St. Louis Zoo Museum District Gives Code Council Conference Attendees Five Ways to Enjoy the City
At the Code Council's Annual Conference and Expo in St. Louis, attendees can explore a world of history, art, and interactive exhibits across the Zoo Museum District.
The International Code Council’s 2023 Annual Conference and Expo (October 8-11) is less than two months away, but there’s still time to register and attend its many events. Scheduled to take place at America’s Center in St. Louis, Mo., the expo also gives attendees the opportunity to explore a thriving city that’s known for its many attractions and dynamic food scene.
Some of the city’s most popular attractions are part of the Zoo Museum District, which was founded more than 50 years ago in 1972. This district includes five subdistricts – the Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Zoo and Missouri Botanical Garden – and all but the latter offer free general admission.
“Even out-of-town guests get to explore these beloved institutions complimentary,” said Matthew L. Pollock, Executive Director for the Zoo Museum District. “And that excites me because it gives people the opportunity to visit St. Louis and say, ‘I could never go to the zoo with my whole family and get in for free and enjoy the attractions at this level.’”
The Saint Louis Zoo attracts between two to three million visitors annually and was voted one of the top 10 best zoos in the country by USA Today readers. With more than 600 species (including several that are endangered) and more than 16,000 animals in total, the Saint Louis Zoo prides itself on being a leader in wildlife education and conservation.
Historical Expeditions in St. Louis
This year’s Conference and Expo will feature three different building tours, the first of which offers a look at historical landmarks and buildings throughout St. Louis. Attendees can dive into history even further by visiting the Missouri History Museum and Saint Louis Art Museum.
The former allows visitors to peruse more than 175,000 artifacts and 700,000 photographic images. Current exhibits include Painting Creole St. Louis, which showcases reproductions of the work of Anna Maria von Phul (Missouri’s first known woman artist), and Soccer City, which highlights St. Louis’ homegrown soccer culture. Another exhibit, St. Louis Sound Reprise, provides visitors with a smaller selection of content from the original St. Louis Sound exhibit. From Chuck Berry and Nelly, to Ike & Tina Turner, St. Louis has been a catalyst for several musical superstars.
At the Saint Louis Art Museum, guests can discover 36,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of history and culture. The original Saint Louis Art Museum building was designed by acclaimed American architect Cass Gilbert (known for the Woolworth Building, the U.S. Supreme Court building and three state capitols) for the 1904 World’s Fair. British architect David Chipperfield designed an additional building more than 100 years later, adding approximately 30 percent more space for new exhibits.
One of the newest exhibits, The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, celebrates the art history of hip-hop culture. Aso Oke: Prestige Cloth from Nigeria (opening September 29) will showcase 19th and 20th-century textiles from Yoruba weavers in southwestern Nigeria.
“There’s so much good that each of the institutions do,” said Pollock. “They are part of the community and they recognize that, whether it’s doing special programs or offering internships for underrepresented groups. There is a lot that we as locals learn by going as well.”
Science Comes to Life Through the Zoo Museum District
St. Louis also contains one of the nation’s best science centers. Featuring more than 100,000 artifacts, multiple flight simulators, a planetarium and one of the world’s only OMNIMAX theaters (an IMAX Dome with laser projection), the Saint Louis Science Center offers something for everyone.
GameXploration, an interactive showcase of board games, video games and more, is among the many exhibits. Liftoff, a history of space travel, demonstrates the impact St. Louis has had on sending Americans into space. Earth Sciences provides a look at prehistoric creatures, most notably the Tyrannosaurus rex. There’s even a Doctor Who exhibit that displays the only screen-used, full-scale TARDIS in North America.
Finally, the Missouri Botanical Garden. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to check out the Chihuly in the Garden 2023 exhibit just before it concludes on October 15. With thousands of pieces of blown glass from world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly, the exhibit merges art and nature for 20 beautiful installations. The Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum is another notable attraction, combining a mix of art, artifacts and other items collected over the last 160 years.
Visitors should also be sure to check out the Climatron, which was named one of the 100 most significant architectural achievements in U.S. history for being the first conservatory built within a geodesic dome. With no interior support or columns standing in the way, more light is allowed to shine through, providing the perfect atmosphere to grow more than 2,800 plants, including bananas, cacao seeds and coffee beans.
To register for the Code Council’s Annual Conference and Expo, and explore St. Louis, click here.