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Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison

Despite its relatively small size, Henry Vilas Zoo showcases animals from around the world in a mix of indoor and outdoor habitats. Resident land animals include primates, big cats, tropical birds, and North American prairie animals. In the water, you'll see reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Kids will love the children's zoo, complete with carousel, zoo train, and play area, as well as a year-round exhibit of goats and alpacas. The zoo’s discovery center is equipped with microscopes and magnifying glasses, so you can examine feathers, scales, and skin, or even see tarantulas, cockroaches, millipedes, and other small creatures up close. Take a look at our Madison sightseeing planner to schedule your visit to Henry Vilas Zoo and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Henry Vilas Zoo Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,598 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • My family and I visited Henry Vilas Zoo on a 80 degree day. It’s free, it’s small, has a train ride, carousel, and it’s perfect for a family visit! It does not have the biggest variety of animals but ...  more »
  • Had a blast at this wonderful Zoo in downtown Madison with our friends and all the children. We love coming here a few times every year! So happy that our community has this available for children to ...  more »
  • We visit the zoo as often as we can. We don't care if it is warm or cold, summer, fall, spring, or winter. We have been so impressed with the work of the zoo staff that we joined as members. The Zoo g...  more »
Google
  • We took my two year old. He hasn't really had much exposure to real public things. He loved it without a doubt. Spacious place that can be easily mapped out for a smoke break half way through. The other guest were very polite and courteous We look forward to coming back
  • Great place to take your kids to see some cool animals. And for being a free zoo, it has a lot to offer. The carousel and the train ride are always fun for the kids and the park inside the zoo is rather large as well. There is also a picnic area inside as well as a restaurant to eat at if you choose that looks out at some of the exhibits. Definitely a great and affordable option for fun with the family.
  • The Henry Vilas Zoo here in Madison is a little treasure although small and free it still offers a wide variety of species of animals to view in safe for the public and safe for the animals compounds. It also has a great children's zoo with many interesting things for children to do while also learning about the animalswithin it. The park that is part of the zoo is great for outdoor activities including picnics. There is a bike path through the area and small beach that is part of the area. The zoo is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with the family you can bring your own food and drinks and use the picnic tables here or you can get food from one of the many food outlets in the zoo. You owe it to yourself and your family to come and see the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • I love zoos. But this one was sad. The enclosures were dirty and terribly small. I understand not all zoos are going to be able to have large natural habitats for each animal...but provide for the few animals they do have(the giraffe, lion and tiger areas are so small the have no room to run or burn off energy) . Clean areas, enough space for the animals to run and exercise, fresh water... This zoo could be really nice, a great place for families if they could clean it up and provide for the animals they have(and get the trash out of the cages).
  • Excellent free zoo. Plenty of outdoor and indoor exhibits to explore. A cafe is on site if you get hungry. Great place to see primates, lions, tigers, bears and my favorite the red pandas. My family and I love going here. Afterward you can take a walk through the adjoining park or swim in the lake.
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