Zoo in Mount Vernon

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Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden has been providing a close-to-home adventure for visitors of all ages for more than 80 years. Situated on 50 acres of rolling hills, the zoo features more than 700 animals from all areas of our spinning communal spaceship. Explore the flora and fauna of the Amazon Rainforest in the new Amazonia exhibit. Like Tarzan or a biologist on stilts, visitors can view swinging monkeys and perched tropical birds socializing in the upper echelons from the suspension bridge. The 45-foot-tall roof allows space for the forest of tall jungle trees, palms, and a roaring waterfall to form a true canopy.

1545 Mesker Park Dr
Evansville,
IN
US

Grant's Farm has been home to two titans of the US?one a general and president, the other a brewer who forever changed America's bar scene. The first of these was the farm's namesake, President Ulysses S. Grant, who in 1885 built a four-room cabin, needing only a few days, the help of some loyal friends, and an '80s-style montage. After a few transitional owners, August Busch Sr. bought the farm in 1907 and had that same cabin restored to its original condition.

While visitors to Grant Farm can still view that historic cabin today, the grounds have grown into much, much more. More than 280 acres host over 900 animals from 100 unique species, one of which has starred in commercials for decades: the Budweiser Clydesdales. A behind the scenes tour of the Clydesdale Stables reveals more than 50 of these stallions, from weanlings to full-grown, six-foot-tall equines. Meanwhile, Zebras, Black Buck Antelope, and other exotic animals roam across Deer Park, and Tier Garten hosts interactive elephant shows and goat feedings.

Back indoors, the bauernhof (farmstead) stands as a 19th-century relic with antique stables and carriages. It also houses non-antique bartenders, who pour complimentary samples for of-age visitors. They can also point families to more complete dining locations, including Grant's Farm Deli.

10501 Gravois Rd.
Saint Louis,
MO
US

Though built as a private home in 1901, the Victorian mansion stood vacant for years?until its first children's hands-on exhibits opened to the public more than 30 years ago. Since then, The Magic House's curators have worked to engage children of all ages in learning and creative thought through a range of interactive multimedia exhibits. Their exhibits enable visitors to service cars, climb treehouse ladders, and go fishing in a child-centric community, or play with pumps and pipes in a waterworks playground. They can also climb a three-story fairy-tale beanstalk or use detective skills, fingerprint analyses, and secret passageways to solve mysteries.

Museum staffers also organize a range of themed birthday parties, during which attendees play and complete special tasks as time travelers, scientists, or fairy-tale nobility. Family programs encompass monthly visits from outside professional artists, and special events designed to get the whole family moving. Visitors can refuel for exploration at the on-site Picnic Basket Cafe, whose menu highlights whole grains and healthy ingredients.

516 S Kirkwood Rd.
Saint Louis,
MO
US

Since 1971, World Aquarium has stuck to its not-for-profit mission to protect marine life and promote the public's understanding of the aquatic world through educational programs, exhibits, and research. The aquarium unsurprisingly favors a hands-on approach; visitors often get close enough to high-five the flippers, fins, or pincers of many of its more than 10,000 animals.

Tour guides wind through exhibits on sea and freshwater animals, showcasing creatures such as sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, and fish from rivers and lakes around the globe. While peering into the faithfully reconstructed habitats, visitors absorb valuable information on how to conserve water, protect aquatic resources, and peacefully resolve conflicts between Siamese fighting fish.

701 N 15th St, 2nd Fl
St. Louis,
MO
US

The tri-pronged value of the Triceratops tickets guarantees daytime admission—rain or shine or airborne toxic event—to the DinoQuest exhibit in the Missouri Botanical Garden's Climatron, a half-acre geodesic dome filled with pools and waterfalls, along with tropical rainforest florae and faunae. You'll also enjoy admission to the Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden, as well as the coordinated Jurassic Bugs exhibit at the Butterfly House. The Climatron and Children's Garden must be visited on the same day; when you redeem your Groupon at the Botanical Garden and Children’s Garden, you will receive a pass to the Butterfly House, which may be redeemed on a separate date from the first two exhibits.

4344 Shaw Blvd
Saint Louis,
MO
US

Although it's home to more than 50 species of exotic animals, Lazy L Safari Park doesn't have much in common with your average zoo. At this family-run agritourism and ranch operation, visitors don't just stare at animals from behind a glass barrier; instead, they interact with animals such as deer, antelope, and more. Whether they're admiring a powerful Burmese python, staring into the eyes of a Ring-tailed lemur, or feeding a flock of cheery parakeets, visitors get up close and personal at their own leisure.

2763 County Rd. 618
Cape Girardeau,
MO
US