on June 23, 2008
The St. Louis Zoo has a worldwide reputation, and deservedly so. With over 5000 animals and 700 species, it can take a full day just to wander through and enjoy. And the surprise for any first time visitors? Admission is free! Oh sure, parking in one of the Zoo lots costs $10. And a few attractions that have ticket prices: - $4 per person for the Children's Zoo (free for under 2 years old) - $5 per person for the train that circles the 90 acres (with 4 stops) - $2 per person for the Conservation Carousel - $3 per person for the Seal Lion ShowBut a $12 Safari Pass takes care of all that for one day, plus a few other things. Contrast the cost of that with with the admission prices to a lot of other zoos and it's still a huge bargain.My favorite area is the River's Edge exhibit, with rhinos, hippos, cheetahs and elephants just to name a few, including new elephant calves, Maliha and Jade. And secondly, the Fragile Forest, which allows the chimpanzees and orangatans access to the outdoors; Big Cat Country; Penguin and Puffin Coast which puts you close enough to get splashed by a playful penguin; plus one of the most beautiful Bird Houses you'll ever see.In addition to the the newer exhibits, there is history. The collection had it's beginning with the 1904 World's Fare, and the walk-through bird cage is one of the few remaining structures from the fair. It's been renovated and now features the Cypress Swamp exhibit with a fantastic collection of Missouri native birds and plants.But a reputation like that of the St. Louis Zoo is built on more than just showing off the animal collection. The zoo was one of the first in the world to have a full time animal nutritionist on staff, and the current nutritionist has a brand new center to work in that's state of the art. Just the walk-in freezer is bigger than the old nutrition center. And last but not least, conservation work by the zoo is on an international scope, with the St. Louis Zoo Wildcare Institute at the forefront of endangered species research and preservation in 12 different locations - lemurs in Madagascar, hellbenders in Missouri, cheetahs in Africa, and the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve of Nicaragua.It's all good, and if you can't tell by now, I love my zoo. We've been members of the Zoo Friends organization for years. That's paid terrific benefits as we get free parking, train tickets and more; and through reciprocal programs with other zoos, we've had free admission to the Seattle Zoo, the Rome Bioparco and a number of other facilities. Don't miss out on the the zoo! For more information, visit their web site at http://www.stlzoo.org.
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