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Old 05-26-2012, 12:45 PM
 
Location: South St Louis
3,766 posts, read 1,967,558 times
Reputation: 1821
Default St. Louis Zoo expansion plan

The St. Louis Zoo recently announced that it is purchasing the Forest Park Hospital site (formerly Deaconess) on Oakland Avenue for the purpose of expanding the zoo property to the south. Until this opportunity came about, the zoo had been unable to undergo a major expansion in over 100 years due to its property being effectively landlocked.
A five-story office building is part of the invisioned plan. Supposedly, the zoo would share that space with other institutions in Forest Park.
A big aspect of the expansion plan will involve relocating some of the zoo parking to a garage which will be built at the new site. It is hoped that this site can be connected to the main zoo property by a new three-station monorail system, which would span Highway 40 (I-64) and the zoo itself. The prospect of STL having a zoo monorail is pretty exciting to me; only two or three other zoos in the nation have one.
Once the new parking is established, that will free up the existing parking lot by the south zoo entrance for even more zoo expansion.
BTW, Future hopes are to extend the monorail to both the St. Louis Art Museum and the St. Louis Science Center, linking together the three top attractions in Forest Park.
What are your thoughts and comments on the expansion plan?
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:15 PM
 
3,782 posts, read 2,684,609 times
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They need more parking, that's for sure. They probably need the admin space too. With the admin offices relocated, I imagine there would be more room for animal exhibits.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:57 PM
 
Location: St. Ann, MO
2,898 posts, read 2,952,128 times
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at least the old medical building won't destroy any neighborhoods to add the additional parking, it'd be awkward if zoo attractions were both North and South of I-64, but having the admin stuff South of the highway would seem pretty natural, and not strange...The monorail could be neat, long as it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to use it.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Paris
998 posts, read 555,450 times
Reputation: 562
Quote:
Originally Posted by flynavyj View Post
at least the old medical building won't destroy any neighborhoods to add the additional parking, it'd be awkward if zoo attractions were both North and South of I-64, but having the admin stuff South of the highway would seem pretty natural, and not strange...The monorail could be neat, long as it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to use it.
The other issue is the arm and a leg it most certainly will cost to build it... While I think this could be really cool, aren't there way more cost-effective options for this (especially considering the current financial situation and the many other things the money could go to...ok, ranting a bit...)? Making existing bridges actually pedestrian friendly (anyone from MODOT or the city out there? Hello?), a new pedestrian only walkway, etc. I also wouldn't mind some mixed use/retail space being worked in to limit dead zones. Garage is good (better with ground floor development options), just no surface parking lots everywhere!

Overall it's still an exciting development and I'd love to see the already great Zoo improve. I just wish that we could also focus on things like real transit rather than novelties like monorails or the loop trolley. Hopefully these projects will be a big success and fuel more transit though!
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
2,503 posts, read 1,443,075 times
Reputation: 1345
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1greatcity View Post
The St. Louis Zoo recently announced that it is purchasing the Forest Park Hospital site (formerly Deaconess) on Oakland Avenue for the purpose of expanding the zoo property to the south. Until this opportunity came about, the zoo had been unable to undergo a major expansion in over 100 years due to its property being effectively landlocked.
A five-story office building is part of the invisioned plan. Supposedly, the zoo would share that space with other institutions in Forest Park.
A big aspect of the expansion plan will involve relocating some of the zoo parking to a garage which will be built at the new site. It is hoped that this site can be connected to the main zoo property by a new three-station monorail system, which would span Highway 40 (I-64) and the zoo itself. The prospect of STL having a zoo monorail is pretty exciting to me; only two or three other zoos in the nation have one.
Once the new parking is established, that will free up the existing parking lot by the south zoo entrance for even more zoo expansion.
BTW, Future hopes are to extend the monorail to both the St. Louis Art Museum and the St. Louis Science Center, linking together the three top attractions in Forest Park.
What are your thoughts and comments on the expansion plan?
Sounds cool to me. Honest question here with no hidden agenda: How can the Zoo afford this?
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:09 PM
 
