President Beth welcomed all to the McDonald Pavilion at the St. Louis Zoo. After a lunch buffet, President Beth reminded us all of the two upcoming regular meetings and then introduced Jim Conway. Jim and his son made all the arrangements for today’s event. He introduced Dr. Bonner from the St. Louis Zoo.
When we were last here, we focused on the new Sea Lion exhibit. Today we will visit the new Polar and Grisly Bear exhibits. Dr. Bonner also called our attention to the eight teen age cheetahs that are now available for viewing.
He pointed out that the recently acquired North County property from the Pipe Fitters Union would provide the Zoo with many opportunities. Part of its future depends on passage of the 1/8 cent sales tax in St. Louis County on November 7th.
Currently, $11.5 million in updates are underway at the Primate House built in 1927, including providing outside areas for the animals that will include tunnels for children to climb through. Also underway is a new Starbucks, a candy store and major upgrades to the aging water lines and sewers
The Zoo is proud to be voted #1 Zoo in US and #1 free attraction.
There are only 51 Polar Bears in US zoos; reproducing them is a real challenge when most zoos only have one.
The property south of I-64 is part of a 25 year plan – currently, there is a search for a major anchor that could develop a portion of the land. Its real value is that it will eventually allow the 8 acre south parking lot north of I-64 to be repurposed as part of the zoo exhibit space.
The Zoo attracts about 3.2 million visitors each year. 40% are visitors from outside of the region. The Zoo generates about $40 million per year for the region. On a good summer weekend day, there will be 25-30,000 visitors.