It is not uncommon among progressive-minded zoo professionals these days to hear disdain for the function of zoos as recreational. This attitude is understandable in that traditionally, zoos have done little but offer amusement along with parklands or picnic facilities. The progressive zoo person sets his or her goals above the old-fashioned recipe of crowding as many exotic animals as possible into an amusement-oriented menagerie to an authentic theme for exhibition intended to educate the public, offer research possibilities, and preserve and propagate species. Nevertheless, recreation remains a primary function of zoos. Most zoo visitors do not seek education in the everyday sense of information transfer. Even the best interpretive efforts attract but a minority of zoo visitors: Most people come to zoos to see animals. We should remember that this experience in itself is worthy and that for many people it has redeeming value.
Eaton, R.L. (1981). An overview of zoo goals and exhibition principles. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, 2(6), 295-299.