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 Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

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

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

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 7,300 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 64 workers and generates about $7 million annually. The average natural park employs 14 workers and generates about $1.6 million annually.

    • The museum, natural park, and zoo industry consists of about 7,300 firms that employ about 128,200 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

                                  Coronavirus Update

                                  May 18, 2022 - Inflation Drives Zoo Admission Price Increase
                                  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium officials cited inflation as the key cause of the first rate hikes at the Ohio institution in almost five years. The price of admission will increase for as many as 60% of visitors due to increasing costs of animal feed, building products, fuel, and other items. The zoo also increased its minimum wage for employees $2 to $13 per hour.
                                  • National parks recovered 91% of their pre-pandemic visitation in 2021 despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to online financial platform ValuePenguin. Some parks out-performed pre-pandemic years, likely due to the fact that spending time outdoors became even more popular with the spread of the coronavirus. While there were fewer visitors, those who did go were staying longer. The number of hours spent at national parks was down only 5%. The parks seeing the largest increase in time spent include Hot Springs National Park, Virgin Islands National Park and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
                                  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that cleaning once a day is usually enough to minimize the chance of coronavirus transmission in most settings. Museums, zoos, and parks are likely to benefit if the guidance results in lower pandemic-related cleaning costs. The CDC did identify one appropriate situation for deep cleaning: an indoor environment where a case of COVID-19 had been confirmed within the past 24 hours.
                                  • Employment in the museum, historical site, and similar institution industry increased 15.9% year over year in April but was down 10.4% compared to the pre-pandemic month of April 2019.
                                  • The Association of Art Museum Directors is allowing member museums to engage in some activities typically prohibited by its policies, including using income from restricted funds for general operating expenses for the next two years, according to Art News. The emergency policy also allows museums to use the proceeds from the sale of art to be used for operating expenses. Standard guidelines required the proceeds to go towards new acquisitions. Museums that opt to use restricted funds will likely confer with donors and government officials that typically oversee non-profits before making any moves.
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