10 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Missouri

Updated On October 7, 2023

I admit not having been to either a zoo or aquarium in probably at least 15 years.

After finding out about 10 of the best zoos and Aquariums in Missouri, it had me thinking about visiting a couple.

Zoos & Aquariums in Missouri

1. Kansas City Zoo (Kansas City, MO)

The Kansas City Zoon attraction that intrigued me the most is Alligator Alley.

41 KSHB reported that this exhibit would open during Memorial Weekend in 2022.

I thought at first that Alligator Alley might just consist of “fake” alligators meant to entertain children.

However, I later learned that the five female gators residing on the Kansas City Zoo grounds are real. 

I’d like to see this up close in person for sure, and I bet it would fascinate people of all ages – not just kids. 

So many other activities take place at The Zoo besides alligators roaming its grounds though.

Other featured exhibits include Polar Bear Passage, Helzberg Penguin Plaza, and the Sting Ray Bay or Orangutan Canopy. 

Polar Bear Passage has a 140,000-gallon pool of water cooled to the temperature these bears like (65 degrees).

The Helzberg Penguin Plaza includes an excellent saltwater habitat that mimics where Humboldt Penguins came from in Peru and Chile, South America. 

The Orangutan Canopy demonstrates what’s needed to keep the species alive, and the StingRay Bay allows guests to dip their toes in where the rays swim.

New exhibits may come and go when you least expect them, however.

Make sure you don’t delay too long seeing what you want to see at the KS City Zoo. 

This Missouri zoo features a total of 1,700 animals as of 2023.

The wildlife here represents more than 200 species residing on at least 202 acres. 

2. Dickerson Park Zoo (Springfield, MO)

Dickerson Park Zoo (DPZ) features more than 500 animals, such as tigers, leopards, wallabies, and zebras.

It’s also home to the macaw bird, river otters, kangaroos, and birds.

You’ll find exhibits featuring animals from just about every continent here. 

One activity I would want to participate in if I come here is the interactive Animal Rendevous.

It’s an event you have to plan privately ahead of time.

Usually, one adult is required and only about four to eight people total attend this attraction at once. 

When you sign up for an Animal Encounter session, you could get up close and personal with river otters.

If you’re more daring, you could also climb in with the “tigers, lions, and bears – oh my!” (Forgive me for quoting an overused Wizard of Oz line.) 

Otherwise, interact with a female elephant, whitetail deer, giraffes or reptiles and amphibians, and more.

It’s not exactly a cheap event, so you may want to go with people to afford to split the cost.

However, children may also love it if they have the time and means to experience this.    

3. Wild Animal Adventures (Stanton, MO)

Not all zoos will allow you to feed the animals there.

However, Wild Animal Adventures in Stanton, Missouri gives you the chance to feed stingrays.

You can even hold an alligator if you want, or view tigers and kangaroos. 

You’re also allowed to touch sharks and snakes here and other animals.

They also have quite the water animal display, which includes lionfish and porcupine fish in addition to stingrays. 

Other animals found at the Wild Animal Adventures park include tigers, goats, llamas, and lizards or crocodiles.

Some animals you can just look at, but others are a part of the petting zoo section. 

I’ve never heard of a zoo that allows you to touch as many animals as this one does.

It seems like it would be worth the trip to visit Wild Animal Adventures. 

4. Branson’s Wild World (Branson, MO)

I think Branson‘s Wild World has one of the best aquariums there is, or so it seems from what I just found out about it.

It has more of a variety of sea creatures in it than you may find at some zoos. 

You can witness eels, piranhas, jellyfish, sea turtles, and sharks.

This aquarium even has a reef tank, which I personally would love to see.

Both children and adults come to this zoo all the time and feed some of the animals. 

Other animals in Branson’s Wild World include alligators, tigers, lions, kangaroos, jackals, foxes, and more.

Interaction with some of the creatures on site also takes place here. 

One interesting display found here is the Lemur Playground.

Ringtail lemurs that look like a cross between a monkey and a raccoon live here. 

Guests at the lemur exhibit like to take photos with this mild-mannered creature.

It appears to behave like a monkey or ape, with its climbing tendencies and all.

I think maybe I’d also want to see the Deadly and Dangerous and Living Dinosaurs sections.

Otherwise, I’d take a walk in Wolf Woods if it’s open when I arrive. 

5. St. Louis Aquarium (St. Louis, MO)

I know where I’d want to go if I were to ever go back to St. Louis a second time.

I think it’s genius the way this aquatic zoo has set safe diving experiences for people. 

An astounding 250,000 gallons of water holds sharks, which you can view without fear of being bitten.

View Sandbar Sharks, Lesser Rays, Pork Fish, Pilchards, and more.

Another exhibit opens you up to a coral underworld with sea dragons, octopuses, Pelican eels, and jellyfish. 

I’ve always been curious about underwater creatures.

I know it’s not for everyone though.

There’s also an exhibit that allows you to view shallow-water creatures from the ocean shore.

Here, you will find crustaceans, sea stars, and urchins. 

6. Saint Louis Zoo (St. Louis, MO)

The Saint Louis Zoo (STL Zoo), located in St. Louis, Missouri houses more than 14,000 animals representing more than 600 species. 

Major STL Zoo attractions include the Dinaroarus, which commemorates dinosaurs, and the Caribbean Cove, where you can sometimes touch stingrays or bamboo sharks.

The 4D theater, Zooline Railroad, Sea Lion Show, and Conversational Carousel also attract crowds. 

The 4D theater plays full-length features that make children feel present in the scenes.

It’s virtual reality, almost like real life.

