WHAT: The Saint Louis Zoo was voted America's top free attraction and best zoo in USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. The Zoo is home to more than 17,000* exotic animals, many of them rare and endangered. The 500* species represent the major continents and biomes of the world. Set in the rolling hills, lakes and glades of Forest Park, the Saint Louis Zoo is always a great place to be. See "About Saint Louis Zoo" for more details.

ATTENDANCE: One of the top attended zoos in the nation, 3,000,000 people visit each year.

ADMISSION: Admission to the Saint Louis Zoo is free to all. There are fees for Zooline Railroad, Sea Lion Show, Children's Zoo, Conservation Carousel, Stingrays at Caribbean Cove*, 4-D movie and Zoo parking lots. The Conservation Carousel, Children's Zoo and Stingrays at Caribbean Cove are free the first hour the Zoo is open. Limited street parking is available for free.

ZOO HOURS: The Zoo is open year round, except December 25 and January 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Please check website for special holiday and summer hours. 


  • Centene Grizzly Ridge opened September 15, 2017
  • Tasmanian Devil Den opened April 28, 2016in the Emerson Children's Zoo.
  • McDonnell Polar Bear Point opened June 6, 2015. The bear habitat transitions seemlessly from sea to coastline to land, including underwater viewing.
  • Sea Lion Sound opened on June 30, 2012. The spectacular exhibit features underwater views of sea lions, walk-through tunnel and new Sea Lion Show arena.
  • Stingrays at Caribbean Cove (Seasonal)
    Back by popular demand, the southern and cownose rays return to the Saint Louis Zoo in summer 2013. Visitors have an opportunity to touch and feed these amazing creatures.
  • Donn & Marilyn Lipton Fragile Forest, an outdoor habitat for chimpanzees, orangutans and lowland gorillas
  • Unique Penguin & Puffin Coast has Humboldt, rockhopper, gentoo and king penguins from the Southern Hemisphere, along with horned and tufted puffins from the Northern Hemisphere 
  • Edward K. Love Conservation Foundation Cypress Swamp showcases native birds and habitats in the 1904 Flight Cage
  • Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel, 64 beautiful hand-carved wooden animal figures
  • River's Edge, a lush spacious home for a three-generation Asian elephant family, hippos (with underwater viewing), cheetahs, black rhinos, spotted hyenas, red river hogs, bush dogs and more. 
  • The Monsanto Insectarium includes 100 species of live insects, interactive exhibits, a geodesic dome for butterflies
  • The Emerson Children's Zoo with an acrylic slide through the otter pool, water geysers, a play area and close-up animal encounters
  • Big Cat Country, home of powerful predators including Amur tigers, African lions, Amur leopards, jaguars and cougars
  • "Animals Always" the largest sculpture at any public zoo in the U.S.

SIZE: 90 acres

LOCATION: In Forest Park, in the heart of metropolitan St. Louis. Close to US 40/I-64, I-44. Accessible from MetroBus and MetroLink

RARE AND ENDANGERED ANIMALS: Asian elephant, horned guan, Amur tiger, Matschie's tree kangaroo, Sichuan takin, okapi, babirusa, tuatara, Speke's gazelle, Coquerel's sifaka, golden lion tamarin, Marianas fruit dove, Amur leopard, white-headed duck, hooded crane and Chinese alligator are just some of the rare animals on exhibit at the Saint Louis Zoo.

CONSERVATION: In 2004, the Saint Louis Zoo launched its WildCare Institute to further numerous wildlife conservation projects around the world. The Zoo partners with other zoos, universities, field biologists and government agencies to develop a holistic approach: wildlife recovery and management, studies of nutrition, reproduction, health and behavior, community development and conservation education.

EDUCATION: More than 200,000 people - children, adults, families, school groups, seniors and the disabled - take part in Zoo programs and presentations each year. Classes, overnights, lectures, senior nights, outreach and other programs reach a wide variety of interests and ages.

ORIGIN: Impetus to formation of the Zoo was the popularity of the 1904 World's Fair Bird Cage in Forest Park, the largest free-flight aviary in the world and still an attraction at the Zoo. In 1910, a group of community leaders interested in a zoological park in St. Louis organized the Zoological Society of St. Louis. In 1913 the Zoo was incorporated as an independent civic organization and a Zoological Board of Control named. In 1916 the citizens of St. Louis voted a tax for construction of the Saint Louis Zoo. Through the years the community continues to support the Zoo, with a third of the Zoo's budget coming from property taxes in St. Louis City and County, a third from food service, gift shops and parking lots, and a third from private donations, corporations, foundations and membership. Over 1,000 active volunteers provide more than 70,000 hours of service each year.

GUEST SERVICES: Zoo grounds, exhibits and most restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs and strollers may be rented at either entrance. Restaurants, snack carts and gift shops are available.

GROUP SALES: Groups of 15 or more may enjoy guided tours and discounted rates for special attractions, food and beverages. The Living World, Lakeside Cafe, River Camp and the Event Tent are available as rental facilities for corporate meetings, wedding receptions, birthday parties and more.

*2018 census number