Recently, I went to the Zoo in town yet again, because the St. Louis Zoo is pretty rad. It might be my favorite part of the whole dang city (and there’s a lotta parts of St. Louis, fer sure). Some sweet deets on the zoo include:
- It’s over 100 years old and has 19,000+ animals
- It resides in the lovely Forest Park, which is probably the 2nd raddest place on my list of St. Louis places (partly due to housing the zoo, yes)
- It super-duper free admission, due to a small property tax citizens pay – l gladly send five bucks-ish a year for free admission & frolicking at the zoo year-round
- Best of all – THERE ARE PENGUINS
Unfortunately, the penguins habitat that they share with the puffins has been closed due to construction for a very large, exciting looking polar bear habitat. Which is all well and good because polar bears have been absent from the St. Louis Zoo for a while now, and the habitat is shaping up to look pretty cool and will look super awesome when done if it’s anything like the press release photos.
But it’s still a lack of penguins.
Luckily! The Zoo provides a webcam to spy on said penguins (and their puffin friends! Who are cool too, but, y’know, not penguins).
With penguins absent, my focus shifts to the following sections (not necessarily in this order):
Okay, I lied: I like lizards probably the most after the penguins. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of creepy snakes as well in the Herpetarium, as it houses all sorts of reptiles as well as amphibians. I tend to glance quickly at the snakes and then hurry away. The various lizards are always delightful to me, in large part because they look like wee-dinosaurs.
This area has two primary focuses: hoofed fellas and big toothy cats. The cats have this uncanny ability to either remind me of my cats based on how much they’re usually snoozing when I’m in this section. But, they also tend to be terrifyingly huge. The amount of variety in gazelles, antelope, horsey-fellas and more in the areas just off from the big cats is astounding. (And always makes me wonder which ones the lions/tigers/snow leopard would head for first if they got out and where hungry…). Of special interest is the bizarre Okapi, who looks like a mash-up between a giraffe, zebra and antelope and is super cute.
River’s Edge is a unique area in the way that it’s laid out – there’s a lot of walking through very winding pathways that are nestled in lots of trees and tall rocks, blocking out other buildings and making you feel like you’ve teleported into various continents to see the animals hanging out. Animals that get along with each other are mixed together like the red river hog and bat-eared fox. There’s a new Painted Dog habitat, but so far they’ve been hiding or snoozing when I’ve visited.
I’ve heard tell that when it gets cold enough the penguins mingle outside their normal habitat and just waddle along zoo visitor pathways. I’m not sure if that would happen this year with all the construction, but maybe? If not, I suppose 2015 isn’t too far off, and then there’ll be some polar bears swimming about as well as penguins.