Nashville Zoo has taken a hit amid the coronavirus pandemic, suffering a huge loss in revenue in 2020 due to a dramatic drop in attendance. Zoo officials are predicting less than half of the visitors they welcomed just last year.
Things have improved a bit since Nashville Zoo President Rick Schwartz sent out a letter to patrons asking for help, explaining that their weekly loss of $105,000 is roughly the cost of caring for the animals.
The numbers are pretty bleak. We are anticipating a significant budget deficit this year. In-person attendance, which usually makes up about 93% of our operating revenue, has been decimated. To give you a point of reference, our attendance in 2019 was 1,266,764. Our projected attendance for this year has now fallen to 360,000, similar to our annual attendance in 2002. Even though we are now open again, with decreased attendance, our revenue can’t keep up with expenses. On average, we are losing $105,000 per week, which is roughly the cost of caring for the animals.
We are stronger together. And it is your support that is going to help sustain Nashville Zoo this year. I know many in our community are currently facing personal financial hardships. But if you do have the resources at this time, I’d ask that you please consider making a donation. The generosity of our community built Nashville Zoo, and I’m confident that same generosity will help keep the Zoo thriving for generations to come, the letter reads.
Local adult entertainment clubs like Deja Vu offered a $6,000 donation, which the zoo has accepted.
The zoo has outlined additional recovery plans, including Kroger Safari Fridays [Buy One, Get One admission with your Kroger Plus card], and free rides on the carousel every Wild Wednesday.
They're also still planning on having Boo At the Zoo, minus hayrides as they don't allow for social distancing. More below!