Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fun Close to Home: St. Louis Zoo

Many years ago I decided that summer breaks would be a time for my kids and I to explore our home. I don't mean just the house we live in or even just our town.  But, the metro area.  Since we are part of the St. Louis Metro Area we have access to everything St. Louis has to offer.  This area is rich in activities and experiences.  So, this summer, I've decided to showcase some of the amazing things my home has to offer.

One of our favorite spots is, of course, The St. Louis Zoo.  Growing up here I've always heard that we have a world class zoo.  They brag about our zoo on our news programs and the zoo uses it as part of the marketing.  Until a few years ago it was the only zoo I'd ever visited.  It was then that I realized how spoiled I was having The St. Louis Zoo so close to me.  It really is an amazing place.  Other zoos are a real disappointment after growing up with this one.

The St. Louis Zoo has been in operation for over 100 years.  They are the leader in innovation when it comes to designing, creating and building actual HABITATS for the animals, not just pens.  Don't get me wrong, they did have a time when a lot of animals were in cages in big houses, but those days started dissipating a long time ago.

One of the oldest structures in the zoo was built for the 1904 Worlds Fair.  It is a giant bird cage, but it's not a cage, it's an aviary.  It is a walk through habitat.  It's most recent renovation in 2004, converted the habitat into a swamp to showcase waterfowl.  It is possible to be within arms reach of some of the birds in this habitat.

In recent history The St. Louis Zoo build Penguin and Puffin Coast, an Insectarium, The River's Edge , The Fragile Forest, and most recently (opened in June 2012) Sea Lion Sound.  There are future plans to redo/upgrade the habitats for the big cats and the bears.

The St. Louis Zoo is free to enter.  There is no admission fee.  Most of the exhibits are free.  There is a fee to enter The Children's Zoo, watch the movie in The Living World (the north entrance to the zoo), watch the Sea Lion Show, ride the train, ride the carousel, ride the simulator, pet the stingrays and to park in the south parking lot.

There are ways to get some of these discounted, though.  And, there are zoo memberships that allow you free tickets to a lot of these attractions.  But, it is possible, if you take a lunch with you and park near the art museum which is close to the north entrance of the zoo, to spend a whole day enjoying this wonderful place without spending a cent.


But, a trip to The St. Louis Zoo would not be complete if you didn't buy a souvenir at one of the gift shops/stands.  Especially for those who do not live close enough to go to this WORLD CLASS ZOO whenever they want.  You really should be jealous of those of us who do live close to it! 


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