Monday, February 8, 2016

St. Louis Zoo

St. Louis Trip, Day 2 - Saturday, July 25, 2015
It's high time I finish my series on our St. Louis trip last summer.  Our next stop after visiting Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was the St. Louis Zoo.   We had heard it was very impressive, and since my sister loves animals, we really wanted to see it.  The only problem?  Everyone else in the city seemed to want to visit the zoo!  There was a long line of cars waiting to find parking.
After spending 20 minutes trying to find parking, we were almost discouraged enough to head back to our dorms, as we had to be at Webster University at 4:30 p.m. for chess game analysis.  But, we finally found a spot and headed into the zoo at 1:40, giving ourselves 2 hours before we had to leave and find our way back.  
Admission was free and there were people *everywhere*!  Inside the main building were gift shops, but we did not have time to explore them.  Outside there were vendors, artists, a carousel, and a train, which adults and children alike could take a ride on.  It was very hot.  There were large fans here and there misting cold water  for visitors to cool off.
Above are flamingos, pelicans, East African crowned cranes, and an ostrich.  As part of its animal enrichment program, the St. Louis Zoo avoids cages and the like as much as possible, opting instead for natural barriers and moats to separate the animals.  Some compatible animals from similar habitats (like ostriches and giraffes) live together.  
Some of the first animals we saw were the primates.  The gorillas (not shown) were eating a lunch of what looked like lettuce or cabbage.  Perhaps the funnest creatures to watch and photograph in the whole zoo were the prairie dogs.
The Cypress Swamp is housed by the oldest structure of the St. Louis Zoo.  Known as the 1904 Flight Cage, it was built by the Smithsonian Institution--at a cost of $17,500--to house the U.S. Bird Exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World's Fair).  At the time, it was the largest bird cage ever built.   The Smithsonian had intended to move the cage to the Washington zoo following the exposition, but the City of St. Louis bought it instead, for only $3,500. 
My great grandpa, Harry MacArthur, told stories of selling popcorn at the World's Fair.  He was eight years old, and never forgot that exciting event.  We wonder if he took the time to see the Flight Cage.  
Above is a souvenir Grandpa MacArthur had from his brother Frank from St. Louis in 1905. 
There were all sorts of deer, gazelles, and other prey animals.  The wild pigs were all sleeping/lounging around.  I guess they figured it was too hot to do anything else.
We didn't see very many of the big cats, though we did spy one lioness in a tree.  The lions and other cats seemed to be under more security than other animals--in pits with moats surrounding.  I guess it would be pretty bad if any of them escaped, so the security precautions are appreciated--by other animals and humans alike!

The only animals that really seemed caged were the outdoor lemurs.  Some of them were sleeping--and the ring-tailed lemurs reminded me of raccoons.
Side-by-side are the Primate House and the Herpetarium.  The primate house had more lemurs...and primates.  I thought the herpetarium was a lot more interesting.  If you saw the creatures there in your dreams, you'd be having nightmares.  The Haitian giant anole on the left (moulting!) is one of the friendlier-looking creatures there.  On the right is a green anaconda.  

You could also meet a reticulated python, various lizards and turtles, a boa constrictor, tomistoma, iguana, pitviper, and other fascinating creatures.

By the time we got through the herpetarium, time was short, so we walked as quickly as we could (considering the foot traffic), glancing at the hippopotamuses, hyenas, fish, and other remaining creatures, and briefly greeting an elephant before leaving.  
We made it to our van on schedule, and headed back to our dorms. I'd definitely recommend a more leisurely schedule, and a less hot and busy day to other prospective zoo-goers.   But I was glad we stopped.  It's a very nice zoo, and we made the most of our two hours!
Linking with Saturday's Critters.

32 comments:

  1. Fantastic tour of a well stocked zoo! You did pack it all ! I think I may even suffer nightmares from seeing the anaconda ! Snakes frequently give me nightmares!

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    1. Oooh, hope you quickly forget the photo! Sweet dreams (m̶u̶h̶a̶h̶a̶h̶a̶) ;)

      Thanks for stopping by Christine!

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  2. Hello Bethany, what a fabulous zoo. I love all the animals and the birds. The Cypress Swamp exhibit is awesome. The elephants are one of my favorite animals. Thanks for sharing your visit. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

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    1. Thank you for hosting, Eileen! Have a great week!

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  3. That is good to hear of the wait to find parking in a zoo. Glad to know they are still being supported and attended. Even better that you all got in. Someday you should go to the Brookfield zoo in Chicago. Great one. I miss the days of class teips to the zoo. Thank you and God bless.

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    1. Yes, we were very happy to finally find a parking spot! It was a fun visit. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. PS, thank you for linking up and sharing your critter post. Enjoy your day!

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  5. That looks like a neat zoo! I'd love to go visit St. Louis sometime. It looks like you had a good time!

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    1. There are so many interesting places to visit in St. Louis! We had a great time, but weren't able to hit every attraction.

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  6. 2 hours is way too short for me, at least for a big zoo. Though I never go to big attractions on fri, sat, or sun because that's where you fight the crowds

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    1. More time would have afforded a much more leisurely experience, but it looked like that was the only time slot we would be able to visit...so we took the chance we had. :)

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  7. I enjoyed the views of what you saw at the zoo, and the story of your family connection to it. I wonder why we don't have World's Fairs anymore? Although I have not been to the St. Louis zoo, I have good memories of going to the Kansas City, MO Swope Park Zoo as a child. If you go to KC you might enjoy the zoo and also enjoy viewing a production at the Starlight Theater there. xx

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    1. I hadn't heard of any recent World's Fairs either, so I looked it up on Wiki, and it looks like the last held in the United States was in 1984. Kazakhstan is supposed to host Expo 2017.

      Glad you have good memories of visiting the zoo as a child. The last time (before this) that we had visited a real zoo was in Portland, OR when I was 7 or 8. Thanks for recommending the KC one. :) Take care!

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  8. I love visiting zoos. This one is great, too

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  9. Such great photos of a very fun day Bethany!! Thanks for sharing. I love that you always have such interesting facts thrown in too. ;)
    Blessings Sweetie! xoxo

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carrie! God bless!

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  10. What a fun place! :) How fun that they have prairie dogs...our local zoo used to have them, but haven't for many years now. :(
    Guess what? I nominated you for the Infinity Dreams Award! If you should choose to participate, here's the link: http://todaylibertyordeath.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks for thinking of me Paige! They were very interesting creatures to watch!

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  11. Looks like a wonderful zoo! I would probably spend most of my time in the flight cage, since I am especially fond of birds. Thanks for the tour Bethany!

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    1. It was fun seeing the beautiful birds! Thank you for stopping by, Lois!

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  12. Bud and I were there YRS ago....and it was impressive back then....I'm sure it's even more so now. I enjoyed tagging along with you and your sister...a zoo excursion is always worth it.

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  13. What a wonderful tour! I love that they try to avoid cages as much as possible and opt for more natural barriers instead. That is wonderful. The visit must have zipped right by and you probably would have liked more time to explore, but I bet you were grateful for the time you had! Better that than nothing.

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    1. Indeed! We were worried we wouldn't be able to see it at all.

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  14. Wow, this looks like quite a trip and sounds like such a great, caring zoo! You got some wonderful pictures!

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  15. Love visiting good zoos! I've only ever driven past St. Louis, but one of these years, I'd like to spend some time there, there's a few destinations I'd love to see!

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    1. Oooh, there were so many great-looking destinations that looked fun to visit. I wish we had had time for more sightseeing, but we did our best with the time we had...and had a very fun time.

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