Program Registration and Payment
Advance reservations and pre-payment of any fees are required for all programs. To schedule a program, please call (314) 646-4544, #6. Program reservations can be made by phone, Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Have the following information available when you call:
- School name, address, phone number
- Teacher or other adult in charge of the group
- Grade level and number of students
- Age appropriate program choice(s) and alternative choices
- Preferred date and time, as well as alternative date and times
- Know your travel plans, including what time you can arrive and what time you will need to leave the Zoo
- Credit card information if paying by credit card
- If booking multiple programs, we will need each teacher’s name and e-mail address
Please note: Groups may register for only one classroom program and/or one guided tour per day.
Please complete on online request form here
A minimum of two months' notice is required for all programs if you want to pay by check. Programs scheduled between one to two months in advance, require full credit card payment at the time of scheduling. We are unable to schedule programs less than one month's notice.
Please plan your schedule carefully, since it may be difficult to reschedule if your plans change. Check your school calendar. When is your spring break? Do you have special testing days? Please note that Zoo education programs are quite popular and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Programs from Labor Day through December may be booked starting the first Monday in May. Programs from January through Memorial Day may be booked starting the last Monday in October.
Please click here for on grounds school program and tour prices.
Please click here for outreach program prices.
For school overnights, the fee is $1020 for up to 30 participants, students or adult, and $34 for each additional participant. Teachers and administrators are free! Maximum of 55 participants. A deposit of $340 is due 30 days after a program has been requested. The remaining total and a final number of participants are due 30 days prior to the program. Any program scheduled 2 months or less prior to the overnight will require full payment using a credit card at the time of booking.
Overnight programs will be canceled if your payment has not been received 30 days prior to the overnight program.
Occasionally, the Zoo receives grants from donors to provide financial assistance for specific programs. Financial assistance is not always available, so please contact the Education Office at (314) 646-4544, #6 to inquire about availability.
If you are interested in making a charitable contribution to support education programs at the Saint Louis Zoo, please call the Development Office at (314) 646-4691.
Please notify the Education Department at (314) 646-4544, #6, immediately if you need to cancel. Another group may be able to take your place.
One Month Prior to Program:
A refund will be issued minus a $5 cancellation fee if you notify the Education Department at least one month prior to your program. There is a $5 cancellation fee per program.
Between ten business days and one month Prior to Program:
You are entitled to a 50% program fee refund if you notify the Education Department between ten business days and one month prior to your program date.
Less than ten business days Prior to Program:
There is no refund for groups that cancel with less than ten business days' notice.
Refunds for Overnight Programs:
For Overnights a refund minus a $145 cancellation fee will be issued if you notify the Education Department at least two weeks prior to your overnight. There is no refund for groups that cancel with less than two weeks' notice.
Please note: In the event that your school and/or the Zoo is closed the day of your program due to weather, we will try to reschedule your program or issue a full refund. That decision will be made the day of your program.
If you have ordered group tickets, please contact the Group Ticket desk separately from the Education Department, at (314) 646-4718 with any cancellations or questions regarding your group. Please note that Group Tickets does not provide refunds on any pre-paid tickets.
Program transfers must be requested a minimum of one month in advance and will be subject to availability. Transfers are determined by resource (space, instructor, etc.) availability. A $5 transfer fee will be charged per program for the first transfer date. A $10 transfer fee will be charged for additional transfers. Transfer fees must be paid with credit card at the time requested. We cannot accommodate same day or next day transfers.
The Zoo is a rain or shine location! If rain is in the forecast, we suggest bringing ponchos and/or umbrellas. In the case of severe weather, the Zoo does have Severe Weather Shelter Areas.
Due to the needs of our animals, we cannot guarantee any specific animal species or type for your class. All animals presented will be appropriate for the program theme chosen.
Due to the variety of programs offered, we are unable to accommodate special instructor requests.
Programs that take place in the classroom may include live animals, biofacts, activities, demonstrations and/or discussions. If your class participates often in our programs, you may see the same animal(s) more than once. The number of animals used in the class is determined by the length and topic of the class.
All tours are conducted by Docents (trained education volunteers) and require about 45 minutes, including walking time from The Living World. In case of severe weather or special animal management situations, tours may visit alternate areas of the Zoo appropriate to the topic chosen. Groups meet on the lower level of The Living World. Please note that these tours are not behind-the-scenes tours. If you’d like to book an behind-the-scenes tour, more information can be found here.
Zoo policy requires children under age 14 to be accompanied by an adult or have an adult chaperone present at the Zoo (field trips, etc.)
A minimum of one adult chaperone per eight students is strongly recommended for your Zoo visit. This is required for all educational tours. Adult group supervisors must remain with the students; please do not make student discipline our job.
