Birthday Party FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions About Animal Adventure Birthday Parties
How soon do I need to make a reservation?
We recommended reserving your party at least one month in advance. Spring and summer are our busiest seasons, and usually require more than one months notice.
Do you do parties in winter?
YES! We do parties year-round. Fall and winter are wonderful times for a Zoo party or just a visit. The Zoo is less crowded, parking is easier, and most aspects of the party are held indoors.
If I have to cancel my party, can I get a refund?
Your $50 deposit is non-refundable, however if you cancel your party with at least 2 weeks advance notice, you can receive a refund for the balance of your payment. There are no refunds given after the 2 week deadline.
Can I visit the party area before I book a party?
Yes. You can arrange to visit the party area Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Please call (314) 646-4544, #6, to set up a date and time.
What is the maximum number of guests?
The maximum number of guests is 40 for Wildlife Wonders and Dynamic Discovery Parties, and 32 for Party Like a Penguin and Aquatic Adventure. The number of guests includes all adults and children over 9 months. Our maximum number is based on the size of our party area, and our desire to maintain the quality of our program for all of your guests.
Is parking for me or my guests included?
Parking is NOT included in your party. Parking is available for a fee in the Zoo parking lots, and is available first-come, first-served on the streets in Forest Park. See Hours, Prices & Directions for parking fees. Keep in mind that during spring and summer, parking lots can be filled and street parking can be difficult to find. Please allow plenty of time to find parking and walk to your meeting location.
Where should my guests meet?
Wildlife Wonders and Dynamic Discovery birthday parties meet at the entrance to the Monsanto Insectarium. Activities will take place at the Insectarium for the first 20-25 minutes of your party. Your birthday party host will meet your group at the Insectarium and will lead your group to the private, behind-the-scenes party area 25 minutes after your scheduled meeting time.
Party Like a Penguin and Aquatic Adventure parties meet in the lower level of the Living World North Entrance Building, near the classrooms. Your birthday host will meet you there and lead you into a classroom for your 60-minute party.
We encourage you to set up a meeting place and time for your group at least 20 minutes before your party time. Then your group can come to the party location together at your party time. For instance, you could ask your guests to meet you at the North Entrance at 9:40 am. Then you can all come to the Insectarium together at 10 am for your party.
Your confirmation packet will include invitation insert cards for your guests which include the meeting time, and a map to the meeting place, either Insectarium (Wildlife Wonders or Dynamic Discovery Parties) or The Living World lower level (Party Like a Penguin or Aquatic Adventure.) Guests should bring the card with them to the party.
Can I meet my guests somewhere else at the Zoo?
You can meet your guests anywhere at the Zoo. Some groups meet at one of the animal exhibits, ride the Conservation Carousel or take a train ride before their party. Just make it clear on your invitations where and when you would like your guests to meet you. The party hosts will only meet you and your guests at the designated meeting place and at the scheduled time.
Can parents drop off their children for my party?
Yes, however you should make sure that it is clear on your invitation where and when and with whom parents should leave their child. Please also indicate exactly where and when parents should pick up their child. The Zoo is a large and busy place, and children should never be left unattended. Zoo staff are not responsible for children dropped off at the Zoo.
Where should parents meet to pick up their children?
You set the time and location for guest pick up following the party. We strongly encourage you to clearly set a time and place in advance. For Wildlife Wonders or Dynamic Discovery birthday guests we recommend having parents meet your group at the River's Edge Train Station near the wooden gate. For Party Like a Penguin or Aquatic Adventure guests we recommend you have parents meet your group in the Lower Rotunda of the Living World.
What is the required parent:child ratio?
We require one adult for every child 3 years and under, attending our parties. For children 4 and up, there is a required 1:4 adult:child ratio.
Are there restrooms close by?
There are public restrooms in The Living World and on the back side of the Insectarium building. Restrooms are also available in our private party area at the Exploration Outpost.
Are changing stations available?
Yes. Changing stations are available in the restrooms.
Is the party area child-proof?
The party area is designed for children's programs, however it is not completely free of hazards. Live animal enclosures, hard surfaces, and small items are present in the area. For this reason, we require a 1:1 adult to child ratio for children 3 years and under. It is also expected that parents or caregivers will closely supervise their children.
Where is the party area for Wildlife Wonders and Dynamic Discovery Parties?
The party area is located in the Exploration Outpost on the lower level of the Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center. This area can NOT be accessed by the general public. It is not accessible via the River's Edge pathway. It can only be accessed by Zoo staff and volunteers who will escort your group from the Insectarium. Therefore, it is important that your guests arrive on time for the party.
What if my guests are late Wildlife Wonders or Dynamic Discovery Party?
Guests who arrive after your group has left the Insectarium will not be able to attend the party. Your group will be escorted from the Insectarium to the party area 25 minutes after your party start time. We suggest that your invite your guests to meet you at least 20 minutes prior to the party start time.
Can I escort late guests to my Wildlife Wonders or Dynamic Discovery party?
