Economic Impact

Economic Impact  

Although the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo is known throughout the world as a leader in animal welfare and conservation, this venerable institution also serves as a potent economic engine, top tourism attraction and award-winning educational institution. Brookfield Zoo helps drive the region’s economy and is Illinois’ most popular cultural attraction.*

In May of 2010, the Chicago Zoological Society opened Great Bear Wilderness, a new blockbuster exhibit that allows guests to go eye to eye with polar and grizzly bears, bison, eagles and Mexican grey wolves. Construction of this $27 million animal-centric exhibit leveraged $48 million in economic activity and created 350 much-needed construction jobs at a time in which unemployment in the state of Illinois exceeded 10 percent. This massive construction project at Brookfield Zoo underscores the critical role that Chicago-area cultural institutions play as drivers of our region’s economy and employers of area workers.


  • $150 million in economic activity generated annually
  • 2,000 jobs supported
  • 2.2 million annual guests
  • 108,000 member households representing more than 550,000 people
  • 580 volunteers

To learn more about Brookfield Zoo’s contributions to the economic and cultural well-being of the Village of Brookfield click here.
To learn more about Brookfield Zoo’s partnership with the villages of Riverside and Brookfield click here.


As part of the Chicago Zoological Society’s mission, we work each day to ensure that the conservation movement reaches out to and hears from every person and community at every income level and ability. In support of this, we partner with organizations that serve people with disabilities, Veterans, the unemployed and underemployed, victims of domestic violence, adults with mental illness, and more.

In 2014, the Chicago Zoological Society provided free admission to 470,850 individuals. This includes 179,429 from school groups and 291,421 from organizations that serve and support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, veterans, families from underserved communities, victims of domestic violence, and more. This also includes admission on free days and admission through library passes.

Animal Welfare

Center for Animal Welfare

Read about our innovative practices in animal welfare to ensure the ultimate care of our individual animals.

Classes and Camps

Conservation Leadership

We place a high priority on developing and supporting conservation leaders of all ages and backgrounds.

Adopt an Animal

Community Impact

We partner with various communities in helping people appreciate and learn about the roles they play in conservation.

Animal Welfare

You Can Help!

Become our partner in caring for animals and in connecting people with wildlife and nature.