FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 4, 2019
Stingrays at Caribbean Cove Opens April 5 at Saint Louis Zoo
Stingrays at Caribbean Cove presented by SSM Health opens at the Saint Louis Zoo on Friday, April 5 and runs through Oct. 31, 2019.
Cownose rays and southern stingrays, along with bonnethead, brown-banded and white-spotted bamboo sharks glide through a 17,000-gallon warm saltwater pool located under the Edward Jones Pavilion. Guests are encouraged to dip their hands into the water and allow the animals to touch them. There will be opportunities throughout the day to feed the stingrays. These are hardy species that interact well with people in a safe and fun manner.
The 20-inch deep pool includes a waterfall and a state-of-the-art life support system. The pool also has solitary space and places for the animals to rest if they choose. Zoo interpreters and educators will be on hand to help visitors and to share information about the animals, sustainable seafood and ocean conservation.
"SSM Health is proud to partner with an institution like the Saint Louis Zoo whose mission and values so closely align with our own," says Candace Jennings, Regional President for SSM Health in St. Louis. "The Zoo is committed to compassionate care of its animals and to offering an exceptional experience to families. We applaud its dedication to conservation and to the animals featured in the Stingrays at Caribbean Cove exhibit."
Admission to Stingrays at Caribbean Cove is $3.95 per person for ages 2 and up. Children under age 2 are free. Zoo members at the Family Level and above may use their Anywhere Plus passes for admission. Admission is free the first hour the Zoo is open. Food for feeding stingrays is $1 per cup.
Visitors can enjoy a full day at the Zoo with all the amenities for just $12.95 with the Adventure Pass and receive free admission to Stingrays at Caribbean Cove and other attractions. Groups of 15 or more may call (314) 646-4718 in advance for group discounts.
Underwater photos documenting the one-of-a-kind experience with stingrays is available for additional purchase.
Tropical Traders Gift Shop will offer a variety of ocean-related souvenirs, including plush stingrays and other sea life items, shark merchandise, T-shirts, nautical gifts and more.
Stingrays at Caribbean Cove will be open April 5 through Oct. 31 during Zoo hours. The Zoo's spring hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through May 23.
From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, May 24 through September 2, the Zoo is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday (and on Memorial Day and Labor Day) for Prairie Farms Dairy Summer Zoo Weekends. The Zoo will close at 12 p.m. on Friday, June 21, for ZOOFARI presented by Wells Fargo Advisors, the Zoo's biennial fundraiser.
About Sharks and Stingrays
The bonnethead shark is the smallest member of the hammerhead family. They have semi-circular heads resembling a shovel or bonnet. Bamboo sharks are sometimes called "cat sharks" because the barbels, or sensory organs, near their mouths resemble cat whiskers.
The sharks at Stingrays at Caribbean Cove are small, docile fish and pose no danger to humans. They range from 2 ½ to 4 feet in length and are bottom-dwelling species that prey on small fish, crabs and invertebrates. Visitors will not be feeding the sharks, but they may be able to touch the sharks as they swim by.
Cownose rays and southern stingrays are related to sharks. Stingrays have flat bodies, long pointed fins and long whip-like tails that can be used for defense against predators. At Stingrays at Caribbean Cove, the stingrays' barbs are painlessly clipped back just as human fingernails are clipped. Staff at the exhibit will monitor the stingrays throughout the season to ensure that the barbs stay neatly trimmed.
Summer Education Programs
The Zoo's Education Department is planning several programs for children and adults throughout the summer which include adventures at Stingrays at Caribbean Cove. Some programs include A Day with the Rays, Advanced Day with the Rays, Camp KangaZoo and more. For information on programs, visit stlzoo.org/education, or call (314) 646-4544.
About Living Exhibits
Animal and veterinary care for the stingrays is supervised by a full-time exhibit supervisor and an assistant exhibit supervisor from Living Exhibits, a Scottsdale, AZ-based corporation that produces and manages interactive exhibits for zoos, aquariums and museums.