Plenty to do at Henry Vilas Zoo

Posted by Samantha Haas on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 at 10:48pm.

Wisconsin is known as the Badger State, but aside from Bucky have you ever seen the burrowing animal? Henry Vilas Zoo in the heart of Madison is home to three badgers that are easy to spot if they're not too sleepy or shy. 

The Wisconsin Heritage exhibit, the newest at the zoo, is definitely worth a look, but there are plenty of other things for all ages to do while there.

See the animals, of course 

While the zoo family recently had to say goodbye to Cyber, an amur tiger, among its additions are a polar bear, rhinoceros and pair of lion cubs.

If it slithers or swims and has hooves or wings, you're likely to find it there. Most animals are behind glass or fences, but people do have the opportunity to touch and feed goats.

Go for a ride

Sometimes walking on the winding paths through the zoo can be tiring, so kids (and adults) can rest their legs by taking an electric train ride around the Children's Zoo.

While in that area, they can also pick their favorite animal to ride on the indoor carousel. And just outside is a tree house and adventure play area for kids to explore.

Entry to the zoo is free, but the train and carousel each cost $2 per ride per passenger.

Grab a snack

Visitors can pack their own snacks (as long as they clean up), but the zoo encourages people to support the concessions since there is not an admission fee.

Badger Bites, open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., serves sandwiches, cookies, nachos, fruit and ice cream. And if you want a close-up view of the polar bears, you can dine inside the Glacier Grille restaurant, open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Attend an event

The zoo holds educational and conservation programs, but it also organizes several events during the year -- some of which are held after normal hours.

Adults ages 21 and older can attend "Be A Kid Again" on Aug. 24, which features an inflatable slip 'n slide, literary-themed crafts, local pizza, costume contest and book drive.

Families can watch "ZOOvies" on Thursday evenings once a month. Upcoming movies include "The Secret Life of Pets" on Sept. 21 and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" on Oct. 19.

Be sure to lace up your shoes for the 12th annual Zoo Run Run and Kids' Roo Run Run on Sept. 24. Also this fall: Halloween at the Zoo on Oct. 29, Zoo Lights from Nov. 24-Dec. 31, and Brew Lights on Nov. 29.

Check it out

What: Henry Vilas Zoo
When: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except some holidays)
Where: 702 South Randall Avenue, Madison
Cost: Free, but donations suggested

Click here to read more about what the Vilas neighborhood has to offer.

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