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Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Complete Hours
 

Zoo Facts

Official Opening: 1892 – Washington Park Location
Late 1950s – Bluemound Road Location
Location: 10001 West Bluemound Road
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226
Hours:

Click here for 2021 hours.

Holiday closures: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day
Admission:

January 1-March 31, 2021
Adult: $14.25
Child (3 to 12): $11.25
Child (2 and under): FREE
Senior Citizen (60+): $12.75

April 1-October 31, 2021
Adult: $16.75
Child (3 to 12): $13.75
Child (2 and under): FREE
Senior Citizen (60+): $15.75

November 1-December 31, 2021
Adult: $14.25
Child (3 to 12): $11.25
Child (2 and under): FREE
Senior Citizen  (60+): $12.75

Bus Parking: $20
Parking: $15

Milwaukee County residents with I.D. receive $1.75 off full price paid admission every day except Wednesday. On Wednesdays, Milwaukee County residents with I.D. are admitted at a reduced rate of $10.50 for adults and $8 for children (age 3 to 12).
Operating Status: County owned and operated; supported by the Zoological Society of Milwaukee County
Average Annual Attendance: 1.3 million
Economic Impact: $156 million
Personnel: 144 full-time, 61 seasonal employees
Specimens: 2,100+ specimens representing 366 different species
Administration: Divisions include: Animal Management and Health, Administration, Finance and Operations, Marketing and Communications, and Grounds and Maintenance
Handicapped Accessibility: All animal buildings and exhibits are accessible to the handicapped. The Zoo adheres to the ADA.
Education: The Zoological Society’s Education Department provides interactive programs for schools and youth groups, in addition to classes and camps for children infant to 14, as well as family opportunities.
Acreage: 190 acres
Architecture: The original Zoo was designed by the following: the Milwaukee County Planning Department (now called Architectural Engineering), the Milwaukee County Landscape Architect, the professional Zoo staff and private architecture firms.
Mission Statement: To inspire public understanding, support and participation in global conservation of animal species and their natural environment by creating a unifying bond between our visitors and the living earth.
History / Present Site: The Milwaukee County Zoo began in the 1890s as a miniature mammal and bird display in a barn at what is now Washington Park. By 1902, the Zoo had 23 acres of land and 800 animals. In 1937, when all parks went under the jurisdiction of the Milwaukee County Park Commission, the Zoo had grown to 38 acres. In 1958, the Zoo moved to its present 190-acre location bordered by Highway 45, Bluemound Road, Highway 100 and Interstate 94, opening in 1961.
Funding: The Zoo receives funding through a cooperative effort of Milwaukee County and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.
Volunteers: Zoo Pride is the volunteer auxiliary of the Zoological Society. Its members serve as goodwill ambassadors at the Zoo and in the community. Started in 1975, Zoo Pride shares a deep commitment to the Milwaukee County Zoo and its residents.
Zoological Society of Milwaukee County:

Beginning in the 1890s as an informal group of clubs and associations, the Society started by purchasing animals and securing animal donations.

Today, the Society helps Milwaukee promote one of its finest assets by funding animal acquisitions, fundraising campaigns for building renovations and improvements, new exhibits and financial support for research and education.

Membership in the Zoological Society is open to everyone. Individual, family and corporate memberships are available. Members receive free regular admission to the Zoo, a 10% discount in the Gift Shop, invitations to members-only events, discounts on fundraising events and other special programs. 50% of the gross revenue of a Zoo Pass membership goes directly to the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Zoological Society's Animal Sponsorship: Initiated in 1982 as a fundraiser, donations from the annual “sponsorships” are used to fulfill the Society’s mission to conserve, educate and support the Zoo.
Restaurants: The Flamingo Café, and Gift Shop are open year-round. Other concession and rest areas are open in the spring/summer months. Nourish 414 is scenically and centrally located across from Lake Evinrude. Inside the U.S. Bank Gathering Place, the menu at the Coffee & Snack Shop offers coffees, bakery and salads. The Bear Garden, featuring an “adult-friendly” menu of beers, is a popular refreshment option, along with the OOZ Food Truck – a cheese-lover’s dream! Wild Burger rounds out the options with a variety of specialty burgers, fountain soda, and a Milwaukee staple, custard!
Special Events: The Zoo hosts unique activities and family-oriented events throughout the year.
Group Sales: Large formal seating rooms, wooded picnic areas and various animal buildings are available for group rentals. The Zoo offers advance, discounted tickets for groups of 15 or more. Arrange your next "get together" or children’s birthday party at the Zoo. Convenient, inside-the-park picnic areas are also options for bookings. The Peck Welcome Center offers large groups a spacious, scenic venue with an expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows for a light-filled natural setting.
ANIMAL BUILDINGS
Small Mammals: This unique building features both day and night animals. With a flip of a switch, day can turn into night, allowing red fluorescent lights to illuminate nocturnal animal exhibits – giving the animals the impression of night. In 2018, a female southern three-banded armadillo was born to mother, Mona. Named Mira (for “miracle”) she developed metabolic bone disease, but due to the hand-raising care of keepers, vet staff and a nutritionist, she’s now progressing and living a full life.
Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country:

The Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country provides large and natural looking exhibit spaces for our magnificent felines and enhances their quality of life. The exhibits showcase residents like jaguars and African lions. In 2012, we welcomed two male jaguars, born to mother, Stella, and father, Pat. This marked the first jaguar cubs born here since 1975. The offspring are highly valuable, as father Pat was a wild-born animal and brought new genes into the zoo population. Pat passed away in 2017, but his legacy at MCZ continues with offspring, Francisco.

