Penguin and Puffin Coast, arguably the most popular attraction at the Saint Louis Zoo, is now closed until 2015. Construction begins today, September 3, on a new polar bear exhibit, so we sent photographer Jon Gitchoff to bring back these photos of the adorable penguins and puffins in case you missed it. "While we regret that visitors will miss seeing the penguins, it is critical that zoos protect polar bears, which are declining in the wild and are highly vulnerable," says Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Louis Zoo, in a statement. The exhibit last came into the spotlight back in 2012, when former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, in town for an NRA convention, was nipped on the hand by a penguin.
The first official weekend of spring 2014 was a warm one, and St. Louis residents -- including the animals! -- were anxious to bask in the sun. Furry friends at the Saint Louis Zoo took full advantage of the crowds, with baby sifakas eating up attention in the Primate House, the sea lions practicing their shows as "spring training" and giraffes, elephants and cheetahs soaking up rays. Humans also enjoyed the weather, riding the carousel and checking out wares at the St. Louis Museum Stores "Garage Sale" on March 22, 2014.
Photos by Steve Truesdell for the Riverfront Times.
When a party celebrates a birth and announces your new name, that means you'll get more presents, right? During a celebration on January 19,2015, the Saint Louis Zoo finally revealed the name of the baby Sumatran orangutan that was born in December -- Ginger. The zoo had put the name to an online vote earlier this month.
Within her colorfully decorated habitat, mama orangutan Merah collected gifts of cranberries and lettuce, played with crepe paper and hugged Ginger as she swung around on vines. After the party, Riverfront Times photographer Micah Usher shot views from other nearby habitats.
After being closed for a year and a half, animal lovers and penguin fans attended the opening of the newly renovated Penguin and Puffin Coast at the St. Louis Zoo on March 5, 2015. The zoo celebrated the reopening with a parade and reception.
One of America's most popular zoos, the Saint Louis Zoo features a dazzling array of animals in modern settings, a children's zoo, Penguin and Puffin Coast, the Insectarium, the River's Edge and several other unique displays.