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4172.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Culture, March 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/03/2011   
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ZOOLOGICAL PARK AND BOTANIC GARDEN ATTENDANCE


Introduction

Botanic gardens are scientific and cultural institutions established to collect, study, exchange and display plants for research and for the education and enjoyment of the public. There are major botanic gardens in each capital city. Zoological parks and aquariums (i.e. animal, fauna, bird and reptile parks, aquariums, aviaries, butterfly houses and dolphinariums) are primarily engaged in the breeding, preservation, study and display of native and/or exotic fauna in captivity, and are accessible to the public [ABS Year Book Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 1301.0)].

Zoological parks are very different today to what they were almost 150 years ago when Australia's first zoo was established in Melbourne. Gone are the days of animals being held in boring concrete enclosures fenced with thick bars. More and more animals are now housed in enclosures reflecting aspects of their natural habitat. Australia's numerous zoological parks provide an opportunity for people to see a wide variety of animals including rare and endangered species they would not otherwise encounter. In Adelaide, for example, Wang Wang and Funi, the Giant Pandas visiting the zoo from China, are a popular attraction.

A visit to the zoo is an exciting adventure especially for children. Data published in Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4114.0) [ABS] indicates that families with dependent children were much more likely to visit a zoological park or aquarium than those living alone, with attendance rates of 47% and 26% respectively. Information relating to attendance at other cultural activities i.e. art galleries, museums, libraries, archives, cinemas and performing arts events, is also available in the above publication. This article presents an overview of attendance at zoological parks and aquariums and botanic gardens.

Zoological Parks and Aquariums

Botanic Gardens


Zoological parks and aquariums

Attendance

In 2009-10, 6.4 million people (or 37% of the population aged 15 years and over) visited a zoological park or aquarium at least once in the 12 months prior to interview. A further breakdown of this estimate shows 4.0 million people visited zoological gardens, 2.6 million visited other wildlife parks and 3.0 million visited aquariums and marine parks. Note the sum of these estimates does not equate to the total as people may have undertaken activities in more than one category.

Almost half (48%) of those who had visited zoological parks and aquariums visited once, with those who had visited twice and three times accounting for a further 27% and 12% of all attendees respectively.

Area of residence

The highest overall attendance rate at zoological parks and aquariums was by residents of the Northern Territory (53%). At the more detailed level, residents of the Northern Territory had the highest attendance rate at wildlife parks which were not part of zoological gardens (40%) and at aquariums and marine parks (26%). The opening of a new wildlife attraction in July 2008 was likely to have contributed to the statistically significant increase in attendance rates at zoological parks and aquariums in the Northern Territory between 2005-06 and 2009-10 (up from 36% to 53%).

Attendance at Zoological Parks and Aquariums, By type - 2009-10

Zoological gardens
Other wildlife parks
Aquariums and marine parks
Total

Number of attendees ('000s)

New South Wales
1 291.0
824.9
931.1
2 012.9
Victoria
1 112.0
628.9
897.9
1 700.9
Queensland
603.5
416.1
621.9
1 134.0
South Australia
389.8
227.5
108.7
532.6
Western Australia
476.1
307.0
316.5
732.4
Tasmania
57.5
71.1
44.2
121.9
Northern Territory
24.0
50.7
33.1
67.8
Australian Capital Territory
83.8
41.2
49.3
121.7
Australia
4 037.7
2 567.3
3 002.7
6 424.2

Attendance rates (%)

New South Wales
22.6
14.4
16.3
35.2
Victoria
25.2
14.2
20.3
38.5
Queensland
17.4
12.0
17.9
32.7
South Australia
29.9
17.5
8.3
40.9
Western Australia
27.0
17.4
18.0
41.6
Tasmania
14.4
17.8
11.1
30.6
Northern Territory
18.8
39.7
25.9
53.1
Australian Capital Territory
30.1
14.8
17.7
43.6
Australia
23.1
14.7
17.2
36.8

Source: Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4114.0) data available on request


Characteristics of visitors

Attendance rates were highest among those aged 35-44 years (46% for males and 55% for females) followed by those aged 25-34 years (43% males and 50% females). Many parents would fall into these age categories and, as indicated earlier, families with dependent children (single parent and couples combined) had the highest attendance rate at zoological parks and aquariums (47%). The only age group to show a statistically significant increase in attendance between 2005-06 and 2009-10 was those aged 35-44 years rising from 46% to 51%. Overall, females (40%) had higher attendance rates than males (34%) at zoological parks and aquariums.

ATTENDANCE AT ZOOLOGICAL PARKS AND AQUARIUMS, By age and sex - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT ZOOLOGICAL PARKS AND AQUARIUMS, By age and sex—2009-10


Looking at other personal characteristics, the highest attendance rates for zoological parks and aquariums were reported by people who:
  • were born overseas in a main English-speaking country (41%)
  • had some form of post school qualification (43%)
  • were employed in a part-time capacity (42%)
  • were in the highest (46%) or second highest (43%) equivalised household income quintile.


Botanic gardens

Attendance

More than one third (35%) of the population aged 15 years and over (6.2 million people) visited botanic gardens in the 12 months before interview in 2009-10. This was a statistically significant increase from the 34% who visited botanic gardens in 2005-06.

Of those who visited botanic gardens, 37% visited once, 26% visited twice and 14% visited at least six times.

Area of residence

Botanic gardens attendance rates across all states and territories ranged from 31% in Western Australia to 43% in the Northern Territory. Statistically significant increases in attendance between 2005-06 and 2009-10 occurred in Victoria (up from 37% to 40%) and New South Wales (28% to 32%).

Characteristics of visitors

Females under the age of 25 were more likely to spend time in a botanic garden (33%) than their male counterparts (23%). Attendance rates for males and females were more closely aligned across the remaining age groups. Statistically significant increases between 2005-06 and 2009-10 occurred in the following age groups: 15-17 years (up from 21% to 29%) and 45-54 years (35% to 38%).

ATTENDANCE AT BOTANIC GARDENS, By age and sex - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT BOTANIC GARDENS, By age and sex—2009-10


Looking at other personal characteristics, the highest attendance rates for botanic gardens were reported by people who:
  • were born overseas in a main English-speaking country (44%)
  • had graduate diplomas and certificates (60%) or postgraduate degrees (59%)
  • were employed in a part-time capacity (38%)
  • were in the highest equivalised household income quintile (47%).


References

Australian Bureau of Statistics Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australian, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4114.0)

Australian Bureau of Statistics Year Book Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 1301.0)


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