Weather freezes out St. Louis Zoo elephant’s birthday bash

For the third time in his life, Raja, the St. Louis Zoo’s Asian bull elephant, won’t be present for his birthday celebration.

Cold temperatures and ice-covered paths have forced zoo officials to cancel Wednesday’s scheduled 25th birthday party for Raja, the first Asian elephant born at the zoo.

“Because the Saint Louis Zoo is dedicated to caring for animals, Raja and the other elephants will be in their indoor climate-controlled barn,” the zoo said in a written statement.

However, the zoo is still hosting children’s activities at the Lakeside cafe. Visitors may still sign a super-sized birthday card for Raja and learn more about the elephants and elephant conservation through keeper chats, activities and biofacts from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Lakeside Cafe. Birthday cupcakes and hot chocolate will be available for purchase.

Visitors are also invited to interact with elephant bio facts and snap a selfie using the zoo’s “Raja’s Birthday” Snapchat filter.

Two snowstorms in 2009 and 2010 canceled Raja’s 17th and 18th birthday party’s as well.

Born on Dec. 27, 1992, Raja was the first Asian elephant born at the Zoo and has since sired four female calves – Maliha, Jade, Kenzi and Priya. The Zoo’s three-generation Asian elephant family continues to thrive under the zoo’s highly-trained professional animal care team.

The Zoo will remain open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily Tuesday through Saturday this week, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The Zoo will be closed on New Year’s Day. U.S. Bank Wild Lights continues through Dec. 30. For a complete list of hours and information on Wild Lights, visit

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