I myself love trains and animals, so the Zooline Railroad ride would definitely be what I would want to partake in if I were to visit STL. 

Beyond that, the sea lions and the carousel ride seem like a great way to keep children five years old and younger occupied at least briefly.

STL Zoo also has a variety of restaurants and gift shops which can keep children fed and satisfied. 

I’ve been to St. Louis at least once in my life.

I know what the city is like.

Parts of it are very “urban.”

Going to this zoo for the day could be a nearby escape from the fast-paced city life.

Even people who have lived here all their lives would probably think so. 

7. Springfield Safari (Stafford, MO)

You may hear of Springfield Safari, called the Wild Animal Safari in Stafford, Missouri.

I think it offers visitors one of the most unique experiences for viewing animals I have ever heard of.

They offer a drive-through trail (Drive-Thru Safari) that features five miles of animals en route.

What’s nice is you can use your own vehicle if you want.

On the other hand, you’re offered the opportunity to rent one when you arrive if you don’t have one, or you can hop aboard a tour bus. 

The Drive-Thru Safari may give you the opportunity to pack in more sightseeing activities for the day.

Otherwise, it may give you an idea of where you could go to see what you want to see if you decide to stay longer at the zoo. 

You can also see animals on foot at the Springfield Safari Zoo in the Walkabout Adventure Zoo section.

Here, you can take in the sights and sounds of the wildlife residing in what is as close as possible to their ideal habitat. 

The Safari Zoo features a variety of wildlife from around the world, including tigers, lions, monkeys, giraffes, lemurs, peacocks, and more.

I have noticed lately that zoos also provide ways to feel as personally connected to animals as possible.

This animal park does that via its private Animal Encounters program. 

8. Endangered Wolf Center (Eureka, MO)

The Endangered Wolf Center seems to believe in its mission.

They even explain on their website why wolves are so important in nature. 

If you’re passionate about the wild and about wolves, this park’s exhibits are for you.

They also provide extensive education on wildlife, featuring the Mexican, Manned, and Red Wolves.

They also show you the Swift Fox, African Painted Dog, and more.  

9. Aquarium At The Boardwalk (Branson, MO)

The Aquarium at the Boardwalk in Branson, Missouri offers a unique and exciting experience for visitors of all ages.

For instance, this park’s Submarine Adventure allows visitors to learn about octopuses, sea turtles, sting rays, and striped saltwater fish.

You might also see sharks, jellyfish, coral reefs, and other ocean creatures while you stay dry inside an underwater ship.

I felt intrigued by another possibly offered at this Bransom Aquarium. 

Now, as far as I know, mermaids don’t exist.

However, the Mermaid and Mermen exhibit allows young people to use their imagination.

They also can feel a little bit about what it’s like to be amongst hundreds of sardines and miniature seahorses. 

10. Promised Land Zoo (Eagle Rock, MO)

The Promised Land Zoo (PLZ) operates in both Branson and Eagle Rock.

It includes the Eureka Springs Safari Park, which has different drive-through viewing options. 

Here, you can view deer antelope, elk, and bison.

You may also spot some camels and kangaroos.

I found it to be a place for people who love to bird-watch too, and it features parakeets.

It also has a petting zoo and VIP touring options. 

At the Branson PLZ location, you also have the choice to drive through or walk through the park.

They even have habitats set up for owls and other nocturnal animals. 

You might spot some zebras, giraffes, deer, camels or lemurs, and other land creatures too.

What’s more, you have a chance to get up close to exotic animals you may not normally see in person in your lifetime. 

Branson zoo offers basic on-foot admission to start with.

However, you can also try out the VIP Animal Adventure, which provides you with up-close animal interactions.

The Ultimate Excursion offers even more opportunities to spend time with animals one on one. 

10 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Missouri – Summary Table

Zoos & AquariumsAddress
Kansas City Zoo6800 Zoo Dr, Kansas City, MO 64132, USA
Dickerson Park Zoo1401 W Norton Rd, Springfield, MO 65803, USA
Wild Animal Adventures2719 N Service Rd W, Sullivan, MO 63080, USA
Branson’s Wild World2020 W 76 Country Blvd #2100, Branson, MO 65616, United States
St. Louis Aquarium201 S 18th St, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA
Saint Louis Zoo1 Government Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
Springfield Safari124 Jungle Rd, Strafford, MO 65757, USA
Endangered Wolf Center6750 Tyson Valley Rd, Eureka, MO 63025, USA
Aquarium At The Boardwalk2700 W 76 Country Blvd unit a, Branson, MO 65616, USA
Promised Land Zoo2751 Shepherd of the Hills Expy, Branson, MO 65616, USA

Missouri Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Missouri Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What zoo in Missouri has the most animals?

As far as I know, St. Louis Zoo has the highest number of animals in it.

It started out with only 200 but has more than 14,000 as of 2023.

What is the best zoo in Missouri?

It depends on what you’re looking for in a zoo.

It might seem like I mentioned St. Louis Zoo quite a bit.

That’s because it does provide a variety of activities for families with children of all ages.

It received recognition as the best zoo in the nation by USA Today in its 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

What is the best aquarium in Missouri?

If you consider the largest aquarium and wildlife attraction, it would be Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield.

However, I personally felt impressed by what the Aquarium at the Boardwalk in Branson has to offer.

What Missouri Zoo has the most land?

Apparently, St. Louis Zoo has the most land.

It spans over 90 acres and is a part of Forest Park.

1 Comment on 10 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Missouri

  1. I am personally intrigued by the diverse and interactive experiences offered at the zoos and aquariums in Missouri.

Leave a Comment

Facebook Pinterest Comment Comment