Of course, the stingrays were an exceptional experience, people, either from the St. Louis area or visiting here, could enjoy this year. Like everything our Saint Louis Zoo offers, an amazing visit with very special animals, an up-close encounter or the educational message - from a day at the Zoo, everyone can go home with memories that bring smiles and thoughtful insights that make us, individually and collectively, more concerned about the inhabitants and welfare of our planet. Thank you for acknowledging a real winner!
Best Kids' Thrill - 2009
Stingrays at Caribbean Cove
The only thing more thrilling than the final note of Stingray Cove's ubiquitous television commercials and their ear-wrenching version of "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" is actually visiting the exhibit itself. Yes, their venom-coated barbs have been trimmed, and they're pretty docile creatures to begin with, but the experience of petting a ray is still, well, thrilling. More than 30 stingrays call the Saint Louis Zoo's 17,000-gallon pool home. Most are cownose rays; a few are a larger species, the southern stingray, which can grow to a "wing"span of four feet across. The petting pool's concrete barrier is about knee-high and decorated with shell and sand-dollar imprints. Lean your body over the edge, dip your hand into the warm salt water and wait. Inevitably, a ray will glide over to your palm. Their skin feels like a slick wetsuit; sometimes their wings take on the nefarious look of a shark's fin and they'll slap at the water's surface — a little gesture that'll even make some adults take a startled jump back. Admission is $1.50 to $3, and free for the first hour the zoo's open.