By Suzanne Vanderhoef
What used to be a golf course in North St. Louis is about to undergo a major change: the 425 acres in unincorporated Spanish Lake are being transformed into the Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Park.
Currently under construction and renovation, the WildCare Park will be an entirely different experience than what visitors are used to at the Zoo. The animals, primarily large ungulates, or hoofed species, such as things like Grevy’s Zebras, addax, giraffes and White Rhinos.
“We will have multiple pastures where we will breed endangered ungulates, or animals with hooves,” explains Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park Director Jo-Elle Mogerman. “And we’re going to give them private space where we can build up those numbers. And many of those species have current recovery programs So ideally, some of those animals that are born here go back to their range land to help our conservation efforts.”
In addition, the other half of the WildCare Park will be more experiential for visitors. The main draw will be two large safari areas where people will ride through a savannah and a woodland region while the animals roam freely around them.
“It will be really cool to be on a vehicle — probably around the size of a bus– and be able to ride through these pastures,” says Mogerman. “I mean, the savannah pasture’s around 90 acres and the woodland is about 60 acres. So there will be a herd of giraffes and zebra and bongo and ostriches all kind of around you and we will ride on that path – it’ll be about 20 minutes—and we’ll get to talk about the animals and what they’re doing in real time.”
The Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park is set to open to the public in 2027