Arguably the best deal in town, admission to the St. Louis Zoo (stlzoo.org) is absolutely free!
That’s right. You can view up to 18,000 animals from 700 species without spending a dime.
Sure, there is a hefty charge if you park in one of the zoo’s two parking lots. But the zoo is located historic in Forest Park and, if you arrive early enough, you can park free on the adjacent streets if you wish.
And sure, zoo concessions are pricey, but you can leave a picnic lunch in your car if you want and take a break from your zoo visit to walk out and enjoy it. Because admission is free, going back and forth is not a problem.
There are fees for some individual zoo attractions but, if you desire, you can spend an enjoyable day at the zoo by just visiting the free attractions.
If you do decide to buy food and drink or souvenirs inside the zoo or if you do decide to pay admission to an added attraction, rest assured that your money is going to a worthy cause. All proceeds support the zoo’s conservation programs.
We started our zoo day with an enjoyable $5 mile and a half miniature train ride to get an overview of the grounds.
The 90-acre zoo is divided into various zones.
At the new Stingrays at Caribbean Cove, guests are encouraged to dip their hands into a saltwater pool to allow bonnethead, white-spotted bamboo and nurse sharks, cownose rays, southern stingrays and horseshoe crabs to safely touch them.
River’s Edge is a mythical waterway through four continents featuring Asian elephants, cheetahs and hippos.
At Red Rocks, lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes and antelope live in natural settings.
The Wild showcases bears, penguins, gorillas and other animals that, according to the zoo website, “climb, swim and swing through some of the seemingly inhospitable places on the planet.”
If you enjoy history, take in Historic Hill, one of the oldest parts of the zoo.
There’s a cypress swamp inside a 1904 Flight Cage and the buildings that house birds; monkeys and lemurs; and reptiles and amphibians have a 1920s Spanish architectural flavor.
Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.