Stingrays at Caribbean Cove presented by Mercy
Photo courtesy Living Exhibits
Exhibit is closed for the season
Stingrays will return in spring 2014. Please check back for dates.
Watch, touch and occasionally feed the unique and fascinating stingrays, as they glide through a warm saltwater pool. The sharks and horseshoe crabs are a little too shy for petting, but you may be lucky enough to have one touch you briefly as it swims by.
Located under a large pavilion near Lakeside Cafe these ocean animals swim through a 17,000-gallon pool complete with waterfall and a lush surrounding landscape.
Check back for details on 2014 admission prices.
A group rate for 15 or more is available. Advance reservations are required to receive group discounts.
About the Rays
You'll be surprised at how gentle and graceful the animals are in the water, as they swim past your hands. Our stingrays can't sting you. At the Zoo, the stingrays' barbs are painlessly clipped back just as human fingernails are clipped. Staff monitor the stingrays throughout the season to ensure that the barbs stay neatly trimmed.
Zoo interpreters will be on hand to assist visitors and share information on the animals and ocean conservation.
It's a Ray's Life
Cownose rays and southern stingrays are related to sharks and skates. They have a flat body, long pointed fins and a long whip-like tail. Stingrays are known for their stinger, but they are actually very docile creatures. Learn more about stingray anatomy.
White-spotted bamboo sharks are known as "cat sharks" because the barbels, or sensory organs, near their mouths resemble cat whiskers. The bonnethead shark is the smallest member of the hammerhead family. These sharks have semi-circular shaped heads resembling a shovel or bonnet. See shark school to learn more about sharks.
The sharks at Stingrays at Caribbean Cove are small, shy and docile fish and pose no danger to humans. They range from two-and-a-half to four feet in length and are bottom-dwelling species that prey on small fish, crabs and invertebrates. Our visitors will not be feeding the sharks, but occasionally there may be an opportunity to be touched briefly by a shark as it swims by.
Along for the swim are horseshoe crabs, which are more closely related to spiders and scorpions than to true crabs. The horseshoe crab is a living fossil. It has been on the earth for 220 million years, longer than dinosaurs, and it survives today almost identical to its ancient ancestors.
Sustainable Seafood and Ocean Conservation
Though the cownose rays and southern stingrays are not currently endangered in the wild, other species of stingrays are. Stingrays and other ocean animals are often accidentally caught during commercial fishing for other fish. It's important that consumers purchase seafood from suppliers that farm or fish in ways that will ensure the long-term health of the world's oceans, rivers and lakes. Our stingrays eat fish that are sustainable, and so should you!
Horseshoe crabs are near threatened because of the popular practice of using them as bait to catch fish.
Here are a few other ways that humans can make a difference for ocean inhabitants:
- Dispose of waste properly and avoid using plastic bags -- it can all end up in the ocean.
- Conserve water and energy use.
- Recycle paper, plastic, aluminum and glass.
- Reduce the amount of chemicals used on lawn and garden.
- See more do-it-yourself conservation tips.
Seafood Watch Program
The Saint Louis Zoo is proud to partner with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation in support of their Seafood WatchSM Program. Download their Midwest Seafood Watch card or mobile app for a list of recommended seafood choices (and those that are not recommended). Cards are also available to pick up at Stingrays at Caribbean Cove. Seafood WatchSM is a registered servicemark of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation.
Animal and veterinary care for the stingrays is supervised by a full-time exhibit supervisor and an assistant exhibit supervisor from Living Exhibits, a Las Vegas-based corporation that produces and manages interactive exhibits for zoos, aquariums and museums.