No. The party area is in a behind the scenes area of the Zoo. Guests may not come to or leave the party area without a Zoo staff escort. For unknown reasons, cell phone reception is not good in the party area. Late guests may try to call you and be unable to reach you. Please make sure to send the Invitation Insert Cards to your guests, so that they know what to expect.
Who leads the party?
Parties are led by Seasonal Instructors and Zoo ALIVE volunteers. Our Seasonal Instructor staff have a great deal of experience working with children of all ages and abilities. Along with birthday parties, our Instructors lead our summer camps, overnight programs and help out with many other programs.
Which allergens are present in the party area?
The Zoo is not a peanut free or nut free area. Nuts are an important part of the diet of many of our Zoo animals. Some of the animals that live in our classrooms may have nuts in their habitat as part of their diet or as a special treat. Our cubcakes are made in a local bakery which also processes nuts. Please let us know if anyone in your party has an allergy to peanuts.
Aquatic Adventure parties include admission to Stingrays at Caribbean Cove. Guests with a fish or shellfish allergy should use caution as the stingray pool contains both fish and shellfish.
What animals are present in the party area?
We have a variety of animals which are permanently housed in the Wildlife Wonders and Dynamic Discovery party areas, including guinea pigs, rabbit, chinchilla, hedgehog, dove, screech owl, canaries, finches, box turtle, bearded dragon, small snakes, horned frog, hissing cockroaches, African giant millipedes, local millipedes, false katydids and walkingsticks. Three or four of these animals will be brought out for your group to see, learn about and touch. We cannot fulfill requests to touch specific animals, but will acknowledge a request NOT to touch a given animal due to allergies, phobias, etc.
For Party Like a Penguin parties, live animals will be temporarily housed in the area, which will be used for your live animal presentation. Please let us know in advance if you have a special request to avoid certain animals due to known allergies in your group.
Are stingray snacks available for my whole group?
The Aquatic Adventure party includes stingray food for the birthday child to feed our stingrays. We cannot guarantee the availability of additional food for the rest of the group. If additional food is available you are welcome to purchase it from zoo staff at Stingrays at Caribbean Cove during your party.
I don't like insects. Do we have to meet in the Insectarium?
All Wildlife Wonders and Dynamic Discovery birthday parties meet at the Insectarium. No one is required to go inside. Party Like a Penguin and Aquatic Adventure parties meet in The Living World.
Can I provide my own plates, napkins, cake, etc.?
Yes. Please let us know in advance if you will be providing your own tableware or cake. With prior arrangement, you can drop off any items on the Friday before your party, and we can set them up for you. Bringing your own tableware or cake will not discount the price of the birthday party.
Can I bring in food to serve a meal to my guests?
Meals may not be served in the party area. However, you can arrange a meal for your guests before or after your party in another area of the Zoo. Tables around the Zoo are available on a first come-first served basis. You may also purchase prepared meals or Kudu coupons for your guests. Please call our Group Sales department at (314) 646-4718 for more information about group discounts for meals.
I have a lot of gifts to bring, is there a loading/unloading zone near the party area?
By prior arrangement, we can meet you 30-45 minutes before your party time and to allow you into a loading/unloading Zone. You are not allowed to park in this area, so will have to move your car immediately after unloading.
Can I hold my party in any other areas of the Zoo?
The Animal Adventure Birthday Party programs are only available in these areas. You are welcome to design your own birthday experience and take advantage of our beautiful animal exhibits, fun attractions and guest amenities. Most eating areas at the Zoo are only available on a first come-first served basis. Contact our Group Sales department if you would like to reserve one of our facilities.
Can I add train tickets or other tickets to my party package?
Yes! Contact our Group Sales department at (314) 646-4718 to hear all your options for group rate discounts.
Are parties canceled because of weather?
A birthday party would only be cancelled if Zoo grounds are closed. In this unlikely event, you would be notified immediately and would receive a full refund for your party. Please note that it is necessary to walk outside from your car to the Insectarium and from the Insectarium to the party area. Remind your guests to dress for the weather!
How will I be notified about confirmation of my party?
You will receive an email confirmation and will receive a confirmation packet in the mail. If you do not receive confirmation, please call (314) 646-4544, #6.
What happened to the guided tour option?
We will continue to offer this option September-March. We have found that it can be too crowded at the Zoo during April - August to offer these tours at the quality you would expect.
How can I pay for my party?
You may pay by cash or credit card, either in-person or over the phone (credit card.) Ask our birthday coordinator for all of your options.
What if I have a complaint about my party?
We want your party to be an outstanding experience for you and your guests, and welcome any and all feedback. We will be sending an on-line survey about your party experience to your email address after your party date. Please keep in mind that there are some aspects of your experience which are beyond our control - namely traffic, parking and weather. We do not issue any refunds within two weeks before your party, or after your party has occurred.
What's different about Zoo birthday parties?
To accommodate the high demand for parties, we have added our Party Like a Penguin package, available November – April, and Aquatic Adventure package, available May - September.