ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The Saint Louis Zoo has announced it is closing the Emerson Children’s Zoo to make way for a new, temporary dinosaur exhibit that will open in the spring of next year.
The Children's Zoo has been very limited for guests since the Zoo reopened to the public following an 80-day closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The animal shows, indoor building, water bubblers and other interactive areas, as well as the goat yard, farm-play area and playground remain closed for precautionary measures. Keeper and docent animal handling for one-on-one guest connections have been eliminated during this time for human and animal safety.
“It was a heart-wrenching decision to close the Children’s Zoo, however, safety is our highest priority,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “The Children’s Zoo was designed for high-touch and interactive experiences, which is not conducive to a COVID or post-COVID environment.”
The Children’s Zoo will remain open with free admission through the end of October.
Animals residing at the Children’s Zoo are in the process of being relocated to other parts of the Zoo or moved to other facilities. The Tasmanian devils will remain at their current habitat in the Children’s Zoo area. Currently, the following animals can be seen in the Children’s Zoo, although no contact is allowed: American crow, burro, Cotswold sheep, domestic goat, alpaca, pot-bellied pig, North American river otter, Tasmanian devil, and various reptiles.
The temporary exhibit that will occupy the current Children’s Zoo area for the next couple of years is called Dinoroarus.
It's similar to one that was around since 2008, but this one promises to have more space for "life-size animatronic dinosaurs in a one-of-a-kind walk-through experience," said Dr. Bonner.
The temporary exhibit will include 15 different groupings of dinosaurs – colorful prehistoric creatures that move realistically – roaring and spitting or placidly munching on the lush vegetation of the area.
Admission costs and other details for Dinoroarus will be available in the future. Membership benefits will apply to Dinoroarus admission just as they currently do for the Children’s Zoo.