We had an absolute blast on our #latesummervacay to St. Louis. Have you been to the St. Louis Zoo? Here’s 10 reasons you should go.

St. Louis Zoo is FREE!

Like many other family friendly attractions in St. Louis, you can visit the zoo absolutely free. There are many incredible paid attractions to enjoy once inside, but to walk through the gates costs you $0. I suggest purchasing the Adventure Pass if you’d like to see the paid attractions. It includes the Children’s Zoo, the Zooline Railroad, the Stingrays at Caribbean Cove, the Sea Lion Show, the 4-D Theatre and the Conservation Carousel for $12.95 per person at the gate. A day pass for the railroad alone is $7.95, so it’s a great value. We did not purchase them, but I explain why later.

Awesome layout and logistics.

We visit zoos with our family whenever and where ever we travel. The St. Louis Zoo has one of the best layouts I’ve seen. Centered around the popular stingray and sea lion exhibits in Lakeside Crossing, four of the five other sections are accessible from the central area, which contains both a north and south entrance. Each section is also easily accessible from the Zooline Railroad, which circles the entire zoo. Be prepared to get up close and personal with the behind the scene sites and smells of the exhibits while riding.

The Sea Lion Exhibit

One of the largest exhibits in the St. Louis Zoo is the Sea Lions and Seals. Visitors get to experience the impressive animals from both above and beneath in the domed tunnel walk through. Even tweens who are too cool for school are captivated by the grace and fanfare of the sea lions. This exhibit is awesome even without the ticket to the sea lion show.

Safari Tours

I had never experienced a guided tour at the zoo. And we’ve been to many a zoo through the country.  I jumped at the chance thinking the tour would be in a vehicle. I was wrong. Nonetheless, a knowledgeable and experienced docent led us through two sections of the zoo, introduced to all the animals – including “King” Julian the ring-tailed lemur and J-Lo the anaconda. I thought J-Lo should’ve have been named Sir Mix-a-Lot, or maybe Nicki Minaj (it was a female anaconda). Either way, it was $5 per person well spent.

 

The Somali Wild Ass

This was Harold’s favorite animal; he’s only 15 in maturity. I have never seen a Somali Wild Ass anywhere else (insert your own joke here). This one is alone because it’s stubborn and doesn’t get along well with other Swasses. But these along with many other critically endangered animals are cared for, rehabilitated and utilized to regenerate species population at the St. Louis Zoo.  They seemed to have far more animals per exhibit than any other zoo we’ve been to also. There were at least 8 Swasses. And our guide Yvette was awesome to point them all out.

Location, location, location!

Nestled in a section of town called Forest Park, the St. Louis Zoo is within a trolley hop, skip and jump from several other free #familyfuntime St. Louis attractions.  We parked at the visitors center and hopped the Forest Park Trolley over to the zoo. Trolley tickets were $6 total ($2 for adults, $1 for children) and can be used for a full day of rides. We rode over to the St. Louis Science Center and the James S. McDonnell Planetarium as well. Forest Park offers full day of #familyfuntime adventures with easy access to them all.

Hotel Discounts

The St. Louis Zoo partners with many hotels to offer special rates, discounts and free admission to paid attractions. The full list of offers can be found here. We stayed at a Drury Inn property which gave us all day access to the Children’s Zoo, the Carousel of Conservation and the Zooline Railroad. Toward the end of the day, I was thankful for the railroad pass.

St. Louis Zoo - Train

We were excited to be on the train…really!

Tasmanian Devils

Close to the north entrance is the Children’s and Petting Zoo. While brushing the goats, petting the bunny and measuring their height in animals was fun for the kids, I was most excited to see the Tasmanian Devils.  I have to admit, I was a bit misled by the ever popular Looney Tunes character about what to expect. They were not nearly as hairy, as large or wild as I thought they would be.

The Hippopotamus Exhibit

The sea lions were great, the Swasses made for a good laugh, but the hippos were AH-MA-ZING!!!! To see how large and swift and graceful they moved through the water was fascinating. Really, there’s not much more to say.

They’ve got an app for that.

You can get a paper map at the zoo, but you can also download the St. Louis Zoo app. it features the map, show and feeding times, a list of animals, photo filters and templates and connection to social media so you can post your #familyfuntime immediately.

St. Louis Zoo - App

Screenshot of the map from the zoo app.

Do you visit zoos with your family for #familyfuntime? What’s your favorite animal to see?