Moon Jellies are the stars of the latest exhibit to open at the Saint Louis Zoo. The Emerson Children's Zoo is now home to saltwater and freshwater aquariums to highlight underwater habitats.
Moon jellies — boneless, brainless and heartless — are made almost entirely of water, according to a zoo news release. They have been around since before the dinosaurs. Up to 15 inches in diameter, jellies eat plankton, including small shrimps, fish eggs and larvae and live in temperate areas and tropical oceans, coral reefs and bays around the world. Children can observe the jellies while lights turn the creatures pink, green or blue to stimulate breeding and enrich the lives of the animals.
In addition to the moon jellies, children can see tropical fish and sea anemones on a live coral reef, and colorful freshwater fish.
"This exhibit will help children learn about coral reefs — fragile environments in the wild that serve as homes for millions of tiny animals," said Alice Seyfried, curator of the children's zoo. "The weather within the coral reef exhibit changes as it does in the wild, with simulated storms, lightning, waves and all the phases of the moon—matching the environment of the shallow, warm water in the tropics where coral reefs develop."
The Saint Louis Zoo is located at 1 Government Drive, St. Louis, Mo., 63110. Zoo admission is free; admission to the children's zoo is free from 8-9 a.m. in summer and $4 per person after 9 a.m. Children under 2 are free. The zoo's summer hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.