St Louis Zoo

I used to go to the zoo a lot when I was a kid. And even though I loved the idea of an outing, like all kids do, I didn’t like the zoo. Animals were kept in really small cages, and I’d spend the entire day feeling bad for them.

Animals in the St Louis Zoo aren’t kept in cages, as we discovered on our first visit today. We’d been wanting to go for a while but it was always way too hot to take a toddler. Today was the first day all summer when you can be outside for over 3 minutes without fainting, so we went. The goal was to find elephants because Klara wanted to show them her favorite toy elephant.

The elephants turned out to be a lot smaller than I remembered from the Ukrainian zoo. Is it a different kind of elephant or do I remember it as enormous because I was a child and it looked bigger?

There was also a kid railroad, and we had to go because Klara is massively into trains. The kid railroad is a lot worse than the one we have back in Kharkiv and even than the toddler railroad in Southwest Florida. The train spends so much time in tunnels that it’s more like a subway. Klara didn’t even want to make more than one trip, and usually it takes at least 3 trips to make her happy.

The best part of the experience for me was that I found cotton candy, which I haven’t had for over 30 years. Everything at the zoo is extremely well-organized. Nobody organizes kid-friendly experiences like Americans. Even Canadians don’t do it quite as well. But there were way too many people for me to enjoy the whole thing. In our town, I’m never surrounded by this many people. I used to love being in a crowd in a big city but after 15 years in sparsely populated tiny towns, I lost both the skill and the enjoyment.

So now I need to stay in bed for 2 hours, read Vargas Llosa, and eat cherries to recover.

3 thoughts on “St Louis Zoo

  1. My favorite image from the St. Louis Zoo is watching a polar bear floating on its back and playing with a beach ball in the summer heat. It’s a wonderful zoo. My other favorites are the Bronx Zoo, Philadelphia (with its overhead walkways for the animals) and Portland (OR) which is just beautiful.


  2. “But there were way too many people for me to enjoy the whole thing.”

    If you want to have an entire, GIGANTIC zoo (over 200 acres) all to your family for an entire afternoon, come out to Arizona when it’s 115 degrees, and spend an afternoon walking around the Phoenix Wildlife Zoo. (It will definitely take you all afternoon to walk around the complete area and see the hundreds of animals, aquatic life, reptiles, and birds — and no cages at all.) I had out-of-state relatives visit last summer, and took them there.

    Believe it or not, the three of us were the ONLY visitors on the grounds the entire afternoon. Yet, the sports bar just outside the entrance of the zoo, where we ate supper, was packed.

    And no, even though I’m in my dotage. I didn’t need to recover after the trek.


    1. I had to carry an almost 30lbs toddler at 89° for an hour. And that almost did me in. If I had to do that at 115°, we’d now be preparing for my funeral. 🙂


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