In 2014, male snow leopard, Asa, arrived, as a potential mate for female Orya. In 2020, a female cub named Milja was born. The new arrival marked the first snow leopard birth since 2014, and the first offspring for Orya and Asa.

In 2016, our collection grew with the birth of three Amur tiger cubs (one male and two female) born to mother Amba. Amba was euthanized in 2021 for old-age related health issues. At 17 years old, she lived a long and enriched life and will be greatly missed by staff and visitors.
Herb and Nada Mahler Family Aviary:

Hundreds of colorful birds, towering palms and lush foliage transform this building into a vibrant tropical paradise. Birds from all over the world move freely in naturalistic surroundings. Featured in the Island of Guam Exhibit is one of the world’s rarest birds, the Guam rail.

In 2016, MCZ was the only Zoo in North America to breed spangled cotinga. That same year, we added a new species to the collection with a pair of hamerkops and a shama thrush. Shama thrush are known for their rich and melodious voice.
Stearns Family Apes Of Africa: Apes of Africa is an exhibit of Western lowland gorillas and bonobos.  Designed to closely represent the West African rain forest, it provides gorillas and bonobos with surroundings like their natural environment. The Zoo added an expansive outdoor public viewing area for the bonobo group, allowing the highly endangered apes to enjoy 500 feet of elevated mesh passageways in the Zoo’s forest to simulate their native African habitat. The Zoo is currently home to two adult male gorillas, Maji and Hodari. Western lowland gorillas are a critically endangered species in the wild. In 2020, renovations were made to the Gorilla habitat which included extending the interior wall height and adding deep mulch bio floors – a soft surface that inhibits bacterial growth.
Primates of The World:

The Primate building, fondly called the Monkey House by many, was the Zoo’s first building. In the mid-90s, the building reopened to the public after extensive renovation as Primates of the World. It houses many of the most popular residents at the Zoo, including orangutans, siamangs and spider monkeys.

The Primate Complex was a $10.7 million project equally funded by the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee County.
Aquatic & Reptile Center (ARC):

The Aquatic & Reptile Center (ARC) displays a fascinating underwater world including a 28,000-gallon Pacific Coast Aquarium housing a wide variety of fish, including the impressive arapaima, one of the world’s largest freshwater species.

Don’t miss the 30 species of Wisconsin fish swimming in the center exhibit, Lake Wisconsin.
Macaque Island: This is the official residence for a charismatic group of Japanese macaques (also known as snow monkeys). The lush island features waterfalls, hills, shrubs and vines. In 2019, a male named Daisuki was born to mother, Negai, and in summer 2020, male, Nikko, was born to mother Rikka. Visitor favorites, the youngsters can be seen climbing and running around the habitat.
FOUR CONTINENTAL GROUPINGS
North America:

A stroll down the hill and around the bend from the Small Mammals building brings visitors to Lake Evinrude. Sloping upward from its grassy perimeter are rocky ledges, cliffs and woods where representatives of many of North America's largest animals roam.  See caribou, grizzly and brown bear, and elk.

Across the path are harbor seals and a Zoo favorite – polar bear, Snow Lilly. In 2021, a new addition to the seals included male harbor seal, Bosco, born in June.

At the Zoo’s West Entrance, guests are welcomed by a playful colony of North American river otters, splishing and splashing in their outdoor habitat. The exhibit has become one of the Zoo’s most popular attractions, as these lively animals can be seen swimming, sliding and playing alongside one another throughout all four Wisconsin seasons.
South America: One of the Zoo's most diverse exhibits; alpacas delight visitors, while Brazilian tapirs cool themselves in a waterhole and rheas look on.
Africa:

Ostriches, African lions, hyenas, zebras, black rhinos, giraffes and hippopotamus are among the African wildlife featured.

The Zoo simulates nature by seeming to exhibit predator and prey in the same enclosure. However, the prey is protected from its stalkers by invisible dry moats weaved between the foreground and background exhibit areas.

In the African Waterhole, antelope, Chapman’s zebra and stork live in close proximity to the African lions. The African Savanna displays the cheetah overlooking the Thomson's gazelles and southern ground hornbills.

The MillerCoors Giraffe Exhibit features expanded outdoor spaces for the animals, and the rare opportunity for visitors to get face to face with our reticulated giraffes. The public also can feed these animals for a fee.

