Get out your walking shoes and camera to head out for a day at the Milwaukee Zoo! This zoo has so many fun animals to see and always feels like a fresh experience each visit. From big cats and elephants to tiny monkeys and frogs, you’re sure to spy one of your favorites here as you stroll through this beautiful wooded zoo.
Milwaukee County Zoo has a long and rich history, opening more than 125 years ago in 1892 as the Washington Park Zoo and moving to its current home on West Bluemound Road in 1961 where it continuously improves and expands. The large zoo covers 190 acres and is home to more than 2,000 animals and 300 species! It is the second place to have seen polar bears born in captivity and is home to one of the largest groups of bonobos in one location outside of their native environment in the Congo. Most recently in June 2020, Hippo Haven in Adventure Africa opened including a 60,000-gallon underwater viewing area.
Read on for our tips for visiting with your family, our favorite spots at the zoo, and all of the details you’ll want to know for a successful trip to the Milwaukee Zoo with kids!
Guidelines for Visiting in 2022
- Information Below Updated for Winter 2022
- Advance tickets required only for select special events.
- Single point of entry used.
- Regular Zoo admission rates apply; car parking is $15.
- All visitors (ages 3+) are required to wear masks and physically distance from other groups indoors. A limited quantity of masks is available for purchase at the Gift Shop Marketplace, just past the U.S. Bank Gathering Place.
- Face masks that are not allowed: Neck scarves or bandanas, neck gaiters or buffs, winter scarves, face shields, masks with exhalation valves or vents, masks with inappropriate images or writing.
- Animal Buildings Open at 100%
- Apes of Africa
- Primates of the World
- Aquatic & Reptile Center
- Giraffe Building
- Family Farm Dairy Complex
- Elephant Care Center/Conservation Outpost
- Animal Buildings Open at Limited Capacity – Electronic counters and staff monitor the number of visitors in these areas.
- Big Cat Country-75%
- Small Mammals Building-50%
- A limited number of restrooms will be open.
- A limited number of water fountains are accessible; the water bottle refill station in the Gathering Place is open.
- Hand sanitizer stations available throughout the zoo.
- Concessions are available at The Flamingo Cafe and The Coffee Shop, now open regularly on weekdays and weekends.
- Visitors can bring in food and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Visitors can bring in strollers, wheelchairs, and electric scooters
Visit the Milwaukee Zoo Website for more information about ticket reservations, zoo guidelines, and what to expect.
Good to Know Before You Go
- Hours – The zoo is open year-round but the hours vary by season. The animals have an early bedtime, so the zoo closes year-round by 5 pm or earlier.
- Admission & Parking – Rates for children and adults vary with the seasons and range from $11.25-$16.75. Children 2 and under are always free! Parking is $15 year-round.
- Discounted tickets not currently available. Generally, You can find discount tickets through Fox Communities Credit Union, Community First Credit Union, and many Parks and Recreation Departments!
- Speed up your entry to the zoo by purchasing your tickets in advance. Just a quick scan of your phone at the entry gate and everything is handled!
- 2022 Family Free Days
- January 8
- February 5
- March 5
- October 1
- November 5
- December 3
- Strollers & Wagons – Bring your own or rent a stroller from the zoo. If you have younger kids, you’ll definitely want wheels for them, there’s a lot of walking to be done at this zoo.
- Food – There are delicious things like popcorn, nachos, slushies, and ice cream throughout the zoo. There’s even a stand devoted to all things cheesy…like grilled cheese and cheese fries!
- You can also carry in your own snacks and drinks and there are plenty of areas to enjoy them. There are water fountains and bottle filling stations throughout the zoo.
Some of Our Favorite Spaces
- Elephant Exhibit – The African elephants are exploring their big new area at the zoo! There are lots of different viewing points and the elephants have enrichment activities. A zoo employee told us that they have gotten stronger and more active since moving to their new home. They were definitely fun to check out and there is a fun indoor area with interactive areas for kids to engage in pretend play.
- Small Mammals Building (50% Capacity Currently) – While it might be tempting to just pass this one by, do not miss the chance to see what’s happening inside this building. There is an area that is lit by red lights for nocturnal animals and you get to see all of the fun things that they do in the night. You will not believe how fast armadillos run.
- Family Farm and Play Area – Take a break from walking around, pet some goats, grab a healthy snack or an ice cream cone, and then rest your feet while the kids check out the awesome playground. A little way away from the playground is a cool beehive display. Family farm is open seasonally, playground open year-round.
Extra Zoo Adventures
- All available weather permitting Memorial Day through Labor Day unless noted.
- Carousel – $3/rider ages 3 and older. Parents are able to ride for no cost for kids that need extra stabilization.
- Safari Train – Open May – September! $3/rider ages 3 and older. Ride around the zoo on a steam train!
- Sky Safari – $3/rider. Check out the zoo from above!
- Zoomobile – $3/rider ages 3 and older. 25 minute guided tour of the zoo.
- Sky Trail Ropes Course and Zip Line
- Zip Line $17 – 500 feet in the air
- Sky Trail Ropes Course $12 – Four stories of ropes elements for adventurers over 48 inches tall.
- Sky Tykes Ropes Course $7 – Scaled down version of the bigger course for kids under 48 inches tall.
Shows and Animal Feeding
- FREE Kohl’s Wild Theater (Memorial Day through Labor Day)– Fun 15-minute wildlife skits, songs, puppets, and more three times throughout the day.
- FREE Animals in Action (Memorial Day through Labor Day) – Learn about animals in specific areas throughout the day.
- FREE Birds of Prey Show – Check out the amazing flock during three different shows each day.
- Giraffe Experience(Memorial Day through Labor Day)– Children under 12 years of age are to be accompanied by one paying adult. Maximum of 2 children per adult. Purchase tickets on the Giraffe Deck ($7 each). Feedings are at 10:30 and 3:00, tickets go on sale 30 minutes in advance.
- Seal and Sea Lion Feed and Photo Opportunities– Available Monday through Friday. See feeding, chat with the care team, and meet the animals up close!
Meet the Newest Baby at The Milwaukee County Zoo!
Milwaukee County Zoo
10001 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI