I am trying to nail down how I can make more money with my zoo that seems to be losing money at times but gaining it at others with no input from me. One of the things that seemingly sucks money from me is the "Zoo Upkeep Cost", however this cost seems to fluctuate each month randomly. The three previous months of Upkeep Costs

Sometimes it is sub-2000, sometimes it is far over, but I can't figure out what goes into increasing that upkeep cost. The only factor I know for sure is that each building has its own "Upkeep", but those are unchanging values from month to month I thought?* Exactly what all goes into making this cost go up?

*Okay, so I already found after some more snooping around that I was wrong in thinking structures had a static upkeep cost, buildings and filters fluctuate from month to month. But I have no idea why they fluctuate so greatly, especially for tank filters, does it happen each time they have to be serviced by a maintenance worker? Do restaurants need more upkeep money for each X amount of customers they serve? And all of these costs from food, bathrooms, and filters alone still doesn't seem to add up to the amount I'm paying in Zoo Upkeep costs each month so where is the rest of the money going?

1 Answer 1


Upkeep is determined as a fluctuating (random) cost that is dependent on a percentage of the cost of each building. The upkeep fluctuates with a simple noise function centered around 2-5% the buy cost of a building (depending on the type of building). Buildings that house animals have a higher upkeep as the cost of the animals ('asset cost') is added to the total net 'worth' of a building.

Because of this mechanic, it is not always cost effective to add animals without regard to attractiveness and/or skittishness, as sometimes additional animals can become a money sink rather than a way to generate revenue.


Here are some links to resources I linked to in the comments:

  • Woah woah woah, when you say "buildings that house animals" do you mean like exhibits? I hadn't realized those have upkeep costs (though it makes sense). So why is it that some of my older exhibits show a "Last" upkeep cost of $0.00? And why do tank filter costs fluctuate so wildly in the hundreds of dollars?
    – Guy
    Jul 9, 2018 at 21:59
  • exhibits /should/ have upkeep- though it is possible that the "Last" upkeep is showing $0.00 b/c the upkeep hasn't been calculated yet... Tank filter costs fluctuate on a completely different level- all 'item' costs can fluctuate widly, as to simulate a market... also keep in mind that these are averages across time and are calculated at much smaller intervals than make sense to humans, so it may not seem intuitive looking at specific slots of time
    – Nick S
    Jul 9, 2018 at 22:14
  • 1
    Oh, wow, really? This is awesome to know. By the way, what's your source for all this?
    – Guy
    Jul 9, 2018 at 22:19
  • @Guy sure- I have an old group of bookmarks from when I played more often- don't know how many are active but here's my table of upkeep/costs that I recorded back when I was playing Edit: link to dino happiness stats, link to fences. Some of my other links are broken, I'll see if I have any of my old stuff laying around on a usb somewhere
    – Nick S
    Jul 9, 2018 at 22:38
  • Wow, looks like you kept detailed stats when you played, that's impressive! Well lucky I got someone who had the available resources to give a precise answer like that, thanks!
    – Guy
    Jul 10, 2018 at 1:34

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