Petting Zoo

Industry Sub-Division Definitions

Petting zoos are currently divided as follows:

Ø  A financially independent petting zoo.

Ø  A petting zoo offered as a peripheral service for visitors at locations such as shopping centers, pet stores, hotels or rural lodging facilities, etc.

Ø  A private petting zoo serving local residents/ students as a hobby, zoological learning center, etc. and is not usually open to occasional visitors.


Industry Data

There are an unknown number of petting zoos in Israel. Most petting zoos are located in Kibbutzim, Moshavim, or sub-units of commercial businesses. Approximately 300 schools have petting zoos servicing students. There are approximately 25-50 businesses in which petting zoos constitute the primary financial activity (not including Kibbutzim and Moshavim). In addition, there are some mobile petting zoos, usually operated by one person traveling between events and/or school with a number of small pets such as: Snakes, hamsters, etc. Some also bring lambs or young goats in order to demonstrate the feeding process.


 Market Characteristics

Competition in the industry exists. Commercial petting zoos compete for organized schoolchildren field trips and large workers unions. This industry usually begins as a hobby. In order to develop the hobby and turn it into a business, one must significantly alter their viewpoint and reorganize. Rehabilitative/special care petting zoos are operated differently than commercial petting zoos. Petting zoos are usually used as a source of occupation for children while parents are busy with other activities in the primary commercial area. For example: A large plant nursery might have a petting zoo where children are able to play while parents are choosing plants.


Customers: defining the target market and its size, market segmenting

The industry is comprised of a number of sub-divisions:

Visitors and occasional customers- mostly families on an outing in order to entertain children. Most visits are conducted on Saturdays, holidays, and school vacations.

Organized groups- mostly schoolchildren as part of a fieldtrip or activities organized by workers’ unions.

Special needs persons- mainly for rehabilitative treatment

Special events-birthdays, class events, etc.

Summer Camps.


Marketing Resources

Petting zoo marketing resources include:

Direct marketing to school principals and workers’ unions- a focused effort in this population occurs between April and June. This is when school principals plan field trips for the following school year, and workers unions plan their summer activities. In addition, marketing is also targeted towards summer camps and other children's summer activities.

Special projects- the business may organize children’s activities on vacation. Children are invited to become familiarized with pets, their care, and additional activities. These courses combine education and activities.

Advertising in Israel: Specialized guides, local print, flyers, and websites.

Tourism/shopping companies-petting zoos belonging to other businesses and/or are active as peripheral business units attach petting zoo advertisement to their main business advertisements. In addition, some businesses offer combination tickets for a number of sites or discount vouchers in exchange for purchasing services or merchandise at the main business.



Vendors in this industry include many separate areas of expertise, with no limitation on supply, quality, or price. Primary vendors include:

Pets-first pet generation is purchased from animal breeding facilities in Israel or abroad. A significant percentage of animals will be offspring of the first generation if the business is professionally and scrupulously managed.

Veterinarians- Apart from required animal care, it is very important to routinely have animals checked by a veterinarian in order to ensure public health and to prevent sickness and death of animals.

Food: There are many types of food, according to animal type, including: Dry food mixes (vegetarian and meat), moist food, plants, fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry (usually leftovers from meat processing factories) etc.

Professionals-locksmiths, carpenters, gardeners, etc. in order to build cages and organize the petting zoo.

Future Development Options:

A petting zoo can combine a variety of additional entertainment activities such as: Children’s playgrounds and activity workshops. Restaurants, catering, snack bars, ice cream vending, etc. are an additional method of increasing revenue and improving customer service. Developing a customer/fan club increases chances for a regular flow of visitors.

Petting zoos are increasingly becoming a peripheral activity for another business.

Entry Barriers:

There are seemingly no barriers for opening a petting zoo; however, the entrepreneur must take into account the following limitations:

Local authority licensing is required.

Appropriate land space- both in size and in maintenance, breeding facilities, and display conditions for various types of pets. (See specifications in the Tips section)

Appropriating facilities for animal needs while taking into account relationships between various species and genders.

Commercially marketing the enterprise. As most group customers arrive from educational facilities, the entrepreneur must be familiar with educational needs and be able to market them accordingly.


Human Resources:

Human resources for a petting zoo usually include a manager/owner and one or two assistants according to size.


Industry Revenue and Profitability

Average yearly raw income for a petting zoo (calculation) in NIS thousands.

Revenue of an average independent petting zee is 40-250 thousand NIS per year. This does not include petting zoos that are part of a larger commercial business. A large number of petting zoos are operated by individuals acting as tax exempt establishments.


Typical Terms of Payment

Groups usually pay in cash, check, or credit card installments. When an organization is responsible for a number of groups (municipality, local youth centers, large school, etc.), payment terms are EOM+30 to 90. Private customers usually pay in cash, check, or credit card installments.


Licensing, Certification, and Relevant regulations:

Local authority licensing is required.

The business must be supervised by a veterinarian and reports are to be submitted to the veterinary department in the municipality.


Prevention of Cruelty to Animals law, 1994, Ministry of Quality of environment- P.O. box 4326 Jerusalem, 91061.

It is also recommended to consider the following article:


Relevant Addresses:

Ø  Animal protection plan- Ministry of quality of Environment.    P.O. 34033 Jerusalem 95464            Phone:02-6540567 ext. 2,       

Ø  Private Veterinary Doctor Organization

Ø  Israel’s Veterinary Union, Tzipman 1, Ra’anana. PHONE: 09-7431778website

Ø  Let the Animals Live foundation   P.O. 57238 Tel-Aviv 03-6241766. Protecting animals in distress and finding homes for abandoned animals. There are thousands of homeless cats and dogs. Some are injured and experience abuse.

Ø  S.O.S pets 03-7441111   The foundation finds homes for cats and dogs. It does not have any pounds and needs temporary housing for pets.

Ø  Pet-Net, the Israeli portal for pet lovers The site allows business advertisement and provides additional pet raising information.

Ø  Petting zoo website



Ø How to Establish a Petting Zoo- principal development, planning, and establishment of zoos and petting zoos by: Amihai Alinson. Website:

Ø Ensure pet health.

Ø Additional activities include promotional activities and R+R days.

Ø A virtual internet tour.

Ø Cooperation with other children’s leisure activities such as Inflatable parks, toddler activities, game rooms, and creative workshops.

  • Special holiday and vacation activities such as Circus acrobatics and clownery
  • Supervised feedings
  • Exhibits and explanations about pets and pet behavior.
  • Musical shows

It is recommended to consult with your local Business Development Center regarding business establishment and operations.

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