ST. LOUIS, MO – Voted America’s top free attraction in 2016, the St. Louis Zoo is regarded for its 17,482 wild animals and over 3,000,000 visitors every single year. The zoo, located on 90 acres of beautiful Forest Park, is home to more than 588 species of animals, many of them rare and endangered. The St. Louis Zoo is one of the last few free zoos available to the public in the U.S. today.
History of St. Louis Zoo
The Zoo was officially founded in 1910 via the formation of the Zoological Society of St. Louis. The first zoo director, George Vierheller, set out to attract international attention to the St. Louis Zoo through animal shows, which were incredibly popular during the time. That tradition has continued throughout the Zoo’s history, with animal stars adept in entertainment art today.
Up to present day, visitors can read the “Evolve” publication, which features the highlights of the history of the Zoo between the years of 2002 and 2012. Over the past several years, the publication reports that the Zoo achieved notable status across the globe for conservation initiatives. The Zoo also expanded in size, garnering it attention as a number one tourist attraction in the city of St. Louis today.
Classified as a tax-supported political sub-district of the State of Missouri, the Zoo is a government agency with restrictions on how it raises and spends its money. The Zoo also has a nonprofit partner today, the St. Louis Zoo Association, which is dedicated to raising funds and donations to keep the Zoo in pristine condition without requiring admission fees.
The Sub-district Commission is the governing authority that governs the Zoo. The decision was decided by the Missouri State Legislature from its inception. Five members of the Commission reside in the City and fiver members reside in the County. The Commission has the fiduciary and management responsibility for the overall well-being and longevity of the Zoo.
At this time, the St. Louis Zoo Executive Staff includes:
- Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D. Dana Brown President & CEO
- Michael Macek, Chief Operating Officer
- Steve Barth, Vice President, Business Operations & CFO
- Jack Grisham, Vice President, Animal Collections
- Dustin Deschamp, Vice President, Internal Relations
- Cynthia S. Holter, CFRE Vice President, External Relations
- David McGuire, AIA William Bernoudy Vic President, Architecture & Planning
Cassandra Ray, Director, Finance
- R. Eric Miller, DVM Executive Director, WildCare Institute
As a 90-acre Zoo, there’s a lot to do and see at the St. Louis Zoo. Visitors can go to the River’s Edge, an immersion exhibit with bush dogs, black rhinos, capybaras, anteaters, Asian elephants, and more. There’s The Wild, where penguins, prairie dogs, orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas roam. There’s the Discovery Corner for children to discover butterflies, goats, meerkats, alpacas, pigs, and more. There’s Historic Hill, equipped with a Bird House and Bird Garden, plus a Herpatarium, and Chain of lakes. Lastly, there’s Red Rocks, with lions, tigers, zebras, and more, plus the Lakeside Crossing, with sea lions and stingrays in a Caribbean Cove (seasonal option).
A map of the Zoo is available on their website.