Each year, from 2015 through 2019, was marked by a giraffe birth to either mother Ziggy or Marlee, and father Bahatika. All but one of the calves have moved to other zoos with the hope of future breeding. Both Ziggy and Marlee have proven to be caring and attentive mothers.
Adventure Africa-Phase I:

In 2019, the Zoo unveiled a new expansive habitat for African elephants, complemented by two mixed species exhibits: one featuring zebra, ostrich, impala and grey crowned cranes; the second featuring bongos and guineafowl.

The 1.6-acre outdoor elephant habitat includes an 8-foot-deep watering hole, able to accommodate three submerged elephants, permanent enrichment, self-activating shower and a demonstration area for “hands-on” care. The indoor Elephant Care Center includes five “rooms,” sand floors and a permanent scale for weighing.
Adventure Africa-Phase II: In summer 2020, the Zoo unveiled a spectacular underwater Hippo Exhibit, the Dohmen Family Foundation Hippo Haven. The expanded habitat features a 60,000-gallon underwater viewing tank, and a beach area with varied substrates for the hippos to bask in the sun. The exhibit is open April-October, and our hippos, male Happy, and female, Patti, have become huge attractions, allowing for up-close, face-to-face viewing of these magnificent and powerful animals.
Asia: Living in natural settings, visitors can see Bactrian camels and red pandas. The Red Panda Exhibit has undergone renovations to include an enclosed outdoor space with new platforms, logs and structures for these arboreal animals to climb upon. In 2018, MCZ’s first red panda cub was born, a female named Dr. Lily, to parents, Dr. Erin and Dash. Dr. Lily has since transferred to another AZA-accredited zoo, on a breeding recommendation, but the exhibit became active again with a second red panda birth in 2019, female Kiki, born to the same pair.
Idabel Wilmot Borchert
Flamingo Exhibit and Overlook:
Several years ago, the Zoo welcomed a flock of Caribbean flamingos to their new home across from the Maher Family Aviary.  Here visitors can greet these beautiful birds up close, as they roam in their lush yard that includes a pond rimmed with benches for easy viewing. In 2016, we welcomed eight Chilean flamingos to live with the resident group in the outdoor exhibit.
Northwestern Mutual Family Farm: Formerly known as the Children’s Zoo, this renovated area shows visitors what life is like on an actual farm. Guests can meet native wildlife and farm animals, as educational presentations are offered daily in the Stackner Animal Encounter Building. A playground with state-of-of-the-art equipment was added in 2015, along with a renovated Kohl’s Wild Theater. From Memorial Day-Labor Day, interactive and educational theatrical performances take place in Kohl’s Wild Theater.
Dairy Complex: In the Family Farm’s octagonal barn, guests can see six varieties of dairy cattle in the cow barn; discover more about the dairy industry through hands-on experiences in the learning center; and sample and/or purchase various dairy products in the dairy store.
SEASONAL ACTIVITIES (Available during warm-weather months)
Animals-in-Action: Take a closer look at some of the Zoo's animals at these special presentations. Learn animal facts during a short presentation by zookeepers and Zoo Pride volunteers.

Safari Train,
Sponsored by North Shore Bank:

Relax and enjoy the miniature train ride through the beautiful Zoo grounds. Runs daily, weather permitting.

Zoo Expeditions,
Sponsored by Meijer:

New in 2020! Embark on a wild adventure either on our traditional open-air tram OR walking through the Zoo! Choose from several expeditions in a variety of price ranges, to suit your interests. Offering classic Zoo expeditions or longer, themed adventures.

Carousel,
Sponsored by Penzeys:

Experience a ride on an authentic, turn-of-the-century classic carousel. Detailed, handcrafted figures including giraffes, zebras, ostriches and tigers are patterned from originals dating back to the early 1900s. Several new “animals” were added in 2020!  The carousel is ADA-accessible.

Sky Adventure
Zip Line and Ropes Courses, Sponsored by
Tri City
National Bank:

This dynamic attraction features a 500-foot zip line and two ropes courses, one for children and one for adults. Operates spring, summer and fall.

Sky Safari, Sponsored by
Mathnasium: The Math Learning Center:

Visitors can go above it all and see the Zoo from a new perspective! Guests board the Sky Safari across from the South American Yard and travel roundtrip above the camels, tigers and rhinos.
SPECIAL SUMMER EXHIBIT

Sean Kenney’s Animal Super Powers made with LEGO® bricks
Sponsored by Sendik’s Food Markets:

Visitors can step inside the pages of a real-world superhero story with Animal Super Powers!

The exhibit from artist Sean Kenney marvels at the mind-blowing and mysterious abilities of animals. Featuring awe-inspiring sculptures made from LEGO® bricks, Animal Super Powers showcases creatures who have evolved to possess their very own “super powers.” Cost: $3 per person; Located in the Otto Borchert Family Special Exhibits building.

January 2021

INFORMATION INCLUDED IN THIS FACT SHEET ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE, AS
THE MILWAUKEE COUNTY ZOO CONTINUES TO ADHERE TO COVID-19 SAFETY AND HEALTH GUIDELINES IN 2021.

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