2009 Family Vacation ~ St. Louis Zoo

Day 2 of our family vacation was spent mostly at the St. Louis Zoo. Admission to the zoo itself is free, but there are charges to do any additional activities. Parking on site is $11, but there was none available, so after driving the entire circuit half a dozen times we ended up parking at the St. Louis Art Museum and walking to the zoo. (The zoo was quite crowded, but the Art Museum is closed on Mondays, so there was plenty of parking there.) Since admission was free and we knew the kids would want to ride the train & the carousel, we decided to purchase Safari Passes. These are $10/each for ages 1+, but saved us quite a bit overall. They are good for admission to the Children’s Zoo, Zooline Railroad, Sea Lion Show (seasonal), Conservation Carousel, and Motion Simulator. We did everything except the show, and it would have cost us $96 rather than $60 if we had paid for each individually.

First thing we did was ride the Zooline Railroad completely around the park. There weren’t really that many animals visible, and we had to stay on for the entire trip because of not being able to bring our stroller on board. We did get a good view of the tigers, and the kids enjoyed going through a few tunnels and waiving at all the other zoo visitors. Grayson really enjoyed the train and insisted we were riding Thomas. (The engine pulling the actual train we were on was blue.)
Our next stop was the Children’s Zoo. I was shocked that Grayson willingly touched the guinea pig and enjoyed it. (He’s not much of an animal person…wonder where he gets it.) He also crawled into the cubby with Kara to see the snake up close. He was so brave! There were really cute animals in the Children’s Zoo…pictured below is Kara’s proclaimed ‘favorite animal at the zoo’…the Meerkat. I love the expression he has…kinda like ‘What are you guys looking at me like that for?’ Adorable.
After convincing Greg to participate in a cute photo op, we began our tour of the actual animals.
The weather was actually pretty nice. It wasn’t scorching hot, and there was a nice occasional breeze. When asked, the kids each came up with what animal they wanted to see most at the zoo. Grayson’s choice was the elephant. I don’t think he realized how large an elephant actually is.
Trinity’s choice was the penguins. I must admit they were absolutely adorable. The fishy smell of ‘Penguin & Puffin Coast‘ was almost too much for me to handle (it didn’t seem to bother anyone else), but the cool air stopped the kids complaining for a few minutes…they were then freezing, of course.
Kylie’s animal of choice was the lion, and Kara’s was the monkey. We didn’t get to actually see the monkey, but we did get to see a gorilla and to a kid that is close enough…thank heavens.

The Conservation Carousel was a HUGE hit! Grayson even enjoyed it after I forced him (kicking and screaming) to sit on the animal he chose. Once the ride began he was all smiles…he was very excited to ride ‘Diego’s Jaguar’ (didn’t have the heart to tell him it was really Cheetah…not that he would have believed me anyway.) The girls rode again, and would have continued to ride the remainder of the afternoon if we had let them.

Once we peeled the children away from the carousel, we made our way to the Motion Simulator.
It was titled ‘Dino Island II: Escape From Dino Island’, and was recommended for children 5+. We thought Grayson would be fine because he likes dinosaurs. Well, he wouldn’t even sit in the seat, so Greg had to hold him. He then refused to put on his 3D glasses and spent the entire ride with his head buried in Greg’s chest. Because he wouldn’t sit in his own seat, they had to turn off the motion part of Greg’s seat. For the rest of us, we were thrashed about like rag dolls. It was actually a bit too much, I thought. Coupled with the ridiculously loud shrieking (from fun, not fear) coming from Kylie & Kara, I didn’t know what the heck was going on in the movie…nor did anyone else in the simulator, I’m sure.
One of the last animals we saw on our way out was the tiger. Have you ever heard a tiger ‘meow’? It was the coolest thing. The kids kept asking what that noise was, and didn’t really believe me when I told them it was ‘meowing’. Kylie said he sounded sad.
On our way out, we were stopped by woman asking if I could take a picture of her and her husband. She did the same for us. It’s nice to have a picture containing our entire family…even if Grayson was conked out.

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