Aug. 30, 2018

Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Billy Brennan, 314/646-4633,
Christy Childs, 314/646-4639,
Mike De Pope, 314/646-4703,

55th Anniversary of the Emerson Zooline Railroad
at the Saint Louis Zoo

Prairie Farms Dairy Summer Zoo Weekends comes to a close on Labor Day

Today, Thursday, Aug. 30, marks the 55th anniversary of the Emerson Zooline Railroad at the Saint Louis Zoo. The nation's largest miniature rail line has carried more than 39 million riders since it opened to the public on Aug. 30, 1963. The late Marlin Perkins, then director of the Zoo, drove a golden spike into the ground at a VIP ceremony on Aug. 29, 1963. The railroad began "tracking smiles" with visitors the next day.

The Zooline Railroad's engines are a one-third size replica of the original C. P. Huntington, a famous steam locomotive first built in 1863. Known as the "Iron Horse," the C. P. Huntington helped build the first transcontinental railway. Though the Zooline is gasoline-powered, it has the bells and whistles of a steam engine. Carrying passengers over 1 ½ miles of track that includes 8,638 railroad ties, the railroad can reach a top speed of seven miles per hour. The 20-minute conductor-narrated tour takes riders through tunnels and past favorite animal exhibits.

The six locomotives each weigh an impressive 6,600 pounds and are named Daniel Boone (#45), Pierre Laclede (#46), Lewis & Clark (#47), Ulysses S. Grant (#48), Charlton Tandy (#49), and Emerson (#100).

Five trains (plus a spare engine) pull six coaches with seating capacity of 78 adult passengers per train. The trains were fitted in 1995 with a special coach to accommodate riders who use wheelchairs.

Zooline Railroad tickets are $7.95 per person and include all day on-off privileges for the day. Children under age 2 ride for free.

Prairie Farms Dairy Summer Zoo Weekends comes to a close on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3. The Zoo's summer hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Labor Day. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, the Zoo returns to its regular hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Zooline Railroad begins its daily run at 9 a.m. in summer and at 9:30 a.m. the rest of the year, weather and conditions permitting.


About the Saint Louis Zoo
Chosen as America's top free attraction and best zoo in USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards, the Saint Louis Zoo is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal care and management, wildlife conservation, research and education. One of the few free zoos in the nation, the Zoo attracts more than 3,000,000 visitors a year. For more information, visit,,,, Snapchat (saintlouiszoo), and