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County Executive's Office

Henry Vilas Zoo Launches New Membership Program

January 02, 2020
Ariana Vruwink, (608) 267-8823
County Executive

Conservation Club will Enhance Zoo’s Education and Conservation Efforts while Providing Unique Opportunities for Members

Today, the Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo launched its new Conservation Club membership program. Those who sign up to become a Conservation Club member will be able to experience perks like gift shop discounts and invites to member-only events all while supporting the Henry Vilas Zoo, its conservation efforts, and the many animals who call it home. By joining the Conservation Club, members will help keep the Henry Vilas Zoo admission free, improve animal care and exhibits, and raise awareness about the challenges animals face due to poaching and habitat loss.

“The Henry Vilas Zoo is a community treasure, and we are happy to launch the Conservation Club to provide community members with a new way to support the zoo and become more involved with its offerings,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “The Henry Vilas Zoo takes pride in its education and conservation efforts to save endangered species, and the Conservation Club membership program will allow us to further these vital initiatives.”

“For the first time ever, the Henry Vilas Zoo will have a membership program that directly benefits our zoo animals and conservation efforts for their counterparts in the wild. I can think of no better way for our community to join in our efforts to support animal welfare and conservation both locally and globally,” said Executive Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz.

The Conservation Club has four levels of membership. The Advocate level costs $35 per year and is ideal for students and young professionals. The Family level costs $75 per year and includes benefits for the whole family and discounts on education programs. The Guardian level costs $150 per year and allows participants to get discounts on behind the scenes tours and attend member-only events with their entire family and up to two guests. The Curator levels costs $250 per year and allows members to get VIP access to exclusive benefits throughout the year.

Conservation Club membership benefits include:

  • A 10% discount at the Glacier Grille and the gift shop
  • Discounted admission at over 150 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums throughout the United States
  • Subscription to the Henry Vilas Zoo e-newsletter
  • Invitation to member-only events, including Zoo Lights festivities and bleacher programs

Members at the Family level and above also receive:

  • Discounts on zoo camps and education programs
  • a 24-ride punch card for the zoo’s train and carousel

In 2019, the Henry Vilas Zoo hired consultants to provide expertise on securing AZA accreditation and establishing best practices for fundraising endeavors. From those consultations, it was recommended the Henry Vilas Zoo create a membership program with all proceeds going directly to support the zoo, its operations, and conservation efforts—which did not previously exist. Now, 100% of the proceeds from the Conservation Club will go to benefit the Henry Vilas Zoo—with half directly supporting wildlife conservation.

Those interested in becoming a Conservation Club member can sign up today at