A maximum of two adult chaperones (one of whom must be the student's primary teacher) will be permitted in the classroom(s) with any given group, unless you reported that a student will be bringing an aide or paraprofessional with them. All other adults will need to wait elsewhere. If you have questions, please contact the registrars at (314) 646-4544, option #6.
Do I need to register my group for my visit to the Zoo, even if we are not booking a program or tour?
For tracking purposes, all schools and groups are now required to register before visiting the Zoo. Please let us know when you are coming by completing the school/group registration form. Whether you are scheduled for an educational program or tour, or just planning to tour the Zoo on your own, completing this information provides us with the necessary information to better serve your group, particularly in the event of an emergency. For questions regarding group registration, please call (314) 646-4544.
Please note: The school/group registration form is required only for group tracking purposes. To order group tickets and meals, please contact the Group Sales Office at (314) 646-4718 or firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks prior to your visit.
During the first hour that the Zoo is open, the Emerson Children’s Zoo, Conservation Carousel, and Stingrays at Caribbean Cove (available seasonally) is free to Zoo goers. See Hours & Prices for more detail on Zoo hours, which change seasonally.
Bus drop off/pick up – Buses may drop off and pick up passengers along the curb directly outside of the entrance of The Living World (North Entrance) of the Zoo. All busses should drop off/pick up passengers on the south side of the street, nearest the building. Please do NOT drop off on the opposite side of the street, for passenger safety.
Bus staging – Busses may WAIT to pull up in front of The Living World (North Entrance) in the southern lane along Government Drive.
At all times, please adhere to the bus loading signage along the street, as well as directions from Zoo staff.
There are several routes to take to get to the Zoo; congestion on the streets may cause a delay in your arrival time. We encourage you to plan extra travel time.
Bus Directions to The Living World
From US 40/I-64:
Option 1: Take the Hampton exit (34-B) and follow signs to Forest Park. At the first roundabout, turn left (west) on Wells Drive. Then, at the second roundabout, turn right onto Government Drive and arrive at the Zoo's North Entrance.
Option 2: Westbound Alternate Route: Take Clayton Road exit; turn right on Skinker, then right onto Wells Drive into Forest Park. Take the first roundabout, and turn onto Government Drive and arrive at the Zoo’s North Entrance.
Eastbound Alternate Route: Take McCausland exit, turn left on McCausland/Skinker, then right on Wells Drive into Forest Park. At the first roundabout, turn onto Government Drive and arrive at the Zoo's North Entrance.
Starting March 1, 2017, buses over 24 feet will no longer be able to park on our South Lot. Buses must obtain a permit to park in Forest Park through the City of Saint Louis Department of Parks. Parking permits are obtained by calling the Forest Park Permits Office at (314) 289-5330, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., or by completing an online application. You will be assigned to a designated lot for parking by the Parks Department. The parking permit fee is $5 per bus or commercial vehicle. Only check or money order payments are accepted. Parking permits must be requested two weeks or more before your scheduled fieldtrip. The Parks Department cannot guarantee a permit will be issued with less than two weeks’ notice.
Teachers or other bus users will need to provide their name, name and address of school/organization, date of visit, and the number of buses arriving at the time of their request. Permits will be mailed.
Please note: Your parking permit must be prominently displayed on the windshield of your bus during the time the vehicle is parked in Forest Park or you risk getting ticketed.
All-day parking is available on the Zoo's North Lot on Government Drive and South Lot on Wells Drive (not for buses). Limited street parking is available in Forest Park. All parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and is not guaranteed.
Only cash and charge are accepted for parking payment.
Parking fees subject to change. Parking for cars is free on the Forest Park streets around the Zoo, but please pay attention to no-parking zones, marked by signs. Parking rules are subject to change.
Students may bring sack lunches to the Zoo. (Glass bottles are prohibited.) However, we cannot store lunches. Please be prepared to carry lunches in backpacks or store them in your vehicles. Storage lockers are available at the North and South entrance of the Zoo for your convenience. The price for a storage locker ranges from $8 - $10. You are welcome to enjoy your lunch at any of our outdoor tables or benches, except those on the terrace at the Cafe Kudu and at Lakeside Cafe. See Picnic Map for places to enjoy your lunch.
For information on lunch at the Zoo, special attractions at special group rates and other savings for field trip groups, see Group Visits.
- Mondays and Tuesdays are traditionally our least busy days; Fridays are typically the busiest.
- December, January, and February are typically the least busy months of the school year.
- Note: school programs are only available from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Docent-led tours are available year-round.
- Make sure to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately! The Zoo is a rain or shine location!
- Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Encourage everyone to bring a reusable water bottle, which can be filled at our many water fountains.
- Discuss how to be respectful to the animals and other guests. When you're on Zoo grounds, please help us keep our animals safe and our grounds beautiful. Do not allow students to throw food or other items into the animal exhibits, or try to touch the animals. Please respect our flowers and plants by not picking or collecting them. While touring the grounds, be mindful and courteous of other visitors around you.