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Family Fun in Wisconsin: Henry Vilas Zoo

Family Fun in Wisconsin: Henry Vilas Zoo

My kids and I love exploring new zoos together. Last weekend while on an overnight trip to Madison, Wisconsin, we headed to the Henry Vilas Zoo for the morning. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Henry Vilas Zoo is a 28-acre public zoo that charges no admission or parking fees. The free zoo houses amphibians, birds, fish, insects, mammals, and reptiles from several continents.

Henry Vilas Zoo

To make the most of our day, my kids and I arrived at the Henry Vilas Zoo right before the gates opened at 9:30 in the morning. The grounds open at that time but the exhibit buildings do not open until ten o’clock. My kiddos and I therefore started our day by checking out some of the outside animals such as the giraffes, camels, sheep, ostrich, and wild ass. I especially enjoyed watching the two giraffes begin their morning by eating and rubbing against some trees to scratch some itches.

Giraffe at Henry Vilas Zoo Camel at Henry Vilas Zoo

Wild Ass at Henry Vilas Zoo Capybara at Henry Vilas Zoo

Piranha at Henry Vilas Zoo Macaws at Henry Vilas Zoo

My favorite animals at the Henry Vilas Zoo were the polar bears and grizzly bears. Because admission to the zoo was free, my kids and I chose to spend some money at the Glacier Grille. The little restaurant is located in the Arctic Passage exhibit, which includes new enclosures for seals and returning grizzly and polar bears that opened May 23, 2015. As my kids ate their sandwiches and animal crackers and I ate my macaroni and cheese and veggie sticks, we got to watch the polar bears through a glass partition. I had a great time watching one polar bear roll around in the dirt, turning from white to brown!

Ducks at Henry Vilas Zoo Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 1

Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 2 Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 3

Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 4 Grizzly Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 1

Although the Henry Vilas Zoo is on the smaller side compared with many others, my kids and I spent almost four hours wandering around. In addition to the polar and grizzly bears, my kids also really loved the male lion who roared and peed on a tree. When we got home, my son made sure to tell his daddy and grandma that the lion roared and peed. I also enjoyed the capybaras and orangutans. My daughter said that her favorite animals were the blue and yellow macaws. My son also really like looking at the American alligators.

 

Grizzly Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 2 Prairie Dogs at Henry Vilas Zoo

American Alligator at Henry Vilas Zoo Goats at Henry Vilas Zoo

If you are ever in the Madison area of Wisconsin with kids and a few hours of time, definitely check out the Henry Vilas Zoo. With free admission, the zoo is a great place to for a little family fun. My kids and I spent almost four hours looking at all the animals including giraffes, lions, polar bears, and grizzly bears. The Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison is family time well spent!

Penguins at Henry Vilas Zoo Lion at Henry Vilas Zoo

Lemurs at Henry Vilas Zoo Orangutan at Henry Vilas Zoo

For more information, visit the Henry Vilas Zoo website.

Image Credits

Family Fun in Wisconsin: Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Giraffe at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Camel at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Wild Ass at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Capybara at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Piranha at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Macaws at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Ducks at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 1 © 2017 Heather Johnson
Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 2 © 2017 Heather Johnson
Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 3 © 2017 Heather Johnson
Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 4 © 2017 Heather Johnson
Grizzly Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 1 © 2017 Heather Johnson
Grizzly Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo 2 © 2017 Heather Johnson
Prairie Dogs at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
American Alligator at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Goats at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Penguins at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Lion at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Lemurs at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson
Orangutan at Henry Vilas Zoo © 2017 Heather Johnson

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