A curious polar bear greets visitors at the St. Louis Zoo.

Animal Lovers

Whether your favorites are exotic zoo animals, wild canines, farm animals, birds or fish, St. Louis has something for animal-lovers of every sort. In fact, few places in the entire country give you as many attractions where you can get up close and personal with our furry or feathered friends as St. Louis does.

1. Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House

At the Butterfly House and Education Center in Faust Park, visitors can walk through a lively butterfly habitat and thrill to the sight of hundreds of butterflies in free flight. You’ll also be able to watch the process of metamorphosis and see native butterflies in their natural environment.

See blue morpho butterflies at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House.

2. Saint Louis Zoo

A good place to start your animal adventure is at the Saint Louis Zoo where you can easily spend the day. The zoo is a world-renowned leader in animal conservation projects and has embarked upon an innovative captive breeding strategy to ensure the survival of many of the world’s most endangered species including cheetahs, black rhinoceros, okapis and more than 80 other breeds. It’s considered among the Top Ten Zoos in the nation and is noted for its naturalistic animal habitats.

The Zoo’s Living World education and discovery center is the first facility of its kind to use high technology and live animals to teach about the diversity of life on Earth. An animatronic Charles Darwin talks about his discoveries and follows the evolution of life from the past to the future, and documentaries about the animal kingdom and worldwide animal conservation efforts run continuously in the theatre.

Kids can see animals such as polar bears at the Saint Louis Zoo.

3. St. Louis Aquarium

St. Louis Union Station is home to this stunning St. Louis Aquarium.  The 120,000-square-foot attraction features one-of-a-kind exhibits and tanks housing thousands of aquatic species from the rivers and oceans of the world. With over 257 species and 13,000 animals, the St. Louis Aquarium is a must see for any animal lover.

4. Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Take a tour of St. Louis’ historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery and see the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdale’s paddock and stables. The grand horses, which live like royalty among stained glass and brass chandeliers, appear in various parades and TV commercials and have become synonymous with the Budweiser brand. “Clydesdale Camera Days,” where visitors can take photos of their friends and families with one of the massive steeds, are held on the first Saturday of each month. You can also meet these celebrity horses through the Clydesdale VIP Experience, a one-hour tour that gives you an exclusive look into life for the Clydesdales. Check out the website for more information.

A Budweiser Clydesdale walks through Grant's Farm.

5. Grant's Farm

More than 1,000 animals from six continents live in the 281-acre wildlife preserve at Grant’s Farm, the former homestead of President Ulysses S. Grant and the ancestral home of the Busch brewing family. In addition to being one of the Budweiser Clydesdale breeding and training facilities, the facility offers tram rides through a wildlife preserve, animal shows and a petting zoo. The Bauernhof courtyard complex is a 19th century farmstead that houses the Busch family’s historic carriage collection. Open free-of-charge from mid-April to mid-October.

Kids can feed goats at Grant's Farm.

6. Suson Park Animal Farm

Families with young children can get a glimpse of farm life with a docent-led barn tour (by reservation only) at Suson Park, or take a self-guided stroll through the barn for a look at the goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, horses and cows that call the park home.

Cute animals at the working Suson Park Animal Farm.

7. Mastodon State Historic Site

You may see some wildlife scampering on the trails of Mastodon State Historic Site, but this place is known for animals from days past. Hike to the Kimmswick Bone Bed, one of the most important archaeological sites in the state, where archaeologists discovered a stone weapon with the bones of mastodons. It was the first solid evidence that humans and mastodons coexisted in North America. Then stop by the visitor center for a look at bones, tusks, teeth and human artifacts taken from the area, along with a full-size replica of a mastodon skeleton.

At the Mastodon State Historic Site, scientists discovered the first solid evidence of the coexistence of humans and the American mastodon in eastern North America.

8. Purina Farms

Located on 350 acres right outside of St. Louis, Purina Farms offers animal lovers of all ages an opportunity to get up close and personal with barnyard animals and everyday pets such as dogs and cats. Purina Farms features the Visitor’s Center where kids can play in the hayloft, milk a cow, take a tractor-drawn wagon ride and watch exciting canine performances of freestyle flying disc, agility and diving dog. Recently, the Purina Event Center, a state-of-the-art indoor facility designed to host a variety of canine activities from conformation shows to performance events like agility, opened on the Purina Farms property giving visitors a chance to see some of the most prestigious dog and cat shows in the country year-round.

Kids, adults and pets will love the shows featuring the Purina Incredible Dog Team catching flying discs at Purina Farms.

9. Endangered Wolf Sanctuary

For a truly unique experience, visit the Endangered Wolf Sanctuary where you can see wolves from all over the world. The Center offers education programs about wolves and hosts a renowned captive breeding facility for endangered wolf species.

Mexican wolf puppies play at the Endangered Wolf Center.

10. World Bird Sanctuary

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about wild birds at the World Bird Sanctuary, one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world. Birds and reptile species from around the globe are on display at the sanctuary, which offers a variety of special events and innovative programs. Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes tour of the WBS breeding facilities and there’s no better place to observe numerous species of local songbirds.

More than 200 birds, including owls, live at the World Bird Sanctuary.

11. Lone Elk Park

One of St. Louis’ most exciting natural places is Lone Elk Park where visitors can visit a drive-through animal range where bison, deer, elk and other animals roam. Travel in that portion of the 526-acre park is in motor vehicle only to allow visitors a truly “up close” encounter with the animals in their natural habitat. Here’s a tip for your visit: plan to visit the park in the early morning or in the evening when your chances of animal sightings are best.

Lone Elk Park offers frequent wildlife sightings whether you drive or walk through the park.

12. Powder Valley Conservation Area

Powder Valley Conservation Area features a nature center with exhibits on the botany and wildlife of Missouri and a nature preserve with three hiking trails. An underwater viewing area allows visitors to view bass, bluegill and catfish in their native habitat and a wildlife viewing area looks out onto a wooded corner where visitors can observe songbirds, wild turkey and small mammals in the feeding areas outside. The exhibit “St. Louis: Founded with Wildlife” demonstrates the role of wildlife trade in the development of St. Louis.

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center introduces people of all ages to the wonders of the natural world.