Have some time to spend in St. Louis with your kids (or even without?) Animals are always fun to watch and learn about! When you can interact with them, it’s even better! Every place we mention today has options for interacting with animals! In this post, we’re going to tell you some of our favorites! Whether you are a local making a day trip, or a traveler looking for something entertaining to do, we have some options for you!
Where to See Animals in St. Louis
St. Louis Zoo
This is probably the most obvious of the list! The zoo is one of the most visited attractions in St. Louis, and for good reason! We love the St. Louis zoo. The best thing about it is… admission is free!
This zoo has around 500 species of animals inhabiting 90 acres in Forest Park. The St. Louis zoo is committed to wildlife conservation and conservation science, and is recognized worldwide for it’s animal care, so you can really feel good about visiting!
How much time do you need to spend at the St. Louis Zoo?
I would recommend at least a half day to visit. We usually make a full day of it, and still don’t see it all! This zoo can get pretty crowded (it’s the most visited attraction in St. Louis), so if you only have a half day to spend, closer to closing time is my favorite time to be there. The crowds thin out a lot and you can get a whole exhibit to yourselves.
Although the admission here is free, we all know how much you can end up spending at a zoo! Get some tips to save money, as well as other tips for planning your day at this massive zoo.
Grant’s Farm is such a fun place to see animals! The Busch Family has owned Grant’s Farm since 1903 and opened it to the public in 1954. They advertise that admission is free, but know that you do have to pay a fee to park. However, you can save a little on this by purchasing your parking ticket ahead of time online.
The most iconic Grant’s Farm animals to visit are the Clydesdale horses. You can walk through their barn and out to the pastures.
If you’re looking for an extra special experience, tickets can be purchased to get up close and personal with them. This allows you to see how the caretakers raise and train the horses. You will also get the opportunity to pet them and get a photo if you opt for this experience!
My kids’ favorite thing here is the goat petting zoo. Purchase a bottle of milk and go in the pen to feed them! This is a must-do every single time we visit!
Aside from the animals, you can see Grant’s cabin, which was built by Ulysses S. Grant in 1855. The other historic buildings on the property are beautiful, and perfect photo opportunities!
Also, If you are 21+ years old, don’t miss the free beer sample, courtesy of Anheuser-Busch!
Important to Know
Something that you will definitely want to know is that Grant’s Farm does NOT accept cash- debit and credit cards only.
Also, check their website before you plan your trip because their hours change in the off seasons! For fall of 2022, they are open on weekends, or you can book a private behind-the-scenes tour during the weekdays.
Our third option is a little bit of a lesser known place to see animals in St. Louis. Suson Park is a park that has a working animal farm on it, and you can visit for free! Since Suson Park is also just a regular county park, it’s also the perfect place for a picnic with the family.
The nice thing about Suson Park is that you don’t need as much time as you would at the zoo or Grant’s Farm. So, if you’re just looking for somewhere to spend a couple hours, this is the place!
Here, you are able to walk through the barns, feed the goats, and pet some of the animals. My kids were especially amazed at how huge some of the pigs were and loved getting to watch them being fed.
Suson Park is open from 8:00am to 30 minutes past sunset (as of fall 2022), every day.
St. Louis Aquarium
Next on our list is the St. Louis Aquarium. This aquarium is located inside Union Station. This is a relatively small aquarium, but we love it anyway!
When you come in, you start out with a “train ride” that takes you underwater. The ride is narrated by John Goodman, and is just so fun! You can skip this part if you want, but if you have never experienced it, I would highly recommend not skipping this!
Favorite exhibits here include a 250,000 gallon shark tank and a sting ray touch tank. There are also several areas where kids can play, including some interactive games. My kids’ favorite is a touch-screen game where you can clean trash out of the ocean.
If you’re looking to spend a whole day, don’t worry! Union Station has so many other things to do. After visiting the aquarium, you can do the ropes course, ferris wheel, and carousel. In addition, there is shopping, restaurants, and a nightly light show on the pond!
Important to Know
Tickets frequently sell out, so purchasing online ahead of time is recommended.
Big Joel’s Safari
Big Joel’s Safari is a family-owned, walk-through safari park and petting zoo. They have bison, zebra, ostriches, lemurs, and more. You can purchase feed for some of the animals for $3 or $5 or have a parakeet encounter for only $1!
Another option is to ride a pony or a camel. These are weather permitting and subject to change!
You can spend a couple of hours or half a day at this safari park. Important to know: Big Joel’s closes at 3:00 p.m. on weekdays, including Friday (Fall 2022).
There you have it! If you’re looking to spend some time in St. Louis with animal-loving children (or adults!), here are five great options! Keep an eye out for more posts, because we will be elaborating on some of these places, and adding more!
Let us know in the comments, have you been to any (or all) of these places? Which one is your favorite?
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