Location: South St Louis
3,766 posts, read 1,967,558 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUTGR View Post
Sounds cool to me. Honest question here with no hidden agenda: How can the Zoo afford this?
First, the zoo is funded largely by the Metropolitan Zoo and Museum District tax, which also funds the Science Center, the History Museum, MO Botanical Garden, and the Art Museum. These other cultural attractions have undergone major expansions in the past, but not the zoo. So I'm assuming the zoo has money in reserve to fund the project.
Second, the zoo receives corporate and private donations. They also sell commemorative bricks.
Third, the zoo charges to park, for special exhibits, for tours, etc. Along those lines, the monorail might cost a dollar a person to ride, which would help with the expense.
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Saint Louis, MO
1,660 posts, read 2,215,892 times
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It still amazes me that the Zoo-Museum district encompasses only STL City and County. I still think the whole Metro area should be funding this stuff, since everyone gets in for free. Tourists get a break in my head since they're spending $$ in the area that otherwise wouldn't be coming in.
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:37 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
2,110 posts, read 1,255,500 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUTGR View Post
Sounds cool to me. Honest question here with no hidden agenda: How can the Zoo afford this?
With Private Fundraising. Zoo memberships range from $50-$750 which helps fund the zoo programs. They sell commemorative bricks that start at $500 and go up to $5,000. They have "behind the scene" tours that range from $10-$75 per person.

There are private donations given to the zoo.

They also have special events. Coming up in June they have Zoo ado which is $75 for tickets. They also have Jammin at the Zoo throughout the summer (different from Zoo boogey nights), Zootini sometime during the holidays, and then Boo at the Zoo and Wild Lights also charges a small admission charge.

Not to mention year round they charge for the Childrens zoo, Stingray cove, the carousel, a 4-D "Happy Feet" ride, a movie in the Living World, and the railroad.

And lets not forget that they charge $15 parking, and both parking lots are always full if its a nice day.

A lot of these may sound like small amounts, but they do add up. The zoo has already had over 1 million visitors in the first 5 months of the year. That's not even counting the busy season coming up this summer. And with the new sea lion enclosure opening up in June it is going to be a very busy summer for the zoo.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:06 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
2,110 posts, read 1,255,500 times
Reputation: 2837
Quote:
Originally Posted by billiken View Post
It still amazes me that the Zoo-Museum district encompasses only STL City and County. I still think the whole Metro area should be funding this stuff, since everyone gets in for free. Tourists get a break in my head since they're spending $$ in the area that otherwise wouldn't be coming in.
It would be nice if they could change how they do admission. Free admission for those in STL City/County, and then charge all others $4 for adults, $2 for kids. That is still incredibly cheap for a zoo, and it gives some appreciation to those who help fund the zoo.

The San Francisco zoo used to have free zoo days for all once a month. A few years ago they changed it to free zoo days for San Francisco residents only since their tax dollars help support the zoo (that and the $15 admission fee).

I know charging certain people for the zoo will never happen because of the "free for all", but it would be nice if City/County residents got some sort of perk. Maybe even a free children's zoo/train ride ride/stingray day once a month/ every few months would be a nice substitute from the other zoos giving residents free admission day.

Although I'm just thankful that we have such an amazing zoo that I can go to 2-3 times a month. San Diego zoo is $42. I would go to the zoo maybe once a year, but more likely once every few years if I had to pay that much.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:16 AM
 
Location: South St Louis
3,766 posts, read 1,967,558 times
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Charging admission only to non-city/county residents, although logical, would be a nightmare at the entrance gates, don't you agree?
And charging admission to everyone wouldrequire removing the zoo from the list of museum tax recipients. Otherwise, city/county residents would be essentially paying twice.
Anyway... the big benefit to this expansion plan is that it should create lots of room for new animal exhibits and attractions, as well as ample parking for patrons. Parking, I might add, in a covered garage, which beats surface lots any day.
Incidentally, if the entire monorail system gets built-- connecting the science center, the zoo and the art museum-- there is even talk of extending it all the way to the CWE and connecting it to MetroLink. Now, we all know that this is probably not going to happen in our lifetimes... we can only dream.
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