With costly plans on the horizon for major renovations and new exhibits, the Minnesota Zoo is touting a new report from the University of Minnesota that measures the zoo's annual economic impact at $146 million.
The study, which based its conclusions on the zoo's record 2012 attendance of 1.37 million, estimated that 75 percent of the zoo's visitors came from the metro area and that local visitors spent $46 per day and out-of-town visitors spent $150 per day during their trips.
The study also found that the zoo supports 1,738 jobs -- 220 to 300 in the zoo itself and the remainder in the community -- and provides another $79.1 million in indirect, "value-added" economic benefit annually.
Starting with a hoped-for Crossroads Park to be added at the midpoint of the outdoor Northern Trail this year, the effect of construction planned through 2017 would total $103.4 million in direct spending and $55.9 million in value-added impact, the study found.
To view the study, see www.startribune.com/a1998.