Parents are always looking for safe activities for their kids during the Halloween season. Kids just want to have fun. What better way to accomplish both objectives than with a trip to the St. Louis Zoo? Boo at the Zoo is a great way to spend quality time with the kids and offers them safe and fun trick-or-treat activities they look forward to all year long.
Mercy Children’s Hospital Boo At The Zoo
St. Louis Zoo
1 Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
Date: Oct. 18-30, 2013
Fall is in the air. Days are shorter. Air is crisp and cool, and children of all ages are anticipating the onset of All Hallow’s Eve, otherwise known as Halloween. As kids plan costumes and the great candy haul, the folks at the St. Louis Zoo are busy preparing for a different Halloween celebration.
Beginning on October 18 and running through the 30th, you can bring your little ghouls and goblins to the zoo and spend the evenings celebrating the season with safe and free trick-or-treating and a world full exotic animals and exhibits.
Here are just some of the exciting things you will see at Boo at the Zoo this season.
A long-time favorite of generations of zoo fans is the seal exhibit. Sea Lion Sound has evolved into the present day 1.5-acre, $18 million sea lion extravaganza. This wondrous display lets you enjoy sea lions as close to their natural habitat as can be had in the nation’s Midwest. Walk through the underwater tunnel and interact with these playful creatures as if you were swimming with them in the water. Sea Lion Sound is currently home to 11 California sea lions and one harbor seal. Start your Boo at the Zoo enjoyment a little early and stop in for feeding time. Seals are fed at 11:15 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily, and admission to this exhibit is always free of charge.
During the fall, you can take in a show on weekends. Sea Lion Superstars Roby, Rosie, Bennie, Dixi and Nikki, and two-year-old Mandy, jump, balance, toss Frisbees and more at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the Sea Lion Superstars show is $4 per person. Children under two are free.
After your fun with the seals, make sure you make your way to the Fragile Forest and Jungle of the Apes. The St. Louis Zoo is host to a fabulous primate exhibit. The refuge houses chimpanzees, orangutans and western lowland gorillas. In fact, our zoo is the first to form a bachelor group of gorillas and received a Significant Achievement Award from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association in 1998 for forming an all-male group of gorillas. Enjoy watching these intriguing animals in their natural habitat as they play and swing from the treetops. Admission is free.
Penguin and Puffin Coast is a must-see for your trick-or-treaters. Indoors and outdoors, you can experience the world of the Antarctic and the antics of gentoo, rockhopper and king penguins as well as horn, tufted and king elder puffins. The 22-foot waterfall and tide pools are replicas of their native habitat, and mood lighting and sound effects enhance the experience.
Don’t forget to add to your must-see list the Cypress Swamp, the River’s Edge, the Emerson Children’s Zoo and the Monsanto Insectarium. You may want to plan more than one trip during the Boo at the Zoo season to take in all of the fun. For added zoo fun, consider a Behind the Scenes Tour.
Boo at the Zoo fun starts at 5:30 p.m. and finishes up at 8:30 p.m., nightly. Admission is $4 for member and $5 for non-members. Children under two are free. Wear your scariest and most creative Halloween costumes and get a $1 discount on the price of admission. Parking is free. October 26 is Spooky Saturday. Your kids can enjoy trick-or-treating, special entertainment and fun games along the Pumpkin Trail. Spooky Saturday runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and regular Boo at the Zoo nights resume at 5:30 p.m. Don’t miss it. This season promises to be the most fun and spookiest ever.
Lisa Payne-Naeger, a native of the St. Louis area, is a freelance writer, blogger, political activist and a homeschooling mother of two children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.