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Key Info

Government Drive

Price & Hours

8 or 9 a.m.-5 or 7 p.m. daily, depending on se...


Zoos and Aquariums, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! The Saint Louis Zoo does house these three types of mammals, but it also boards armadillos, sloths, swans, penguins, turtles, gators and tarantulas, along with many other kinds of creatures. And over at the Caribbean Cove, you can run your hands over an assortment of stingrays (clipped of their stingers).

But the wide assortment of animals isn't the only reason why past visitors praised this St. Louis attraction. Many recent travelers raved about the free admission, as well as the large, natural enclosures created for the animals. In fact, the zoo is so large that you may want to set aside more than one day to explore this expansive property. And if you're hoping to avoid swarms of people, arrive early or plan your visit during a weekday.

The zoo – situated in St. Louis' expansive Forest Park – is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in the fall, winter and spring (except on holidays and during the zoo's annual U.S. Bank Wild Lights holiday display). Extended hours are available every summer. Admission into the zoo is free, but extras, such as rides on the Conservation Carousel and the Zooline Railroad, do cost a small fee. To maximize savings during your visit, consider buying an Adventure Pass, which costs $12.95 per person and includes admission into most of the zoo's additional activities (you can save $1 by purchasing in advance online). There are also fee-based parking lots and several eateries, bathroom facilities and gift shops located throughout the property. You can also reach the zoo by taking the bus (No. 90) or the Forest Park Trolley. To find out more about zoo events and facilities, visit the attraction's website.

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Time to Spend
#1 Gateway Arch

This monument to the country's westward expansion is also an engineering marvel, which St. Louisans remain proud of more than 50 years after its construction. The stainless steel Gateway Arch, which was designed and submitted by Eero Saarinen during a national competition, rises 630 feet into the air and spans 630 feet from leg to leg. Visitors can learn more about the history of the arch at the Museum of Westward Expansion and the Gateway Arch Visitors Center. Opened in July 2018, the building sits below the arch and includes six new galleries that detail the history of the West. What's more, the park now boasts more than 5 miles of walking and biking paths.

Although it's free to enjoy on the ground, many former travelers suggest paying the $10 to $13 fee to ride to the top of the Gateway Arch, citing its incredible aerial views. For another stunning vantage point during the warmer months, consider buying a one-hour sightseeing cruise ticket, which costs $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 to 15. Tickets for both activities can be purchased in advance on the Gateway Arch ticket portal.

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