Traffic updates: Rush Hour in St. Louis

The Zoo’s plan to keep 4th of July fireworks from scaring the animals

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Forest Park will be filled with Fair St. Louis Festival Goers in just a few weeks. Due to arch construction, this year's celebration is near the Central West End.  But, what about the home where the big cats roam and the deer and the antelope play?

"Antelopes can be a little jumpy but the keepers know which species are more sensitive than others and that might be a situation where we actually bring the animals in for the evening."  said Michael Macek.

The night's sky above the grand basin will be filled with fireworks the 3rd, 4th and 5th of July. Its safe to say an event that calls itself America's biggest birthday party coupled with this city's 250th anniversary would want to do it up right,  with a lot of fireworks. But, Mother Nature makes her own and surely the 19,000 animal residents who call the Zoo home have heard those before.

"So the reason I know there are fireworks in the park is that the park always notifies us.  Whether it's a wedding or graduation or whatever even they always notify us prior so that we know what to expect." said Michael Macek.

The urban animals at the zoo can already hear noise from neighboring highway 40 or helicopters and sirens from hospital row along Kingshighway.  But when a storm is threatening, or fireworks imminent, the Zoo opens inclosed areas so antelopes and gazelles can get their shelter.

"So they're used to sounds, they're used to voices whether it's music, people talking, talk radio or whatever." said curator of birds Michael Macek.

That way the lion sleeps tonight, even if things go bump, boom and crash in the skies above.


  • Jeanne

    There is NO WAY that they can keep from scaring those animals – not with 4th of July Blast going on for a few nights. This is a very dangerous thing to be doing right next to a ZOO filled with WILD ANIMALS. I cannot believe that the City of St Louis did not consider the well being of these animals along with the consequences that may transpire as a result of setting off blasts right next to these creatures! We are all aware of the damages that dogs and other tame animals induce after fearing for their lives just from the explosions from minimal backyard displays … Anyone who claims that this isnt going to seriously affect these WILD ANIMALS in that Zoo are not thinking right. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is a recipe for disaster and no one can state that someone didn’t warn them as a result. You cannot set off over 45 minutes of of explosions and not expect to wreak havoc upon a zoo filled with beast. Even if you brought these animals inside it won’t make a difference in that close of a vicinity. The St Louis Zoo is suppose to be PROTECTING those animals and if any of them end up hurt as a result… when they begin to panic or stampede – they should be held responsible for the injuries involved and held accountable… because they knew this situation was going down for quite a long time. I cannot believe that such a foolish decision was made without the consideration of those animals and the anxiety/fear that those animals are about to endure.

    • Eva Goforth

      In addition to the previous comment: There are wild animals, birds and ground mammals, owls, fox, etc in Forest Park as well. I am OUTRAGED about this decision. I am boycotting the fair this year and have been pointing out the problem with the animals. INCLUDING PEOPLE BRINGING THEIR DOGS to the fair and fireworks. I have seen dogs suffer whenever there were BRIEF fireworks in the park. Mayor Slay is otherwise a dog activist. Where is he now on this issue?

      • Jeanne

        Exactly Eva…. They are focused on shuttle parking instead of the serious trauma that will quite possibly trigger fear in those animals. If the people do not have available vehicles and something like this transpires there will be utter chaos, not only with respect to the animals panic reactions but the people who find that they are stranded in the midst of chaos when all hell breaks loose. I’m more then outraged. There is more to consider here then the greed of one city. The safety of both the people and the animals… because it will only take the fear of ONE single animal to wreak instinctive havoc upon them all. In a situation like this … a stampede is likely and animals are very powerful when they experience fear. That’s a fact.

    • Joe

      The decision wasn’t made by the City of St. Louis. Try the Director of the ZOO and Fair St. Louis. The old director would not allow fireworks in Forest Park, the new director doesn’t care about the fireworks. Place blame where it lies.

  • Groovy Chick

    Why are you all surprised by human selfishness? Don’t we see it every day? Sad, but true.

    • Jeanne

      No one said that they were surprised by human greed & selfishness. That is common knowledge… it is the level of negligence and ignorance that is so utterly shameful. To intentionally disregard the safety of the people as well as the animals is disgraceful.

  • clara's voice

    The elephants and other animals will be terrified. will they be chained and sedated?
    all in the name of a dollar?????
    I call this abuse of an endangered species. CANCEL IT OR MOVE IT.

    • Jeanne

      Joe… Seriously, The City of St Louis has a voice and if they were in anyway concerned about this situation they would have put the breaks on a long time ago. I’m not going to single out anyone, we are all grown adults here. The officials for the City of St Louis need to step up and take responsibility for this matter, but they most likely won’t.

      • Joe

        The City doesn’t control the Zoo. The current Zoo Director has no problem with fireworks in Forest Park. The last director did not allow fireworks. Blame the Zoo Director, he is the one in charge of the animals welfare!!

  • Bobby Sanders

    “So the reason I know there are fireworks in the park is that the park always notifies us.?????
    That way the lion sleeps tonight, even if things go bump, boom and crash in the skies above.????

  • Gabriele DeHart

    Agreed with all comments above – fireworks should not – ever – be allowed in Forest Park.

  • Judi Reynolds

    Fireworks and animals do NOT mix well! Every 4th of July my poor cat gets so upset and finds the innermost part of the house and cowers there until hours after the last firework is done! Please don’t use them anywhere near a zoo!

  • Helen

    I agree with everyone, it isn’t a great idea to have fireworks near a zoo. You people should think about the poor animals, and reconsider a different location far from the zoo.

    And if you want to satisfy everyone, I would consider that you remove this location and put it somewhere else, away from the zoo and forest park.
    Please and thank you!

Comments are closed.