Open Today: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Complete Hours

Green Space

The Zoo's ample green space and park-like grounds help to reduce storm water runoff and create a beautiful space for the Zoo's animals and its visitors alike!

Next time you are at the Zoo, check out the "Green Roof" display outside the Karen Peck Katz Education Center! A green roof is a vegetative roof cover using native plantings. Plants on a green roof act like a sponge and absorb water when it rains, which reduces the amount of water runoff into storm sewers. Green roofs also provide habitat space for wildlife, and the lush greenery absorbs heat and helps cool the building. Acting like a natural insulator, as the water from the plants evarporates and the plants absorb sunlight.

  • Picture of green roofThe Zoo's green roof is planted with sedum, which is a mix of low-growing succulents. These plants require very little effort to maintain and keep growing. This type of roof also can increase the life of a conventional roof by up to 20 years! Our green roof was made possible by a grant from WE Energies and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

The Zoo also has several rain gardens throughout the grounds that are designed to catch storm water and work in conjunction with our permeable pavers. You may have noticed our permeable pavers while walking through the Zoo's Aviary and giraffe areas, Zoo Terrace, and parking lot. While aesthetically pleasing, permeable pavers also allow storm water to pass through and soak into ground, replenishing groundwater supplies rather than running off into storm drains.

  • Picture of raing garden Rain gardens help prevent flooding and soil erosion, and also protect water quality by keeping pollutants out of streams, rivers and lakes. You can help reduce storm water pollution by properly disposing of trash and pet waste and building your own rain garden! Learn how here.

The Zoo makes an effort to include many native plants around its grounds. Native plants provide food and habitat for Wisconsin birds and native insects. They are also very efficient at absorbing water and require fewer pesticides and fertilizers to maintain.