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Henry Vilas Zoo

Address: 702 South Randall Avenue, Madison, WI 53715-1665
Phone Number: 608-266-4732
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Ranked #3 of 50 Activities 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.

Hotels near Henry Vilas Zoo

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556 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2015

I liked the aspect that the zoo is free. During off season, no food service is available and no staff is on hand.

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NJ
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
11 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2015

I spent a wonderful afternoon with my young grandson walking and talking about the animals. The zoo maintains creative and accessible habitats for their animals and is very family orientated.

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Shawano, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2015

Zoo was okay, great exercise. But if you're not the first one there in the morning, then you have to park in a residential area and walk.

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Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
14 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2014

But luckily this zoo doesn't have that ridiculous frog in a turtleneck and that stupid, hysterical Antebellum hippopotamus. Anyway, live this zoo besides the price (free). The habitats are so much more appropriate than when I was a kid in the ' 70s. It was pretty depressing for the big cats. Love the aviary, and the habitats for the apes... More 

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Madison, Wisconsin
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2014

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
39 reviews 39 reviews
11 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Bellevue, Washington
Top Contributor
248 reviews 248 reviews
75 attraction reviews
138 helpful votes 138 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
72 reviews 72 reviews
25 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?