In 2010, the Saint Louis Zoo will celebrate its 100-year anniversary. In the meantime, you can enjoy the Zoo's rich history in a beautiful new book that covers the Zoo's rich history and its emergence as a modern-day center of research and conservation. Animals Always - 100 Years at the Saint Louis Zoo overflows with stories, photographs and fascinating sidebars. Readers will find some pictures they have never seen, historical facts they didn't know, familiar subjects that may nudge special memories of the Saint Louis Zoo and, hopefully some surprises.


Observing exotic creatures, petting friendly animals, and riding the train through the park -- no one can forget the enchanting family ritual of visiting the Zoo. In reality, Zoo visitors experience only the tip of the iceberg -- Animals Always gives readers a glimpse into the unseen work and overlooked history of the renowned Saint Louis Zoo.

The Saint Louis Zoo has earned its excellent reputation thanks to its forward thinking and its community support -- not to mention familiar faces like Marlin Perkins and Phil the Gorilla. St. Louis was the first city in the world to support its zoo through public taxes, and the Zoo remains free to all visitors today.

Author Mary Delach Leonard takes readers from the days when schoolchildren collected 238,400 pennies to purchase Miss Jim the circus elephant, through years of renovation and innovation, to the twenty-first-century realization of the River's Edge habitat, which elevates the concept of natural displays to a new level, and the WildCare Institute, launched in 2004 to support animal conservation centers around the world. Vintage photographs offer up animal shows and early visitors in period dress, and modern color images capture today's awe-inspiring wild exhibits.

Readers are treated to behind-the-scenes anecdotes and statistics to which visitors are normally not privy. In 1917, the Zoo's annual attendance was 299,100 visitors. Today, annual attendance is 3,000,000. A peek at the current Zoo grocery list for the animals reveals a need for 43,056 red delicious apples per year-but also 122,000 mice and 16,750 rats! If each of 7,500 medical tests the Zoo performs each year used one standard-sized test tube and the tubes were laid end-to-end, they would tower three times higher than the Gateway Arch.

Through page after page of surprises -- pictures never before published and amazing historical facts -- as well as anecdotes sure to stir memories, this coffee-table volume captures an institution that has always been one step ahead. And Jeffrey P. Bonner, president and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo today, gives readers a peek at what's in store for the Zoo in the not-too-distant future. Animals Always is a tribute to the Saint Louis Zoo's innovation, dedication, and long-standing commitment to the people of St. Louis.

About the Author & Publisher

Mary Delach Leonard, an award-winning feature writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for seventeen years, is presently on the staff of the St. Louis Beacon and lives in Collinsville, Illinois.

Published by University of Missouri Press.

Jacket design by Kristie Lee.

Purchase the Book

Animals Always retails for $29.95 (hard cover) and is available for purchase online, in Saint Louis Zoo gift shops or by phone at (314) 781-0900, ext. 4779.

Shipping and handling charges will be added to online and phone orders.

This book is also available in various local book stores and online retailers.