LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Local zoos are a huge benefactor in Texas.
"Just look at this day. We've got record highs, and families are still flowing through here," said Ellen Trout Zoo Vet, Dr. Mike Nance.
Statewide, they bring about 885 million dollars in economic activity, nearly 315 million dollars in personal earnings, and almost 9,000 jobs. In Lufkin, the Ellen Trout Zoo employs 23 people and serves up to 130,000 visitors each year. They spend 790-thousand dollars on goods and services each year.
Caldwell Zoo director, Hayes Caldwell, says zoos are a trickle effect to supporting the state.
"While they are coming and enjoying themselves and learning a little bit about animals, they are certainly helping wildlife in general by supporting our programs, as well as the economy," said Caldwell.
"They'll share some of their hard earned wealth with us, and we don't take that lightly. We try to provide them with an excellent experience, so when they come here, they walk away having a better appreciation for nature, a better appreciation for the outdoors, certainly through the species we house. You can't just get this on a TV,"said Nance.
When people rent hotels, buy food, or even come to the school on a field trip, they generate funding for the state. Visitors also provide a place of business for employers.
"A place that people certainly feel comfortable in supporting financially with their time. They spend a lot of time here. And I'm part of it," said Nance.