Henry Vilas Zoo kicks-off new construction project

Published: Jan. 31, 2018 at 11:57 AM CST
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The month of January ends with a hefty new construction kick-off for Henry Vilas Zoo.

The communications director of Dane County said the new project will cost $1.6 million by creating a new building including amenites such as bathrooms, concessions and an area for breastfeeding and families. In addition the feature will also include more handicapped stalls, LED lights and other green features.

County Executive Joe Parisi said, ““The Henry Vilas Zoo has become a destination for families across Wisconsin.” Since the opening of the Arctic Passage, the zoo has served over 800,000 visitors a year. “With the dramatic increase in our attendance, our Zoo must accommodate all those who visit. I am proud to continue to make key investments into our popular free zoo.”

Over the years, Dane County and friends of the zoo have made many investments including the recent Arctic Passage exhibit that made for the highest attendance record in 106 years. The completion of the Arctic Passage led to the transformation of 1.7 acres of land and outdated exhibits into state of the art habitats that allow visitors and up close and personal view of the animals. In September, Arctic Passage was awarded Top Honors by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which is the highest honor an exhibit can receive.

In addition to the Arctic Passage, Henry Vilas Zoo also opened up the Wisconsin Heritage exhibit featuring badgers Kaminsky, Dekker and Bucky, highlighting the Zoo’s connection with the University of Wisconsin.

For those who want to see the zoo themselves, it is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.