Do your kids love animals? There are several zoos & petting farms around Southeastern Wisconsin that your kids will love.
Here are some local places where you can get up close with the animals:
1. Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm
6831 Big Bend Rd., Waterford, WI 53185
Opening for the season Saturday, May 8th, 2021!
This family-owned zoo houses traditional farm animals like baby chicks, goats, and cows. They are also home to more exotic animals like lemurs, kangaroos, and llamas. Kids can pet and interact with almost all of the animals.
2. Concord General Store and Zoo (Free!)
N6485 County Rd. F, Oconomowoc, WI 53066
Concord General Store is a gas station, but it’s so much more than that. You’ll find organic snacks, local coffee, and a petting zoo. There is no admission fee, and you can pet and feed the ponies, goats, and pigs. It’s the perfect pit stop on the way to Madison, or as it’s own destination for a fun-filled morning or afternoon.
3. Green Meadows Petting Farm
33603 High Dr. (Hwy 20), East Troy, WI 53120
Opening in May, 2021!
Green Meadows offers a hands-on, interactive learning experience that can last the whole day. Kids can pet, feed, and in some cases even hold the farm animals, including baby chicks, bunnies, and goats. They can also milk a cow if they’re up for it! Don’t miss the kitten barn, filled with sweet, soft kittens for petting and cuddling. There are also pony, wagon, and hay rides. And don’t worry, hand sanitizer abounds all over the farm.
Don’t miss the playground that includes a fire truck the kids can climb, wooden wagons, and a John Deere tractor with a slide.
4. Milwaukee County Zoo
10001 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226
The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to over 200 wooded acres and more than 2,000 animals. You’ll come face to face with giant elephants, looming giraffes, roaring lions, bears resting in hammocks, swinging monkeys, and more.
Before you go, download the Milwaukee County Zoo app. It gives you an easily accessible map of the grounds, as well as educational information about the animals. You’ll also be able to see if there are any special events happening on the day you visit, such as Boo at the Zoo or Egg Day. The app will also give you access to schedules for rides and attractions.
You’ll definitely want to stop by the Family Farm area where you’ll find an animal feeding area, cow milking area, a huge playground, and the Kohl’s Wild Theater headquarters. Kohl’s Wild Theater offers live conservation-themed shows and Birds of Prey shows for young kids, and they happen all throughout the summer for free.
For an extra fee, you can hop on the Safari Train that runs through the grounds, feed the giraffes, ride the carousel, get a guided tour on the Zoomobile, see an Oceans of Fun Seal and Sea Lion Show, or get a birds eye view of the zoo on the Sky Safari.
Be on the lookout for unique events such as Snooze at the Zoo (a campout at the zoo with snacks and entertainment), and Ride on the Wild Side, a family-friendly bike ride through the Zoo, plus kid-friendly activities and entertainment.
Family free days are offered six times a year, so check their website for dates and times.
5. Racine Zoo
2131 N. Main St., Racine, WI 53402
This small, charming zoo is home to a hundred different species of animals, and it’s perfect for young children who are having a first-time zoo experience. It’s located right along the shores of Lake Michigan, so you can make it a full day trip with a stop at nearby North Beach.
6. Shalom Wildlife Zoo
1901 Shalom Dr., West Bend, WI 53090
Shalom Wildlife Zoo features three miles of looping trail through which you can walk or drive a golf cart. You’ll observe deer, elk, bison, wolves, and more in an expansive natural environment. (In the Springtime, be on the lookout for new baby animals!) There are educational exhibits and markers along the way. Be sure to pick up a bag of feed at the main building so you can offer some snack to the animals. The whole experience takes about two hours, so be sure to pack snacks and drinks to enjoy at the picnic areas. You can also explore the children’s play area, and a Native American artifact museum. Check their website for seasonal events and special such as scavenger hunts, pumpkin hunting, and Christmas at the Zoo.
7. Godsell Farm (Temporarily Closed)
S105W15585 Loomis Dr, Muskego, WI 53150
This family farm is committed to caring for rescued animals and they offers classes on gardening, backyard chicken keeping, and more. They offer unique birthday party options and special seasonal events throughout the year.
Related: Wisconsin Humane Society
4500 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53208
630 W. Dekora St., Saukville, WI 53080
The Wisconsin Humane Society hosts events for kids to learn about their organization and meet the animals. Read about the Wisconsin Humane Society's youth programs here.