In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of zoo-based touchscreen studies of animal cognition around the world. Such studies have contributed to the field of comparative cognition despite the fact research has only been performed at a relatively small number of institutions and with a narrow range of species. Nonetheless, zoo-based touchscreen studies are increasingly recognized as both having the potential to be enriching for captive animals by providing them with opportunities for choice, as well as potentially being a tool with which to measure changes in welfare. Zoo-based touchscreen research on public display also has the potential to impact zoo visitors; encouraging them not only learn more about the cognitive abilities of animals, but also potentially promoting increased respect for these species. Given the lack of a comprehensive review of this scope of specialized research, and the broad potential impacts on animals and programs, here we discuss the history, implementation, and potential outcomes of touchscreen research in zoo settings.