Timeline of the Henry Vilas Zoo
Take a look through the history of Madison’s favorite zoo.
Construction is completed on Arctic Passage, the largest renovation in the zoo’s history. The new exhibit complex includes many exciting features, including special conservation and sustainability components, the zoo’s first indoor restaurant (The Glacier Grille), and large, state-of-the-art exhibits for the zoo’s polar bears, grizzly bears, and harbor seals.
The new big cat complex for Amur tigers and African lions is completed, along with a renovation of the visitor services buildings near the zoo’s main entrance.
Ownership of the zoo is transferred from the City of Madison to Dane County, a process that takes a decade to complete.
The zoo opens its otter exhibit.
Two new grizzly bears and a polar bear bring the zoo’s bear menagerie to 22.
A female named Al Malaikah becomes the first Arabian camel (dromedary) born at the zoo.
The City of Madison assumes ownership of the zoo, Vilas Park, and other parks from the Madison Park & Pleasure Drive Association.