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We’re onto our next favorite spot in St. Louis for the best kids activities, the world famous St. Louis Zoo! We love the Zoo so much that we ask for a Family Membership for Christmas every year. Perfect idea when everyone is hounding you on what you want and you can’t think of anything. The gift that keeps on giving. And bonus, if you go more than 4-5 times a year, it’s totally worth it for parking and train rides alone!
Why do I love the Zoo? Well, it’s free. Can’t be upset about free. There are over 1800 animals from 700 different species. Holy Cow! They offer summer hours and open at 8am so you’re not drowning in sweat from the heat. We especially love that the first hour the zoo is open, paid activities like the Carousel, Stingrays at Caribbean Cove and the Children’s Zoo are all free! I’ll tell you to get there early, get in line for the Stingrays, hop to the Carousel for a few spins and then make sure you’re in the Children’s Zoo before the hour is up.
We have a pretty set list of animals we love to see at the Zoo, and we follow the same path every time. Hattie loves to brush the goats in the Children’s Museum. Notice a trend with my child and goats?
After spend our time in the Children’s Museum, we make a rough counter clockwise circle around the Zoo. The Zoo is broken down into Zones and we start with The Wild. We start out with the new Grizzlies exhibit, the penguins and of course the polar bear Kali. This area also includes the primates, red panda and my favorite the prairie dogs. They are just so cute!
Next is the Red Rocks which is home to Hattie’s favorite Giraffes, Lions, Tigers, Bears (oh my) and zebras! Just a word of warning, the hill up to Red Rocks in steep, prepare yourself! We still take an umbrella stroller to the Zoo since it’s so big, it makes life easier. Also, budding blogger over here taking all the photos. Cracks me up!
By this point, we head down to Lakeside Crossing for lunch. We’ll sometimes pack a lunch, and there are tons of seating options. The food is reasonably priced, but the proceeds go back to the zoo. Again, we didn’t pay to get in, so I don’t mind paying for lunch.
We typically round our adventures in River’s Edge. This is home to the rhinos, hippos, Asian Elephants, and the new baby Cheetahs. They are adorable! There is so much to see and do in this space and it’s partially shaded too. We end our time in the Bayer Insectarium and go through the smaller butterfly house.
We lucked out this trip with a Sea Lion Show. There are feedings and shows, just check the schedule for the day. We typically round our trip out with a train ride around the park. The wrist band gets you unlimited rides, so we usually do a lap or two before it’s time to go home. Great way to calm down from all the fun, and potentially getting a nap out of the situation!
So thing to plan for –
- Go early to take advantage of all those free activities the first hour, and if you don’t want to pay for parking which is $15, you can park in Forest Park.
- Through the larger exhibits, know there are gift shops everywhere you will have to walk through, just know they are there and run! I don’t need anymore stuffed animals in my house!
- Pack snacks and then pack more snacks.
- Hand sanitizing options or wipes are your friend with petting animals.
- Bring a water bottle. Most of the updated water fountains have bottle fill up
- Best Bathrooms – we love the family bathroom downstairs in the Living World. There is also a lactation room there too. We also love the First Aid Station bathroom next to the Carousel. Bonus, there is seating and air conditioning and the people inside are the sweetest ever.
- Check out the Adventure Pass if you’re not a member, it may save a little on all the extras your kiddos will want to do!
You can pick up a map, save this one to your phone or use their app to get around the park. We love spending our summers here at the Zoo, it’s educational, informational and we learn something new every time we go!
What’s your favorite animal at the Zoo?
Best St. Louis Kids Activities