St. Louis has such a wonderful - and free - zoo that it's an easy default go-to when we want to spend time with animals. If we want to mix it up, we'll head to Grant's Farm, Purina Farms, or the World Bird Sanctuary, instead. With all of those options so close, I didn't have much motivation to visit Critter Lane Petting Zoo until a friend put together a homeschool outing. While it was a bit of a drive for us, it was completely doable and well worth the time.
The animals seemed well cared for. Their enclosures were clean and they had staff milling around to ensure the animals were treated well by visitors.
What You Need to Know
Admission is very reasonable - $6pp, babies and toddlers are free. There's an extra charge for camel rides. Cups of feed are $3. Keep your cups and you'll get $2 refills. The cups were large enough for 2 children to share.
There are a few small buildings, but most of the attractions are outdoors, like a zoo. The animals are all very friendly and love being fed. There's a pen with friendly goats, a barn with lots of furry little animals to pet and hold, and a wide variety of animals to feed through the fence.
In addition to all of that, there are also animals to ride, a bouncy house, and a small playground. If you pack a lunch you can easily spend several hours here.
And you should pack a lunch - or at least some snacks. The petting zoo is rural and doesn't offer food or drinks - beyond a water fountain - so you'll want to be prepared. There are restrooms on site.
The paths aren't paved so take your baby carrier OR use one of their complimentary wagons to pull your little ones along. Wear comfy shoes and if it has recently rained you may want boots or old footwear.
Be sure to visit their website in the link above and check out their FB page, for the most up-to-date information: hours, directions, and animals currently in residence.
Check out the unit study ideas over at the Gift of Curiosity.
For middle schoolers and teens, check out this unit study on George Orwell's Animal Farm.
Search your library for the below books, but if you do decide to purchase, please use my links as I'm an Amazon 'Affiliate partner and your purchases help support my blog.