If you are visiting St. Louis and looking for a great place to spend the day with your family, I would highly recommend the St. Louis Zoo. This zoo is well known as being one of the top zoos in the country and would you believe entrance to the zoo is free. On a recent visit I spent the entire day with my granddaughters and the only money we spent was for lunch. There are some attractions with small fees such as the Children's zoo, the shows, and the railroad, but there was plenty to fill our entire day in the free areas.
St. Louis Zoo
The St. Louis Zoo is a great place to spend a day. It has over 900 animals and is the third largest zoo in the USA.
Visiting the St. Louis Zoo
a St. Louis tradition
The St. Louis Zoo first started when the magnificient bird cage was built for the 1904 World's Fair. Then in 1910 the zoological society was formed and St. Louis was well on its way to having a magnificient zoo that has delighted generations of St. Louis families and visitors from around the globe.
I enjoyed the zoo as a child and then brought my children there frequently. When they were growing up each had favorite animals, one the giraffes and the other the monkeys. I recently brought my two granddaughters to the zoo, for a third generation of our family to enjoy the delights that the zoo has to offer.
My two oldest granddaughters, Rachel (7) and Ella (5) were delighted with all the Zoo activites. We started at an exhibit where they could feed the stingrays and sharks. This was very exciting for them. It was feeding time for the stingrays so I bought small packets of shrimp that they put in their hands for the stingrays to eat. The photo below shows the girls petting the beautiful animials.
Education at the Zoo
The zoo has a very active education department whose mission is:
To nurture respect for animals and their habitats and to promote conservation action by providing educational opportunities and experiences.
The education department has a wide variety of resources including: books to lend, an animal hotline, information and group programs for teachers and other leaders and a great docent program.
My granddaughters and I experienced the docent program first hand when we were in the reptile house. There was a docent sitting at a table with two skeletons in front of her. My granddaughters walked up to the table and the docent engaged them in a conversation. She would ask them questions and listen carefully and then correct any misconceptions that they had. She did this all in such a caring and understanding manner that they were very interesting for the entire 15 minutes that she talked to them. She talked to them first about the difference between crocodiles and alligators and then she brought out some snake skin and they discussed how snakes shed their skin. I was very impressed had this ladies knowledge along with her skill in capturing the girls attention.
St. Louis Zoo has much to offer
The St. Louis Zoo has much to offer. The day we visited was very hot and humid so we limited our visit to 4 hours in the morning and were able to take in quite a few of the attractions. We took the Zooline Railway around the zoo, getting off at several stops.
At one stop we visited the Big Cat Country, where Ella loved the Amur tiger pictured above, the Herpetarium, where they talked to the docent, and the Primate House.
At another stop we went to the Penguin and Puffin Coast. This was a really cool exhibit (47 degrees F) and we enjoyed watching the penguins and puffins and getting a respite from the heat. At this stop we also stopped to ride the Conservation Carousel. This is a great merry-go-round that features animals that are or were on the endangered specie list. The proceeds from this ride go for conservation practices at the zoo and worldwide.
To find out about other zoo attractions, stop by their website at Zoo Website.