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Zoo Parents Program Frequently Asked Questions

Any animal at the Zoo is available for adoption, although only certain animals are offered with a color photo and animal facts with new adoptions of $50 and above. Please note that not all animals are on display year-round. Certain animals are also available as plush toy adoptions for gifts of $60 and above. Receive a $10 discount for plush toy adoptions that are both purchased and picked up on-site at one of our Welcome Desks.

Please see adoption levels for benefits of each.

When we receive your renewal request, we will extend your adoption and ensure that the name of the Zoo Parent continues to appear of the Zoo Parents Donor Wall and Zoo Parents Recognition page on our website for another year. In keeping with our commitment to conservation, if you are renewing with the same animal, all renewal adoptions of $30 or more will receive an anniversary seal only. Thank you for your commitment to our Zoo and our planet!

Upon request, we will provide another copy of your certificate, a car decal, color photo with animal facts and/or a new frame (if applicable). Simply select the appropriate boxes on your order form, or notify the staff member during phone or on-site orders. If you choose to switch to a different animal with your renewal, you will receive a new adoption package based upon the adoption level you choose, with the addition of an anniversary seal, if applicable. Please note that donation levels for renewal adoptions remain the same as donation levels for new adoptions.

An animal adoption is a one-of-a-kind gift that keeps on giving! Gift adoptions include all the benefits listed in questions 1 and 2, as well as a greeting card from you. For gift adoptions sent directly to the recipient, we will happily fill out the card on your behalf using the message and signature line indicated on your order form. For gift
adoptions sent to you, we will leave the card blank so that you may sign it personally. We offer themed cards for birthday, Christmas/Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and memorial adoptions; adoptions without a specified holiday receive a generic congratulatory card for becoming a Zoo Parent. Please make sure to specify on your form or notify the staff member during phone or on-site orders if the gift is for a specific occasion.

Exclusive adoptions are adoptions of $500 or more, which is considered sufficient to cover all of your animal's care and feeding for one year and makes you extra special to our animals. In addition to the regular benefits (see question 2), we offer our Exclusive Zoo Parents a private keeper chat or tour of your adopted animal’s area as a way to learn more about your adoption, as well as lunch for two at Cafe Kudu. Plus, your name will be listed with a special “Exclusive Parent” designation on both our Zoo Parents Recognition page on our website and our on-site Zoo Parents Donor Wall, located on the lower level of The Living World building.

We rely heavily on our volunteers to assist with fulfilling our adoptions. As a result, adoptions generally take 14-21 business days to fulfill, particularly during special holiday seasons such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas and Hanukkah. In addition, postal processing may impact delivery. Should you need a last-minute gift, we recommend you purchase and pick up your order on-site at one of our Welcome Desks during the Zoo's normal operating hours.

Prices include shipping and handling for locations within the contiguous United States.

We are unable to hold packages to mail at later dates. For Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Hanukkah, we include special “Do Not Open Until (Date)” stickers on gifts marked with a holiday; we also adjust the adoption start and end date to the last day of the month of the holiday. You may also have the package delivered directly to you (the donor), and choose to give it to the recipient at a later date. If you include the birth date of the recipient with birthday gift adoptions, we are happy to adjust the certificate and adoption dates to the month of the recipient’s birthday.

All adoptions receive recognition on the Zoo Parents Donor Wall and Zoo website for one year. The on-site Donor Wall is located in the lower level of The Living World. Both the online and on-site donor walls are updated monthly, so please allow four to six weeks for your adoption to display.

In addition, every fall we host the annual Zoo Parents Picnic in your honor. This evening event entitles current Zoo Parents to free parking and free admission to the Zooline Railroad and Stingrays at Caribbean Cove; complimentary stroller and standard wheelchair rentals; 20 percent off at all Zoo retail outlets; and special keeper chats, animal enrichment activities and guided tours.

Renewing an adoption is a great way to demonstrate your continued support of our animals and our Zoo. For a few dollars, you can pick up the tab for an elephant's 100-pounds-a-day hay habit or keep a sea lion swimming pretty with 25 pounds of fish a day. Every dollar raised through the Zoo Parents Program goes toward the care and feeding of the Zoo’s animals. What could be more important than that?

We also recognize our Zoo Parents with an anniversary seal each year and celebrate your milestone adoption anniversaries in five-year increments with special Zoo Parent anniversary gifts as a thank you for continued long-term support of our program and our animals.

Like all living things, the Saint Louis Zoo animals face changes. If your animal leaves the Zoo's collection, you will be notified and given the choice of animal to which you'd like your adoption transferred.

Due to the constantly changing nature of our animal collection, we do not offer adoptions for specific animals. You are welcome to include a message referencing a specific animal in your message on the card for gift adoptions (for example, “Thanks for taking care of Raja!” or “I know Pistol Pete appreciates your support!”), but the adoption materials will feature the general species rather than a specific animal.

Yes! Animal adoptions provide great ways to learn about animals and show your pride for our Zoo.

See the Classroom and Scout Level Adoption benefits.

The Zoo Parents Program is proud to further the Zoo’s legacy of conservation through several initiatives. We phased out using separate sheets of paper for the color photo with animal facts and updated to a new, streamlined double-sided color photo with animal facts. Doing so reduced our paper usage by 50 percent for this program benefit. Our Welcome Desks are equipped with digital monitors that display the most up-to-date information about our Zoo Parents Program and featured adoptions. It can easily be changed without paper usage.

Digital adoptions are available for those who prefer a paper-free way to support the Zoo Parents Program. For $20, the donors are recognized on our Zoo Parents Program Donor Wall in the lower level of The Living World at the North Entrance and on our website for one full year.

You can help, too! Save your certificate and color photo with animal facts instead of requesting new copies with your renewal. Recycle any shipping materials or other materials you no longer need.

Together, we can make a world of difference!

Adoptions may be purchased online, by phone at (314) 646-4771, option 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by visiting one of our Welcome Desks during the Zoo's normal hours of operation.