Frequently Asked Questions About Animal Adventure Birthday Parties

How soon do I need to make a reservation?
We recommend reserving your party at least 1 month in advance. Spring and summer are our busiest seasons and usually require more than 1 month's notice. Party Like a Penguin packages require a minimum of 3 weeks advance booking.

Do you do parties in winter?
YES! We do parties year-round. Fall and winter are wonderful times for a Zoo party. 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?
If you cancel your party with at least 4 weeks advance notice, you can receive a full refund. If you cancel your party with at least 2 weeks advance notice, you can receive a refund minus a $50 fee. 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) 646-4530 to set up a date and time.

What is the maximum number of guests?

  • Wildlife Wonders: 40 guests
  • Dynamic Discovery: 40 guests
  • Aquatic Adventure: 32 guests
  • Party Like a Penguin: 30 guests

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 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-serve on the streets in Forest Park. See Hours, Prices & Directions for parking fees. Keep in mind that during spring and summer, parking lots can fill quickly and street parking can be difficult to find. On optimal weather days in the spring and summer it is not uncommon to experience a minimum wait of 45 minutes for parking. Please allow plenty of time to find parking and walk to your meeting location.

Where should my guests meet?
All parties meet in the lower level of the Living World / North Entrance Building. Your birthday host will meet you there at the scheduled start time and lead you to your first activity.

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 lower level of the Living World at the scheduled start time.

Can parents drop off their children for my party?
Yes, however you should make sure that it is clear on your invitation where, 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. We recommend you have parents meet your group in the lower level of the Living World in the rotunda area.

What is the required parent:child ratio?
We require 1:1 adult to child ratio for children 3 years and under. For children 4 and up, there is a required 1:4 adult to child ratio.

Are there restrooms close by?
There are public restrooms in The Living World.

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 animals, 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.

Who leads the party?
Parties are led by education program staff members and Zoo ALIVE volunteers. Our staff have a great deal of experience working with children of all ages and abilities.

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 cupcakes are made in a local bakery which also processes nuts. Please let us know if anyone in your party has an allergy to peanuts. With advance notice, our staff can have popsicle(s) available as an alternate treat.

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.

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 to admit you into a loading/unloading zone. You are not allowed to park in this area, so you will have to move your car immediately afterward.

Can I hold my party in any other areas of the Zoo?
Animal Adventure Birthday Party programs are only available in their designated 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 serve 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 about our 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 The Living World/North Entrance building, etc. 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).

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 online 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 Aquatic Adventure package, available April - September. The Party Like a Penguin package, available year-round, now includes a guided tour of the indoor Penguin & Puffin Coast exhibits. The tour offers guests an opportunity to view the Zoo’s king, gentoo, and rockhopper penguins.