 2022 (16.4%).
                                  • American Express reported robust spending growth in the travel and entertainment category in the third quarter of 2023, according to The travel and entertainment category increased 13% in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year. American Express also reported that millennials and Gen Z continue to be the firm’s fastest-growing consumer cohort, with spending up 18% in the US from a year ago and accounting for more than 60% of its new consumer account acquisitions globally.
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