What to Know Before You Go
Whether you plan to visit for one hour, two hours or the entire day, we want to help you experience an educational, entertaining, safe and successful trip to the Saint Louis Zoo. Here are some ideas, suggestions and valuable information to meet your needs.
See Hours, Prices & Directions for driving directions.
The Saint Louis Zoo is open daily, year-round, except for Christmas Day and New Year's Day. See Hours, Prices & Directions for more detail. Check out our Calendar of Events for details on what's happening on the days you plan to visit.
Please see Hours, Prices & Directions for information on the free hour for Children's Zoo and Conservation Carousel.
All-day parking is available on the Zoo's North Lot on Government Drive and South Lot on Wells Drive. Limited street parking is available in Forest Park. (See map at right.)
Only cash and charge are accepted for parking payment.
Parking fees subject to change. Parking for cars is free on the Forest Park streets around the Zoo, but please pay attention to no-parking zones, marked by signs. Parking rules are subject to change.
If Arriving By Bus
Parking for buses, motor homes and R.V.s is available on the South Lot only. See hours, prices and directions page for pricing.
North Entrance Bus Staging Area: April 1-May 31
Vehicle parking is prohibited on the south side of Government Drive from Wells Drive to the North Parking Lot from April 1 to May 31, Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.This area will be used for thestaging of school buses prior to unloading and loading children.
Please enter the school bus staging area from Wells Drive, traveling east on Government Drive. In this manner, children will not have to cross the street to enter the Zoo. We are placing the safety of children first as we would prefer the bus doors open on the south curb lane, in front of the North Entrance at The Living World.
As buses stage and space becomes available in front of the Zoo's North Entrance (The Living World building), a Zoo Ranger will motion for your bus to drive forward to the North Entrance to unload or load your children. For return trips, we request the drivers communicate to the person in charge of the field trip so that you have a designated pick-up time. All buses will be allowed to stage on Government Drive 15 minutes prior to the designated pick-up time of the children.
To assist both you and any Zoo staff in directing traffic and to identify your school bus, be sure your school name is clearly marked in the front passenger-side window.
Please note: Our heaviest school visitation occurs in April and May. Consequently, you will need extra time to allow for heavy school bus traffic. Please plan your schedule accordingly.
Bus/Commercial Vehicle Parking Permit for Forest Park
To park a bus or commercial vehicle elsewhere in Forest Park when visiting the Zoo, you must obtain a permitthrough the City of Saint Louis Department of Parks. You will also be assigned a designated lot by the Parks Department. The parking permit fee is $5 per bus or commercial vehicle. Parking permits are obtained by calling the Forest Park Permits Office at (314) 289-5330, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., or by completing an online application. Please request your permit at least two weeks before your scheduled field trip.
Teachers or other bus users will need to provide their name, name and address of school/organization, date of visit, and the number of buses arriving at the time of their request. Permits will be mailed. Any permits requested less than two weeks of the scheduled trip will need to be picked up at the permit office.
Please note: Your parking permit must be prominently displayed on the windshield of your bus during the time the vehicle is parked in Forest Park or you risk getting ticketed.
Group Registration Required — Attention Teachers and Group Leaders!
Schools and groups are now required to register before visiting the Zoo. Please take a moment to let us know when you are coming, by completing the school/group registration form. When you arrive at the Zoo, please check in at one of the Welcome Desks located at both Zoo entrances. Whether you are scheduled for an educational program or tour, or just planning to tour the Zoo on your own, completing this information provides us with the necessary information to better serve your group, particularly in the event of an emergency. Please call the Education Department at (314) 646-4544 for more information about registering your group.
Please note: the school / group registration form is required only for group tracking purposes. To order group tickets and meals, please contact the Group Sales office at (314) 646-4718 or FSGroupsales@stlzoo.org at least two weeks prior to your visit.
Respect the Animals
We want your Zoo visit to be a valuable learning experience for your students. One thing we hope visitors learn is respect for our Zoo animals, and for all wildlife. When you're on Zoo grounds, please help us keep our animals safe and our grounds beautiful. Do not allow students to throw food or other items into the animal exhibits, or try to touch the animals. Please respect our flowers and plants by not picking or collecting them. While touring the grounds, be mindful and courteous of other visitors around you. Thanks for your cooperation.
The Saint Louis Zoo Security Department recommends that large groups bring cell phones or group two-way radios. This way, group members can find one another easily if they get separated.
Also, please check in at the Welcome Desk at either Zoo entrance to leave a cell phone number in which you can be contacted in case of emergency.
For information on lunch at the Zoo, special attractions at special group rates and other savings for field trip groups, see Group Visits.
Bringing Your Own Lunch?
Students may bring sack lunches to the Zoo. However, we cannot store lunches. Please be prepared to carry lunches in backpacks or store them in your vehicles. Storage lockers are available at both the north and south entrances of the Zoo for your convenience. The price for a storage locker is $.50 (quarters only). You are welcome to enjoy your lunch at any of our outdoor tables or benches, except those on the terrace at the Painted Giraffe Cafe and at Lakeside Cafe.
Get a Class Pass for Zoo Fun
School groups of 15 or more may purchase a Class Pass for just $5 per person. Your group will receive admission to Children’s Zoo, Zooline Railroad and Conservation Carousel. Call (314) 646-4718 or e-mail FSGroupsales@stlzoo.org.