St. Louis Zoo – An Amazing Free Adventure!

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If you are heading to St. Louis, Missouri anytime soon, we would highly recommend allocating some time to visit the zoo there. We have been to St. Louis several times before, however this time we decided to visit a number of new attractions. We left around 4am on a Saturday morning and arrived in St.Louis shortly after 9am. The 5 hour drive helped us figure out a game plan for where we wanted to start.

We decided that heading to Forest Park, home of the St Louis Zoo was the best place to explore earlier on a Saturday morning. Given that neither of us had ever been there before, we thought this was a wonderful opportunity.

st louis zoo

What You Need to Know

St. Louis Zoo is located in the heart of Forest Park and with admission being free (yes that’s not a mistake, you read it correctly…the Zoo is a FREE attraction!) it is a no brainer that you will want to visit here.

I will be perfectly honest that I didn’t have too many expectations heading inside the zoo given that it was free because nowadays there are not too many cool attractions around with no admission price. I was quickly proven wrong and this experience is anything but a boring attraction!

Just as a reminder, here are the key facts about St Louis Zoo:

Admission – FREE (Some attractions have minimal fees)

Hours (Winter) – 9:00AM to 5:00PM (Longer hours in the summer)

Parking – $15 for the ‘official’ parking lot, however there is ample FREE parking available in and around Forest Park

St Louis Zoo Experience – The Wildlife

From the moment that you walk through the doors of the visitor center and head to the first encounter, you immediately realize you are inside a pretty special place. Many zoos are poorly maintained but this is far from the truth at St. Louis Zoo.

The sound of the train passing through the zoo is a constant reminder of the opportunities available for all the family to enjoy a journey on the zoo line railroad.

lichtenstein penguin cove

The collection of animals inside the zoo can make your visit a full day experience. We spent half a day here and still felt like we missed some of the animals. Just watching the animals move around in their environments is a cool experience but of course we are all going to have our favorites that we prefer to visit.

st louis zoo

I personally love penguins and watching their quirky movements as they are either waddling around on the rocks, or zipping around underwater. The Lichtenstein Penguin Cove has been renovated over the last few years and this exhibit is a credit to St Louis Zoo and clearly well maintained.

st louis zoo

Rather than given a detailed look on all the animals you can experience inside the zoo, I urge you to take a trip to St. Louis to check them out for yourselves. From the amazing orangutans to the careful movements and prowess of the lions, this is an unforgettable experience.

st louis zoo

Natural Environments

One of the huge selling points of this zoo in my opinion is the quality of the exhibits and environments that the animals can enjoy. Frequently you see zoo animals kept in cages with very little space to move, and certainly nothing that is comparable to the natural habitats that they can relate to.

st louis zoo

St. Louis Zoo has gone above and beyond to ensure that all of the environments provide a landscape where all the animals can enjoy. The Asian elephants in particular have an incredibly large amount of space to roam and with this you see more natural movements from the animals themselves.


If you are visiting St. Louis, Missouri you will soon find out that there are plenty of free attractions to experience. This is undoubtedly one of the selling points of the Gateway City and St Louis Zoo definitely falls into this category given the awesome experience you can have with all the family inside Forest Park.

Not only can you visit the Zoo inside Forest Park, but there are a myriad of other free attractions not to mention just strolling around the beautiful landscapes throughout this green space within the heart of St. Louis.

If you love cheap or even free attractions, you will love St. Louis Zoo. If you love wildlife and are more of a conservationist, I urge you to visit this zoo because in my opinion this is a credit to the city in the way they treat the animals with love and respect.

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Heather Boothman
Heather Boothman is the co-founder of A Brit and A Southerner. Born and in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Heather has always been a fond traveler but was only able to start fulfilling her dreams of traveling the world when she met her husband, Chris in 2008. They have since embarked on an amazing journey of travel as they challenge others to follow in their paths of working full-time but also being able to travel frequently! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Heather at [email protected]


  1. I wish I known about this when I was in St. Louis because we were soo bored when my friends and I were there! Even the friend we were visiting who lived in St. Louis told us there’s nothing much to do around the city and it was incredible how empty downtown was!

    • The Zoo is awesome! It’s pretty sad for us to say that St. Louis is one of the highlights within driving distance for a weekend trip from Jonesboro, AR but that’s the harsh reality. There isn’t a great deal to do there aside from the Zoo, downtown isn’t great unless you have an interest in baseball and seeing Busch Stadium is a good experience.

      One other great thing to do is take a tour of the Anheuser Busch brewery which is another free attraction but aside from that you begin to struggle!


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