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Apparel, mugs and toys make a backdrop for Sales Associate Victoria Demers, who is shown holding magnets, at a Woodland Park Zoo store. In additional to housing its residents, the zoo offers a summer concert series and a holiday light display.

or zoo and aquarium gift shop operators, it’s easy to focus on big categories like apparel, books, and plush gifts when it comes to profit centers, but inexpensive items like molded plastic figurines, magnets, postcards, and keychains can all add up to a surprisingly healthy bottom line. Retailers said that the best way to move these items is to place them strategically throughout the store and make the most of branding by stocking as many pieces with the venue’s name on them as possible.

“Our best-selling animal models are a line by a company called Mame Jo,” said Tatum Miller, souvenir manager at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax. Pa. “Boys tend to like the lions and tigers, and girls like the zebras and horses. I think they sell well because they’re inexpensive, they don’t break, and kids like animals.” Lake Tobias is located in the quiet Pennsylvania countryside and offers visitors a number of attractions, including a petting zoo, safari tour, reptile and exotics facility, and baby animal program.


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