Detroit Zoo: Visitors can watch polar bears from different angles. | Photo: Detroitzoo, License: CC BY-SA 4.0

The Influence of Childhood Zoo Visitation on Adult Sustainability Behavior

Published on the 01.06.2021. | By: Josie Ann Taylor

A scientific analysis carried out as part of a master thesis was able to prove that people who visited zoos as children were more interested in conservation topics as adults.

» to the master thesis and a summary

Note: The study also offers exciting inputs to continue to improve the educational work carried out in zoos and aquariums. Participants did not remember specifics of the educational content imparted in zoological institutions, however, that is also because zoos do not wish to appear as teachers and instead convey the educational content in a more subtle way. As out-of-school learning experiences, that is very important, since no one wants to be reminded of boring lessons or never-ending lectures in their free time. Therefore, it is important to combine entertainment and education – a concept known internationally as “edutainment”. Of course, a result of this is that knowledge obtained “on the side” is not always associated specifically when remembering.

Therefore, as a serious zoo or aquarium, it makes sense to put more weight on the educational aspect as part of personal branding without changing this proven concept as a whole. Many people are not used to experiencing the process of learning as something that can be fun because it is often associated with pressure or obligation. Here modern zoos could show that both education and fun are possible simultaneously. However, it will be important to raise visitor awareness and to not leave them thinking that just because they are having fun there is no education taking place. That is surely another thing to take away from this study.

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