Looking for exciting family experiences in the heart of Missouri? How about spending a day surrounded by wildlife? Saint Louis Zoo invites you to plunge into the world of birds and various animals, explore their funny habits, and just have fun in the open air. 

Yes, you and your children will certainly appreciate this activity. Thus, open the calendar and start planning your trip. First, decide on transportation. Travelers often pick up St Louis rental cars to reach the zoo. Economy, Compact, and Standard models are the best car rental offers for budget riders. However, you may want to consider luxury car rentals in St Louis for more comfort and driving pleasure. 

Whichever car you choose, visiting the best zoo in all of Missouri guarantees you the thrill of exploring the wild. We have prepared for you a small guide answering the main questions you may have during the trip. How to get there, how much does a ticket cost, and what experiences to try? Keep reading for more details! 

Saint Louis Zoo tickets and hours 

Entrance to the basic areas of the zoo is free for both adults and children. However, there are paid year-round experiences such as the 4D Cinema ($4.95 per person), the carousel ($2.95 per person over 2 years of age), and the Zooline Railroad ($7.95 per person for the whole day). At the same time, you can enjoy seasonal attractions including the Bird Show ($3.95 per person), Dinosaur Space ($5.95 per person), Stingray Experience ($5.95 per person), and Sea Lion Show ($3.95 per person). 

The zoo has fixed opening hours that change seasonally. Plan your visit based on the month and time of the year. 

  • Winter Hours (January 1 to March 3): Monday – Friday 10 am-4 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9 am-4 pm 
  • Spring Hours (March 4 – May 25): Monday – Sunday 9 am-5 pm 
  • Summer Hours (May 26 – August 20): Sunday – Thursday 8 am-5 pm, Friday – Saturday 8 am-6:30 pm 
  • Early Fall Hours (August 21 – October 11): Monday – Sunday 9 am-5 pm 
  • Late Fall Hours (October 12 – December 30): Monday – Sunday 9 am-4 pm 

Please note that holidays and pre-holiday days may have different operating hours. Therefore, it is better to check the exact opening/closing time before visiting.

How to get to Saint Louis Missouri Zoo? 

Located almost in the center of the downtown, the facility is easily accessible by various means of transport. If you drive a car, you can choose several entrances depending on where you are coming from. 

When driving from the south side of the city or Interstate 64, head to the South Parking lot situated on Wells Dr. However, if approaching from the north or northwest, stop by the North Parking lot. A parking fee for the whole day is $15 for regular cars and $30 for large vehicles. On peak days, you may use the private parking lot (6212 Oakland Ave) on the back of Interstate 64. It will take you about 10 minutes to get to the north entrance of the zoo from there. 

If you are traveling around the city using public transport, take MetroBus Line #90 Hampton to reach the facility. The shuttle stops on Government Drive, within a short walk of the north entrance.

What to see and what sections to visit? 

From frogs, snakes, monkeys, and a host of birds, to zebras, gazelles, giraffes, and sea lions: the Saint Louis Zoo animals comprise over 15,000 individuals belonging to about 490 species. The facility covers about 35 hectares of land and offers six separate zones with their own living conditions and microclimates. Let’s look at the most popular activities within the zoo. 

Admire the majesty of predators and the grace of antelopes 

The terrain with the natural rocky boulders and bushes is home to big cats such as leopards, lions, tigers, pumas, and jaguars. In total, you will find three separate open sections with predators, and four lookouts surrounding them. A small artificial waterfall in the center of the site perfectly complements the setting and is a suitable backdrop for photography. 

The other part of this zone creates unique conditions for antelopes roaming freely among the red stones. By the way, it’s for this reason that one of the six sections was called Red Rocks. The brightest representatives of this part of the park are gorals, gazelles, takins, and gerenuks, as well as zebras, camels, and babirusas.

Explore the wildlife of the continents 

In the River’s Edge section, you can enjoy an impromptu setting with a river running across four continents. Start by exploring hot Africa full of hyenas, rhinoceros, cheetahs, and hippos. Then, enjoy the nature of South America with capybaras and anteaters. Continue your cross-continent journey in Asia, which is home to the Malayan sun bears and Asian elephants. Finally, immerse yourself in North America by visiting an aquarium with spotted tilapia, gar, buffalo fish, and other marine life living in the waters of Minnesota.

Get closer to sea creatures 

In the central part of the zoo, you will find an underwater tunnel offering a unique animal-viewing experience at the bottom of the lake. California sea lions and harbor seals are local hosts who will delight you with skillful tricks and empathetic communication. 

Also, head to the pavilion with a shallow pool. Its permanent inhabitants are stingrays, which feel free in such conditions. You can pet and even feed these cute marine creatures.

Marvel at the diversity of nature 

The section called the Wild has five separate zones specific to certain animal species. Among them, you will find a forest full of gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and other monkeys. A special rocky area with grizzly bears looks no less impressive. Also, you will see penguins, puffins, and polar bears in close-to-natural habitats. 

Devote time to reptiles, birds, and insects 

If you didn’t see any animals in the previous sections, look for them at Discovery Corner and Historic Hill. The first offers an insectarium with butterflies, beetles, spiders, and bees. Also, there’s an information center where you can plan your visit in the most efficient way. 

In the Historic Hill zone, you will find Herpetarium with crocodiles, turtles, snakes, frogs, and lizards. Then, don’t miss the area of cypress swamps with many species of waterfowl. The Bird House is also worth your attention in this section.

So, a trip to this zoo will take you at least 4 hours if you want to get acquainted with most of the animal expositions. To save time on the direct and return trip, we recommend that you choose a rental car as a way to move around the area. You can book it directly through the 14CARS app installed on your smartphone. By the way, Saint Louis Zoo Wildcare Park will be open soon. The 101-acre wildlife-roaming area further enhances your family travel experience!

By Grace