Earlier this week, the St. Louis Zoo was ranked the third-best zoo in the country, and the fourth-best in the world. As the Tweeters would say: #StLcivicpride.

Now comes this via the newly-released book, "The Ultimate Football Road Trip." The Edward Jones Dome doesn't, uh, rank quite that high among NFL venues.

Author Sean MacDonald, who's from Ottawa, Canada, but now lives in New York, drove to all 31 NFL venues over a four-month period last season. (He visited MetLife Stadium twice — once to watch the Jets play and once to take in a Giants game.)

When all was said and done in MacDonald's 20,000 mile trek, he rated watching a Rams game at the Dome. . . .dead last.

"For the rankings, I'm really looking primarily at the stadium and the game-day experience that I had," MacDonald said.

Timing was everything in this instance, because the game MacDonald attended in St. Louis was easily the team's worst home showing of the season — a 35-11 Thursday night loss to San Francisco on Sept. 26.

"It was just a bad game, and they tried that 'white-out' thing and that failed," MacDonald said. "Fans were supposed to wear white; the Rams wore their road whites at home. It didn't really work well because the 'Niners wear red, and the Edward Jones Dome seats are all red. There were more than a few 49ers fans as well.

"Beyond the fact that the game wasn't very good, I found the pregame party outside the Dome was like lame compared to a lot of the other ones. I expected a lot more energy. But it just didn't seem like the fans were into it. I know last year was a tough year for the Rams. The last few years, in fact."

(Try the last decade.)

"And then inside, the fans were mostly gone by the third quarter," MacDonald continued. "One thing I mentioned in the book specifically is I saw a dead cockroach near one of the concession stands, so I found that to be rather unappetizing. So I didn't eat there."

MacDonald did find some plusses during his visit to Our Town.

"I love St. Louis," he said. "I've been to St. Louis many, many times. It's a great city. The St. Louis downtown I like. There's a lot of good restaurants around and bars that I visited while I was there. I like the fact that you can take transit to the game.

"Busch Stadium is one of the most beautiful ballparks out there. I happened to see a game there, fortunately. The Cards had an afternoon game there the day before (the Rams-49ers) and I got a free ticket to that from a generous fan."

As for football in the Dome, MacDonald said: "I think an outdoor stadium would be a bit nicer. The dome is quite old. There's not a lot of the bells and whistles that you have in the newer places.

"So that, I think, factors into why — and what happened in that particular game with the crowd and that sort of thing — why that ended up having them (ranked) down at the end."

No surprise here, but Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, was ranked first in his tour.

MacDonald actually has been to all 122 venues in North America's "big four" professional sports: the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL.

"The Ultimate Football Road Trip" is available in e-book form for $4.99 on Amazon.

Follow Jim Thomas on twitter @jthom1

Jim Thomas is the lead Rams beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.