Beginning on June 8, families will have even more to do at the Saint Louis Zoo. A new educational space, the Monsanto Education Gallery, is opening, and it will house a discovery room called the Wild Wonder Outpost, summer camps and a future preschool.
"This gallery expands the learning area for the zoo's education department and provides high quality science, environmental and conservation education programs, activities and guest experiences," said Jeffrey Bonner, president and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. "This is a place where children can experience meaningful new links with nature and the animal world. We are grateful to Monsanto for making this possible."
The gallery is designed for children from birth to age 8 and their caregivers, and includes the Wild Wonder Outpost. The outpost focuses on child-directed exploration, investigation and play, featuring age-appropriate animal and environmental themes. Families and groups can come to the Wild Wonder Outpost discovery room throughout the year, Saturdays and Sundays June 8 through Aug. 9, and seven days a week the remainder of the year. They will be able to investigate animal biofacts, design their own zoo exhibits and create creature crafts to take home. Puppets, costumes, a backyard habitat and a variety of play areas encourage children to experience the world of animals.
Summer hours for Wild Wonder Outpost are 9, 10 and 11 a.m., and 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays June 8 through Aug. 9. Tickets for a 45-minute session are $3 per person ($2 for members). Children under 1 are free. One adult is required for every four children. Tickets are available at the guest services desks at both the north and south entrances of the zoo.
The Monsanto Education Gallery will also be home to Camp Joey, the zoo's day camp for children 4 to 5 years old. Camp Joey helps children who are at least 4 years old and who have not yet completed Kindergarten learn about nature by exploring animal movement, senses, body covering and defenses.
In 2014, the zoo plans to offer a half-day preschool program that will operate mornings during the school year in the gallery. It will integrate science and animal themes across the curriculum. Children ages 4 to 5 will attend on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, while children ages 3 to 4 will attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Details are still being developed.
The Saint Louis Zoo is located at 1 Government Drive, St. Louis, Mo., 63110. Call 314-781-0900.