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“The best!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of St. Louis Zoo

St. Louis Zoo
Ranked #1 of 253 things to do in Saint Louis
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Visitors are wowed by this zoo that has 6,600 animals and 15 major exhibit areas.
Springstead, WI
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“The best!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2007

The St. Louis Zoo proved to be everything and then some. We were there March 19,2007 on the way to Branson, and loved it so much, retuned to see what we missed on the way home on the 23rd.(It was worth lelaving Branson a day early!) This zoo is free admission,and if you are lucky there is free parking, but even with $10.00 per vehicle parking across the street, it isn't bad. There are extra charges in the park if you choose to do this, i.e., riding the train.
There are so many different animals in the zoo that you don't see elsewhere and it is so CLEAN! A wondereful opportuninty to take advantage of.

2 Thank jaden6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Frisco, Texas
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Not free but still cheap!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2007

I have lived in the St. Louis area all my life, and have also traveled to many zoos elsewhere in the US. I am still blown away at how wonderful the St. Louis zoo is. It is still 'free' to get in, and there is free street parking (although I prefer to pay, with 3 kids to tow). But at other zoos, not only have I had to pay $26 a person to get in, I also have to (imagine that) pay for my own lunch.

The St. Louis zoo functions only on donations and fees such as the fee for the train and the Children's Zoo, so i really have no problem paying for it if it means I can continue to take my children to such a beautiful place.

I would say this is the best attraction in St. Louis, and one of if not THE best zoo in the US.

2 Thank Janasayqua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Midwest USA
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“A Must-See in St. Louis”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2006

The St. Louis Zoo is a must-see for visitors to St. Louis, especially if you have children. You will be hard-pressed to find another zoo of this size & quality that has free admission.

The closest parking lots to the north & south zoo entrances are pay lots, but that is not your only parking option. Get there early and use the free parking lots at the Art Museum which is just a short walk away from the zoo's north entrance. Get a map of Forest Park on-line so you know where to go.

The bird house and adjacent garden are my favorite. Sea lion feeding time is fun to watch. Kids (especially boys) enjoy the reptile house and the insectarium. The St L zoo also has a new baby elephant that should be on display soon.

Food isn't exactly cheap, but it's less costly than the concessions at a Cardinals ballgame. Remember admission is FREE, so why gripe about a couple extra bucks for your lunch?

3 Thank J-Doc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marlton, NJ
Level Contributor
143 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 220 helpful votes
“Great Zoo, Great Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2006

Had the opportunity to visit the St. Louis Zoo (with my family, ages 22-55) and we were very satisfied. We didn't do any research on the zoo prior to going. All we knew was that the admission was free and we had to pay for parking. So we figured, let's give it a shot. We had a full day to spend in St. Louis and we started with the zoo.

Parking is $9.00, but admission to the zoo was free for all. The zoo is huge! We decided to walk through the entire zoo, instead of taking the train and only getting on and off at stops. The train cost $4 a person, but it was fairly nice out and wasn't that crowded in the morning, so we chose to walk. It was really great to see the vast amount of animals in this zoo. The Butterfly House and Insectarium was really cool. It used to charge $2 to go in, but it was changed to FREE, as well. The only thing you had to pay for was the children's zoo, carousel, and shows.

We did none of the above and still had an amazing time. It started to warm up as the day progressed, but there were so many places to go to and cool off. The Reptile House was nice and cool and the Penguin & Puffer Coast was amazing. You have the opportunity to walk right up to the penguins in an amazing cold habitat, but wow, what a relief!

This zoo is great for all ages, but I would suggest packing some lunch instead of eating at the zoo.

8 Thank KingCobra7003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NE Kansas
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Nice exhibits, but don't be fooled by "free" admission and early hours”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2006

St. Louis falls about halfway in a journey between Rossville, Ks, and Lancaster, Ky, so it seemed like a natural stop for our early July vacation. We were happy to see that the zoo opened at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning so we could enjoy the animals for a few hours and then head off to Kentucky. We were also happy to have found what looked like a great FREE attraction to entertain the kids and break up two-day drive.

We chose to stay in a 2-room suite at the Creve Coeur Drury Inn and Suites on I-270, about 11 miles from the zoo and not an inch off the route. Check the web for special rates--we used the St. Louis Fun rate to get a $99 double queen suite on a Saturday night. (Same room cost $140 on a Thursday night return trip though.) This was the first time we stayed at a Drury hotel and we really liked it. Free popcorn and sodas from 3:00 to 10:00, free manager's reception (3 drinks each included), and free hot buffet breakfast--not the most impressive, but easy to get to and easy to find something to eat for everyone.

The maps and information online were great and we found the zoo with no problem using Trip Tik directions we got from AAA.com. Our smiles turned sour when we pulled into the parking lot to find our first "extra" expense--$9 to park. With not much extra time to search for free street parking (don't even know if there is any), we ponied up and headed in.

The zoo is big and their brochures tout the $4 train ride that allows you to get on and off at different stops. One problem for our early-arriving crew: the train doesn't even start running until 9:30! As we need to leave the zoo by 10:30, we are now walking instead of riding, even though we were prepared to pay $16.

Admission to the Children's Zoo portion of the park is normally $4, but get there between 8 and 9 and you can go in for free. Again, free is not as good as it sounds. Most of the animals were not out yet, so there was very little to see. There was a neat walk-through aviary with lorakeets and parrots that you can apparently feed from nectar cups, but of course those don't go on sale until later in the day, and we couldn't even walk through because a staff member was cleaning the exhibit and it was locked. Yes, we could have stayed in the Children's zoo for free until the exhibit opened, but the kids were restless and wanted to see everything else. So the free Children's Zoo was a total bust for us.

From Columbia, Mo, eastward there are St. Louis Zoo signs with their giraffe on it. This was the only animal the 4-year-old wanted to see. When we found the exhibit, it was empty except for a zookeeper cleaning up whatever the giraffes had left the day before. And this was after 9 a.m., an hour since the zoo had "opened." We asked the keeper and found out it would be another 20 minutes before they let the giraffes out. So we went in search of bathrooms and a drinking fountain (not as common as you would hope). It was worth the wait, though, to see their baby giraffe come out of the huge hill that hides their indoor home.

Among the great displays--the indoor COLD penguin and puffin exhibit with clear glass walls so you can watch them swim. You are literally face to face with them! Also a great face-to-face with the hippos. My 6-year-old loved the Komodo dragon in the reptile house, and we saw a snow leopard from about 5 feet away. The new River's Edge exhibit is like getting lost in the jungle and could use a few more escape routes and directions on finding the shortest path to the outside.

The staff at the zoo were mildly disinterested in the patrons, with many of them preferring to catch up on each other's gossip instead of offering assistance (we had a nightmare with the train station girl that I don't care to relive, which ended with a 4-year-old in tears as the train drove away without him and his daddy demanding a $16 refund). Food and drink are EXPENSIVE! The very prevalent drink vending machines sell a 20 oz. bottle for $2.75. (And could you guess, the one I used ate my money, necessitating a trip to guest services to fill out a refund to get my money back). On a hot day, it would be tough to get through the zoo without shelling out for something to drink, so figure another $12 minimum for a family of 4.

Unfortunately, our Trip Tik didn't seem to be as much help leaving the zoo as getting in, and we got lost for about 10 minutes trying to get back to the interstate.

Forrest Park (where the zoo is) is huge and beautiful and has lots of things to do. We might have had better luck visiting when we had more time to hang out.

8 Thank jhawkmamax2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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