Little Abbey is of the age where anyplace we go seems to include a stop at the local zoo. In this case, we hit up the St. Louis Zoo which as it turns out is completely free. Although the free zoos that I have visited over the years have been good for kids, they generally only have a small variety of animals, the enclosures are small and stark, and the overall park lacks amenities such as shady benches here and there to rest the weary feet while we contemplate the animals before us. The St. Louis Zoo is an exception in every way.
We arrived on the hottest day of the year down there so far just after lunch and as we sat with the car running eating our lunches before entering, I wasn't looking forward to the walk across the black asphalt parking lot to the entrance. I have to report that it was just as hot of a walk as it looked and by the time we reached the entrance I was already sweating bullets.
The first odd thing to strike me was upon entering the gate right by the souvenir shop, I immediately started looking for the ticket booth and reaching for my wallet. It took a few moments for it to soak in that this was indeed a free zoo (thanks to the taxpayers of St. Louis or perhaps all of Missouri) and that I could simply just walk in. We picked up our free map and hit the trails.
Being a weekday with school in session and a hot one at that, I thought we might have the place to ourselves but evidently the word was out because there were people everywhere. I can't imagine what it looks like on a summer Saturday afternoon but I would guess the place is a zoo. (Pun intended.)
Never the less, as I alluded to above, there were lots of shady benches here and there so when the walking got to hot for the three Filipina's that were with me, we had plenty of places to rest our feet. You would think that coming from a tropical country right near the equator they could handle the heat better than me but that certainly wasn't the case.
The "cages" for the animals were some of the largest I have seen giving the animals plenty of opportunity to roam around which made it hard at times to capture them on "film" even with a telephoto lens on but I didn't mind. I still felt I was right there in the cage most of the time. We spent all afternoon there and still only managed to get through a little over half of the zoo. I guess we will have to save the rest for next time.
The only disappointment was that the dolphin show was closed during the weekdays so I couldn't take my daughter to see one but that was still only a small disappointment. My daughter and myself included were thrilled in every other way. So if you are in St. Louis, you can't beat the going to the zoo for the afternoon for entertainment and you certainly can't beat the price.