The John Ball Zoo and Grand Rapids Public Museum generate a combined $62.2 million in Kent County each year, according to a new study.

The economic impact study was conducted by a Grand Valley State University researcher.

The study also found the two venues support 766 jobs in Kent County and attract 526,000 visitors from outside the county. Of those visitors, 66 percent come only to experience the zoo and museum. Combined, the institutions draw more than 800,000 county residents and out-of-towners each year.

“This economic impact study demonstrates the John Ball Zoo and Grand Rapids Public Museum are more than just treasured cultural institutions, they fuel Kent County’s economy,” said Paul Isely, professor of economics in Grand Valley's Seidman College of Business and author of the study in a press release. “The zoo and museum attract visitors from near and far who pump dollars into Kent County hotels, restaurants and a variety of other businesses.”

The study illustrates visitor spending in Kent County outside of the zoo and museum, as well as the financial impact of venue operations and construction projects. Results are based on a random survey of zoo and museum visitors during the summer of 2016, as well as existing information on the number of visitors over the past year and where they live, and how much they spent at the zoo and museum.

Examples of the venues’ annual economic impact in Kent County:

  • $62.2 million in additional production of goods and services
  • $16.4 million directly spent by visitors outside the venues
  • $16.5 million in additional business earnings from direct, indirect and induced spending

To learn more about Grand Rapids Public Museum, click here. To learn more about the John Ball Zoo, click here.