Swooning Over the Saint Louis Zoo

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There is no admission fee for visiting the Saint Louis Zoo. There are extra fees for experiences such as feeding the Galapagos tortoises. Even though I did not pay to feed them, I got to watch from very close by.

I found watching the people visiting the Saint Louis Zoo almost as fascinating as the animals. There were Amish families in their traditional garb, families with multiple strollers, and lots of different parenting styles. This zoo is ranked in the top five zoos in America, and rightfully so. It really is a marvel.

There is so much to see and do at this zoo. It doesn’t advertise itself as a botanical garden, but it is also beautifully landscaped. There is plenty of signage and I still found myself getting lost looking for giraffes. I thought I’d spend an hour walking around and several hours later I was hiking back up to the south entrance without seeing it all. I so wished I had my grandson with me.

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They have enough space to house Asian elephants.

I enjoyed my visit to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden so much that I decided to also visit the Saint Louis Zoo. It won out over other options in part because it had good reviews on Trip Advisor and because it was so close to my Hampton Inn in Forest Park.

IMG_8519One of the features of the Saint Louis Zoo is how close you can experience many of the zoo residents. This hyena was just one of the animals that I felt I could reach out and touch. This experience was most thrilling with my favorite penguins. By the way, if you do break the rules and try to pet the penguins, remember they bite with their VERY sharp beaks. And even more harmful than feeding them our food, is sharing our germs.

There is no admission fee for the zoo thanks to the taxpayers of St. Louis; however, the closest parking lots do charge $15 a car. While a family can divide that by 4 or 6, I was driving alone. I also needed to save time because I had a long day of driving to Pella, IA via Hannibal, MO, so I decided to make the donation for convenient parking. They have various options for saving money, especially with kids. For example the Adventure Pass for $12.95 includes the Zooline Railroad, the Children’s Zoo, Conservation Carousel and more. If you are a traveling with children and you park on the street, and bring your own sandwiches, you can make a big day of it for little more than the cost of the Adventure Pass.

Instead of eating from the Hampton Inn breakfast buffet, I walked next door to Comet Coffee to enjoy one of the tastiest bear claw pastries I’ve eaten in a while. Little did I know that I was going to see real bear claws on two grizzly bears later that same morning.

 

Check out the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco

Colleen O'Roarke, Julie Pieper Spezia, Lisa Goren at Autodesk Gallery
Fellow classmates Colleen and Lisa from my Leadership tribe enjoyed the Lego dinosaur as much as me.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in training on Human Centered Design at the Autodesk offices at One Market Street in San Francisco. On the concluding day of the training our hosts offered us a tour of the Autodesk Gallery. The gallery is a showcase for cool stuff created by users of their software.

Admission is FREE. This is a small miracle in an expensive city to visit. It is close to the Ferry Building if you are planning your itinerary.

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Autodesk Gallery exhibit; Photo by Colleen O’Roarke

I loved many of the clever, creative exhibits and there is a FREE photo booth!

Basic Information:

Autodesk Gallery at One Market
One Market, Floor 2
San Francisco, CA 94105

Located near the San Francisco Ferry Building and one block from the Embarcadero Station for BART and Muni, the Autodesk Gallery is easily accessible by public transportation.
Directions

Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m.