ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – The Erie Zoo is sharing a new study which shows the zoo generates an economic impact of $21.2 million per year.

It comes as the zoo seeks to regain accreditation and renovate its exhibits.

Erie consulting firm Parker Philips conducted the study, which found the zoo supports or sustains 250 jobs and provides more than a $1 million in state and local taxes.

Zoo leaders hope to use the study to push for more state and local funding. They said the data shows the zoo is a big boost to our region’s economy, drawing in visitors who then spend more money at businesses around the region.

“We’ve done a lot with a little for a long time, but it’s hard to live on love and loyalty,” said Scott Mitchell, Erie Zoo. “This will really underscore some of our needs – things like technology and modernization and some new animal exhibits.”

Zoo officials said Erie’s zoo generates a far greater economic impact than other similarly sized zoos around the country.

The full study is available here.