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Study shows a visit to the zoo is good for your health

The study found that most zoo visitors felt happier, more energized and less tense after a 30-minute visit

ST. LOUIS — A new study conducted by St. Louis Zoo researchers shows that a visit to the zoo is good for your health!

For this study, researchers from the St. Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine, the St. Louis Zoo's Conservation Audience Research and Evaluation, and Reproductive and Behavioral Science departments, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Reproductive Management Center at the Zoo investigated physiological changes in salivary cortisol, blood pressure and psychological changes among 186 visitors before and after a walk through River’s Edge, an exhibit at the zoo.

This data was gathered from April to June of 2018.

The study found that most zoo visitors felt happier, more energized and less tense after a 30-minute visit.

Data also showed that the participants who spent more time In River’s Edge had visited the exhibit prior to the study and participants who had been to more exhibits before entering River’s Edge experienced greater psychological and/or physiological benefits.

“At a time when the number of people living in urban areas is on the rise, and humans and the natural world are more disconnected, we are now fully realizing why we need the human-animal-nature bond to ensure public health,” said Sharon Deem, DVM, Ph.D., director of the zoo's Institute for Conservation Medicine and senior author of the study.

“The evidence from this study supports the role of zoos and other green spaces in providing health benefits to zoo visitors,” said Deem

The study titled “Changes in human health parameters associated with an immersive exhibit experience at a zoological institution" was published this month in the journal PLOS ONE.

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