ST. LOUIS – The Saint Louis Zoo announced plans Friday for a new family-friendly experience at the former site of the Children’s Zoo.
Destination Discovery, which will consist of several new animal habitats, is in the works at the former Children’s Zoo location. Zookeepers hope Destination Discovery will provide a dynamic children-oriented experience once again after the Children’s Zoo closed in 2020.
“Destination Discovery will have animal adventures at every turn. You will be able to explore
and play side by side with animals, building connections to the natural world,” said Dwight Scott and Dana Brown, President & CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo, in a news release.
The zoo will invest around $40 million into Destination Discovery, with hopes to begin construction next year and open for good by 2026. Renderings shared by the zoo on Friday indicate there will be habitats for black-tailed prairie dogs, North American river otters and coati, among other popular zoo animals.
There will also be different engagement sessions and activities planned for children and families.
“Connecting with animals and nature is an important part of a healthy, active childhood, and the
future of wildlife and wild places depends on the community as a whole caring for and
conserving them,” said Scott. “When you care for animals, our shared world becomes a
healthier place for all living things.”
The Henry A. Jubel Foundation donated $15 million toward the cause and will have naming rights for Destination Discovery. Jubel, who immigrated to St. Louis from Germany, and his family have been longtime supporters of the zoo through philanthropy.
“Our family has a longstanding and deep connection with the Saint Louis Zoo,” said Melissa
Jubel Markwort, Executive Director, Henry A. Jubel Foundation. “When the Children’s Zoo
closed in 2020, as a family we knew we wanted to be a part of bringing this space back to life
and in an even better way.”
The site will consist of nearly 2.8 acres. It will replace a temporary exhibit, Emerson Dinoroarus, currently on display for zoo-goers.