St. Louis Zoo To Open Animal-Themed Hotel

St Louis zoo hotel penguins
Flickr, Jorge Rodrigo Gonzalez

The St. Louis Zoo has some major expansion plans in store for the next several decades, including an open savannah, a gondola crossing the park, a formal restaurant and a boutique hotel. The Missouri zoo will be making big changes to their existing park and developing a new site, bringing the total campus to over 100 acres, and creating new animal habitats and attractions. Don’t get ready to book yet, the full strategic plan is not due until the end of 2014, and construction could still be well into the future.

Where else can you overnight with animals, even if you don’t have kids?
Cincinnati Zoo has several after-hours options for families and kids, such as family camping outside the giraffe exhibit or inside the manatees building. You can even travel with the zoo on an African safari to Kenya.

Cleveland Zoo has a variety of fun overnight programs for children, but the adults have the option of a cash bar and make-your-own s’mores in the summer months. Costs are $90 to $300, depending on tent size.

The Houston Zoo Wild Winks program is primarily for children, but private events can be arranged. Want to sleep without the fishes? On November 1, adults can attend the annual Feast with the Beasts fundraiser event with 80 local restaurants providing food and drinks, animal appearances, and a performance by Smash Mouth. The zoo also hosts trips to Yellowstone, Alaska and Kenya.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park regularly offers “roar and snore” overnight camping excursions for children and families, and an “adults-only” option where you can learn animal facts for mature audiences only. Tickets range from $140-$264 per person, depending on age, membership, and tent size.

The Washington National Zoo hosts adults only for summer snore & roars including wine and cheese and an after-hours tour. Families and kids can choose their favorite animal or regional tour, from Amazonia to chimpanzees, but eat before you arrive, dinner is not on the menu.

A Bear Walks Into a Bar in Juneau, Politely Leaves When Asked

AER Wilmington DE, Flickr

You have to be pretty rowdy and intoxicated to be asked to leave a bar. Or you just have to be a bear.

In Juneau, Alaska on Monday night a black bear walked into the downtown Alaskan Hotel & Bar. The bartender’s response? Ask it to leave of course.

RELATED: Pig in Australia Steals 18 Beers from Campers, Gets Drunk, Fights Cow

The hotel’s bartender Ariel Svetlik-McCarthy saw the bear, appropriately responded with a minor freakout and yelled, “No bear! Get out! No! You can’t be in here!”

Unlike raucous frat boys, the bear politely responded by turning around and leaving (you can watch the video of it doing so). Or maybe he just didn’t see his favorite IPA on tap.

The story is reminiscent of other animal-booze run-ins over the last couple of months. There was the beer-drinking pig in Australia, and another bear who hit up a bar in Colorado and was also caught on surveillance video. Sounds like animals are just in need of a cocktail right now.

All jokes aside, animal encounters of this kind are taken seriously; state officials have had to kill two bears in Juneau this year for causing a nuisance.

Bear Walks Right Into Alaskan Bar

Pig in Australia Steals 18 Beers from Campers, Gets Drunk, Fights Cow

Craig ONeal, Flickr

Forget crocodiles and snakes, the real animal threat in Australia is wild pigs. At least if you’re camping.

At a campground in Western Australia over the weekend, a feral pig guzzled down 18 beers that had been left out improperly secured. And just like anyone 18 beers in at a rural dive bar, the pig got big-headed and decided to start a fight with a cow, resulting in the cow chasing the pig around a car.

“In the middle of the night these people camping opposite us heard a noise, so they got their torch out and shone it on the pig and there he was, scrunching away at their cans,” said a visitor.

The pig was later reported sleeping his hangover (and shame of trying to take down a cow?) off under a tree.

While feral pigs are considered an invasive pest in many parts of the country, it’s also a reminder to keep food and drink secured when camping. Just imagine if it had been a drunk kangaroo.

Family Finds Rare Animal on Vacation, Then Serves It For Dinner

hexapus octapus Greece
Labros Hydras/SWNS

Nothing like catching your own food and eating it on vacation. Except for when you find out that your nightly catch is an extremely rare species.

That’s what happened recently in Greece. While vacationing in the sunny southern European country, Labros Hydras captured an octopus while snorkeling, and not knowing that it happened to be an extremely rare hexapus, killed it and ended up preparing it for family dinner.

For those not in the know, a hexapus is an octopus with six legs instead of eight. There is dispute on where the first one was sighted, but it was either in the early nineties or 2008. And now there would have been yet another, if it hadn’t been consumed for dinner instead.

But when you have had a vacation tradition for years of catching your own seafood, should you be held responsible for your actions?

“It tasted just like a normal octopus, but now I feel really bad,” Hydras told The Telegraph. “When we caught it, there was nothing to suggest it was any different or had been damaged. I thought it had just been born with six tentacles.”

And in light of his actions, Hydras is insistent on doing what he can to remedy the situation. “Now I want to pursue the scientific angle to make scientists aware of the existence of the wild hexapus. It is the least that I can do given my ignorance and guilt that I feel for killing such a rare animal.”

Lesson: eating locally isn’t always the best policy.

Movie Questions SeaWorld’s Animal Capitivity Practices


A vacation to SeaWorld may not seem as innocent as it once may have with the release of ‘Blackfish.’ The documentary explores the case of Tilikum, an orca who killed three people in 2010, while also providing context and information on captive whales in general. Now that the movie is being screened to the public, the reviews are in, as well as the tweets:


'Blackfish' Doc Looks at SeaWorld's Captive Whales
What do you think? Are SeaWorld’s captivity policies cruel to animals?