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Henry Vilas Zoo

702 South Randall Avenue, Madison, WI 53715-1665
608-266-4732
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Ranked #7 of 41 Attractions in Madison
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Owner description: Truly a wild place to hang out, this free zoo, located inside Vilas Park, features animals from...
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Attraction details
Hours:
Sun - Sat 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Owner description: Truly a wild place to hang out, this free zoo, located inside Vilas Park, features animals from around the world including African lions, South American alpacas and tortoises from the Galapagos Islands.

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552 reviews from our community

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English first
Madison, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2014 NEW

My main reason for visiting to Zoo is to see the polar Bears and also those awesome lions. I also enjoy looking at the various types of snakes and birds. I also enjoy stopping for a brunch. I love the hot dogs

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Madison, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
11 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2014

So while there are other larger zoos that we can go to, the free of Henry Vilas zoo means it is a regular stop all year round. Always throw some pocket change in the donations to keep it going. New large exhibit opening summer of 2015 too.

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Bellevue, Washington
Top Contributor
237 reviews 237 reviews
70 attraction reviews
136 helpful votes 136 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2014

A wonderful gem of a zoo, with many updated animal enclosures. The children's zoo will keep the little folks happy for a long time. The nearby public beach is a great compliment to the zoo. In the winter, ice skating is available too.

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california
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
24 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2014

No admission charge for a nice zoo. It was really a cold day. Well kept zoo. Nice warm buildings scattered around the grounds. Enjoyed the Red Pandas and Primates the most.

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Fort Atkinson, WI
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2014

This is a great zoo for families with small children. The adults won't be disappointed either, but I think it's more fun if you're young. They have a great petting zoo, small animal section with a playground and fun activities. There was some construction in the zoo when we were there for the polar bears and when that's done, it... More 

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Madison
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2014

One of the most remarkable things about this zoo is that it is free! The family of Henry Vilas donated the land in the early 20th century and made that stipulation. There is an amazing carousel of endangered animals and an enormous climbing mountain structure. Surrounding the zoo is Vilas Park where there are many picnic areas and great playground... More 

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Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
30 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014

This zoo has is wonderfully small, so a great way to spend a few hours. Not so big that it is overwhelming, and not too small. There is a play area inside, a carousel, an interactive room for kids to touch and explore, and there is food too. There is also a nice playground outside (great spot for a picnic).... More 

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WI
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
25 attraction reviews
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014

Henry Villas Zoo is in the heart of Madison and has a large collection of wonderful animals to see. It's an older zoo, and there are enclosures that seem to be old fashioned for the animals who have to live in them, but they are slowly but surely building new habitats, and those newer habitats are quite well done. Besides... More 

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Madison, Wisconsin
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014

Nice variety of animals. Fun kids and families. There are picnic tables where you can also have a picnic lunch on site. Best of all the zoo is FREE! . My only gripe would be the parking or lack thereof

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Madison, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014 via mobile

We visit the Vilas Zoo every few weeks during the summer months. The zoo isn't the biggest, but we always have a great time seeing the animals, riding the train and carousel, and playing on the big treehouse. It's a perfect morning activity for the kids.

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?