Saint Louis Zoo provides new updates on WildCare Park

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 6:26 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - On Tuesday, the Saint Louis Zoo provided multiple updates on some of the animals and planned guest activities at their new WildCare Park facility.

The development of the park is estimated to cost $230 million with funding coming from a variety of sources. Sources include philanthropy, external financing proceeds in addition to existing and future Zoo and St. Louis Zoo Association cash reserves.

The zoo said the target year for public opening is 2027 but animals will start arriving at WildCare Park in 2023.

“We are excited to share these WildCare Park updates,” said Dwight Scott, Dana Brown President & CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “Our team has been extremely busy and we look forward to sharing more updates on WildCare Park as we move forward.”

The zoo has also stated that the animals selected for the park will be species that will thrive in Missouri’s variable seasonal climate.

“We have selected species that are most likely to thrive in a multi-species environment and to coexist in harmony with the native wildlife that are living at WildCare Park,” said Martha Fischer, General Curator at WildCare Park.

Animals will be found all over the 425-acre property. The Kent Family Conservation and Animal Science Center includes 61 acres and will be a dedicated facility to house endangered and threatened species. Animals selected for the safari areas are a mix of endangered and non-endangered species. However, St. Louis Zoo has said endangered species were given the highest priority. Many animals at the park will be different than what you can find at the regular zoo. This is to offer guests an opportunity to see a diversity of species across both campuses.

The zoo released an initial list of animals that might call WildCare Park their new home. Some of the animals include:

  • Giraffe
  • Grevy’s zebra
  • Greater kudu
  • Addax
  • Bongo
  • Roan antelope
  • Somali wild ass
  • Przewalski’s horse

Animals won’t be the only new update to the park. The zoo provided a new list of guest experiences that will likely be available at the WildCare Park. Some of those experiences include:

  • Two 30-minute safaris from vehicles similar to the size of a school bus that seats 30-40 passengers.
    • Woodland Safari – Guests can enjoy viewing animals within this 63-acre natural wooded habitat that is interspersed with grassy areas. The star of the Woodland Safari is the white rhino.
    • Savanna Safari – This 101-acre pasture looks more like a traditional savanna with large grassy areas dotted with trees and includes several lakes and ponds. From a safari vehicle, guests can enjoy viewing approximately 100 animals.
  • Walking safari experience – This multiple-acre habitat will allow guests to have an immersive experience as they wander through the habitat on a path with animals all around them.
  • A “zooseum” – This 5,000-8,000 square foot interactive indoor zoo-museum-science center that will use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
  • Glamping – Spend the night glamping – or glamorous camping – in one of 10 private luxury cabins. Guests can just relax or embark on a safari ride, take a nature hike, enjoy a meal and/or chat with animal care or research experts.
  • Giraffe feeding – This unique animal experience will have guests at head height to giraffes. For a fee, guests can purchase browse or lettuce to offer to the giraffes getting up close to their 18-inch tongues.
  • Restaurant – Enjoy a delicious meal or sip on a beverage at the WildCare Park restaurant. Indoor and outdoor seating will be available.

“At WildCare Park, guests will be immersed in nature and animal pastures, providing unique experiences with every visit,” said Dr. Mogerman. “Every visit will be a new adventure.”

At this time, St. Louis Zoo says St. Louis County residents will be able to experience the new park admission-free as County voters passed Prop Z in 2018 to support the development and operations of WildCare Park. Admission prices for guests outside of the county as well as costs for the paid experiences will be shared at a later date.

“The community has been incredibly supportive throughout the planning stages and we’re excited to continue to work with them,” said Dr. Mogerman. “As our plans further develop, we look forward to sharing more.”

The park will also offer biodiversity studies and other education opportunities.

For the full list of animals and guest experiences or for more information on the new WildCare Park, visit the website here.