Racine Zoological Gardens

This compact animal park features a host of exotic species big and small, and a range of kid-friendly amusements and educational resources.

Racine Zoological Gardens makes for a fun day out in the company of a wide variety of exotic wildlife. It was established in 1923, and today covers 32 acres (13 hectares) of land. The manageable size allows for a more intimate encounter with the zoo’s 250 animals. See more than 75 different species, including cute marsupials, big cats and fearsome-looking reptiles. The zoo overlooks Lake Michigan, so you can combine your summertime animal adventure with a trip to the beach.

You’ll come across all the familiar crowd-pleasing species here: big cats from Africa, rhinos, playful primates and kangaroos. For a modest extra fee, you can even hand-feed the giraffes.

The zoo’s Discovery Center showcasesreptiles, insects and amphibious creatures. Admire the red-eyed tree frog and the Madagascar hissing cockroach. 

Exhibits just for the kids include a well-equipped adventure playground and barnyard petting zoo.

There are scenic picnic spots among the enclosures and well-placed concession stands for when you’re ready to take a break. A mini train circumnavigates the park during the weekends, and all walking paths are flat and accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

If you’re planning a weekend visit during summer, take advantage of free big band concerts on Sundays. Throughout the year, public holidays are celebrated at the zoo with special offers and animal-themed entertainment.

Racine Zoological Gardens are a 45-minute drive south from central Milwaukee, in the northern outskirts of Racine city. The zoo is open every day of the year. There’s ample free parking on site.

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