ST. LOUIS – Temperatures may be surging but the Saint Louis Zoo still draws crowds. And those visitors need to take a break sometimes.
“It’s about 100 degrees out today. So, it’s nice to finally get some fresh air inside and just look at the birds in some nice cool air,” said zoo visitor Jacob Brown.
Brown and other visitors on Tuesday found some heat relief inside the Bird House and Bird Garden.
“The three historic buildings, the Bird House, the Primate House, and the Herpetarium, all have air conditioning,” said Curator of Birds Anne Tieber, Saint Louis Zoo. “So, in the middle of summer, they are really great places to go to where you can still see some animals. And they might be a little more active because it is a little bit cooler in these buildings.”
But for a few months, you couldn’t visit the Bird House. Back in March, with worries about highly pathogenic avian influenza rising, the zoo closed the Bird House and the Cypress Swamp to public access. The usually outdoor Humboldt penguins were kept inside and the flamingos stayed in their winter home until this past Monday.
“We couldn’t put them put them out in April like we normally do. So they had to stay in for a couple more months just as a precaution. We really didn’t want anything to co-mingle with wild waterfowl,” Tieber said.
Their precautionary measures paid off. No animals at the zoo ever tested positive for the virus. Over the last few weeks, all birds in the zoo’s collection have been returned to their regular areas.
“The penguins are outside. The waterbirds are outside. Flight cage is open. And everybody is happy,” Tieber said.
So, if you missed seeing the birds and you feel like braving the heat, the Saint Louis Zoo is ready for you visit. Reservations no longer required.
“If you plan your day right, come early in the morning. And the animals are certainly much more active in the morning when it’s cooler,” Tieber said.