We are on a limited income so to find a zoo we can go to for free is great. The kids always have a blast every time we go. There is quite the array of animals to see and you always see something you didn't see before. Its a must see if you are visiting the madison area. Highly recommend it.
The Henry Vilas Zoo is surprisingly popular with foreign students. Or maybe it's not surprising since relatively few countries have similar exhibits so this is a great chance for them to see some unusual animals. The Zoo is constantly under renovation so there is usually something new to see each year. The kids will enjoy it but leave time for them to play in the new playground and take a ride on the indoor carousel. The Vilas zoo can be paired with a visit to the Arboretum (across Lake Wingra) which is home to a restored prairie and has some nice nature walks as well as a huge lilac and flowering crab tree garden (you have to time that right-May for the Lilacs). Or spend the rest of the day at the playgrounds and beach in Vilas Park, just across from the zoo. Zasu's is across the street on South Randall for lunch and ice cream.
Free zoo??? Who's ever heard of that??? It would cost me at least an arm to take my family to the zoo in Des Moines. Also it's near a beach, where we went swimming (also for free!!!) spending NO money rocks!!
If your going to visit madison this should be on your list of places to visit. very relaxing enviroment the zoo is beautiful with alot of differant species.there is also a beach and picnic and play area for kids.
The Henry Vilas Zoo is a free zoo that is located next to a lake in a shaded park. I was impressed by the variety of animals to see for no cost.
We visited in late in the afternoon. The buildings close at 4 so we missed out on those. There was still enough to look at to make it worth the trip.
I enjoyed the variety of bears and the lions were on the prowl the day we visited. Make sure to check out the seals. A little smelly, yes, but the larger of the seals taunts the crowds and really acts up.