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County Executive's Office

Henry Vilas Zoo Slates Month Long Celebration for Kids, the Planet

April 03, 2019
Ariana Vruwink (608) 267-8823
County Executive

                    Zoo Announces “Kids Day” on April 6th, “Party for the Planet” April 27th


Dane County’s Henry Vilas Zoo has two special Saturdays of family fun planned for April, in recognition of the zoo’s two primary priorities – education for kids and families, and helping species survive. The zoo is planning a “Kids Day” on Saturday, April 6th that will include a noon community talk about polar bears in the middle of Arctic Passage, free rides on the train and carousel, and kids 12 and under will get one free hotdog and ice cream at the Glacier Grille. Train rides will then be free each weekend in April in recognition of “Earth Month.”


“Our zookeepers come to work every day to care for over 100 species out of their love for animals, kids, and education,” Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz said. “This zoo belongs to the families of this community and we’re dedicating these Saturdays to celebrate a focus on why we do, what we do.”


On Saturday, April 27th the zoo is planning “Party for the Planet,” a day-long commemoration of the zoo’s conservation work. This mission is especially critical given the ongoing challenges to species survival by climate change.  As an AZA accredited zoo, Dane County’s Henry Vilas Zoo participates in the International Species Survival Program (SSP) which helps preserve populations of endangered species. The effects of climate change including rapid warming, droughts, and floods are threatening entire populations globally. This AZA accreditation helped ensure the zoo can house both polar bears currently part of the Henry Vilas Zoo’s Arctic Passage exhibit.


In addition to seedling giveaways, tree climbs and games, there will be a solar presentation by Madison Gas and Electric, electric vehicles, and other Earth friendly educational displays designed to call attention for steps everyone can take to reduce carbon emissions and improve the health of our planet.


“Habitat loss and extinction of species, whether half way around the world or right here in our backyard, are two of the most devastating impacts of climate change,” said Keith Reopelle, Director of Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change.  “It’s great that our zoo has found so many ways to help mitigate climate change and protect vulnerable wildlife.”


The Henry Vilas Zoo is open every day from 9:30 – 5:00pm except on winter holidays.