Trip Planner:   USA  /  Wisconsin  /  Madison  /  Zoos & Aquariums  /  Henry Vilas Zoo

Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison

(1,200+ reviews on the web)
Zoo / Aquarium Nature / Park
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. Plan to see Henry Vilas Zoo and other attractions that appeal to you using our Madison trip itinerary maker.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I have visited many wonderful zoos much larger than this one, but it's strength is that it is a very manageable size when going with small children. You can see everything in about 1-2 hours depending...  more »
  • Love you could spend half day visiting zoo then pack picnic lunch to enjoy on beautiful green grass then feed the ducks. Great family fun day. Highly recommend.  more »
  • Honestly this could be the best find in Madison for families with young children. The animals were well taken care of. Very clean. Really great location. There is a beach style park across from the zo...  more »
Google
  • We have been here many times and I will tell you that Henry Vilas Zoo is one of the best FREE zoos in America. Actually, it is the best smaller zoos in America. It is not huge and parking can be really hard to obtain in the summer and weekends. I would highly suggest arriving at 9:30 a.m., when the zoo opens. In all honesty, this is the perfect sized zoo for little children, who can not walk a lot and get cranky after 1-2 hours of viewing. I hate spending $35-$70 for 2 hours, because children burn out. So make a $1.00-$5.00 donation on your way out! Keep this great zoo running!
  • As you can read from the other reviews, it's free! Last time I went, the suggested donation was only $2. Great size, variety of animals, atmosphere, and exhibit setup for a free zoo. Also a nice size for being in a city of Madison's size. You may have to get creative when finding parking on busy summer days.
  • Probably one of the best places in all of Madison Wisconsin. A free zoo that has a ton of animals that are all seemingly well cared for, a fun shop for buying stuffed animals and wasting all the money you can manage to cough up for the purposes of keeping your baby happy for an hour or two. Some days are really crowded, some days are nice and quiet. The polar bear exhibit is pretty neat.
  • Oh My Goodness.... Coming from the Rockford, IL Area, we have limited activities and this including both paid and free. So when I came to this place for the first time, I was blown away... There was some much for the kids to see and do with the animals and the many hands on experiences was amazing. Best part about all this, IT'S FREE!!!!....
  • My husband live in Appleton and I just decided to take a drive to the Dells. Then we realized that Madison was only 40 more minutes drive. My husban lives zoos, so I looked for one in Madison. Henry Vilas zoo came up. The fact that it is free was just awesome! We loved it and plan in making another trip there soon with some family.