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Zoo Policies

Follow These Rules or You’ll be Alpaca’ing Your Bags

For the safety of our animals and our guests, the following items are not allowed on zoo grounds:

  • Balloons
  • Balls
  • Drink lids and straws
  • Rollerblades, roller skates, and skateboards
  • Bicycles and scooters (they can be walked through the zoo, but cannot be ridden)
  • Pets and therapy animals (certified service animals are allowed)
  • Smoking
  • Carry-in alcoholic beverages

The Henry Vilas Zoo staff and volunteers will remove anyone who violates these guidelines. We reserve the right to inspect anything that is brought into the zoo.

Stroller & Wheelchair Rental

Stroller rental at Henry Vilas Zoo

The zoo is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Both are available to rent in spring, fall and summer at the zoo’s gift shop near the main entrance on Drake St. and Randall Ave. Rental fees are $10 for strollers and/or wheelchairs.

Strollers & wheelchairs require a valid driver’s license or state issued ID left as a deposit. You’ll get your license back upon returning the stroller to the gift shop. Strollers and wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please use caution when operating mobility devices and wheelchairs – many areas of the zoo feature narrow walkways, branches, doorways, and/or uneven terrain. Guests using wheelchairs are advised to avoid the zoo’s steeper paths, which are marked with signs. The Conservation Carousel in the Children’s Zoo is also wheelchair accessible.

For safety reasons, wheelchairs and strollers will not be available for rent during the winter. You are welcome to bring your own stroller or wheelchair to the zoo during this time!

Lost and Found

If you’ve lost an item at the zoo and are still at the zoo, please visit our visitor center, gift shop, or carousel building to report the item. If you are no longer at the zoo, please call (608) 266-4732 to report the item, and we will call you back if the item is found. After two weeks, unclaimed items will be donated or discarded.

When reporting a lost item, please include:

  • A description of the item
  • The date you lost it
  • Your name
  • Your telephone number

Service Animals

Henry Vilas Zoo is accessible to guests with ADA-defined service animals, but for the safety of our zoo animals, the zoo doesn’t allow therapy animals or pets.

Guests with service animals may be required to:
  • Respond truthfully to limited and appropriate inquiries made by Dane County Staff regarding the service animal.
  • Ensure that the service animal meets local licensing requirements, including maintenance of required immunizations.
  • Service animals (or service-animals-in-training) should wear their required license tags at all times.
  • Service animals (or service-animals-in-training) should wear a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the handler is unable to do so, because of a disability, or if the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks. The service animal must remain under the handler’s control via vocal commands, signals, or other effective means.

Service animals at Henry Vilas Zoo.

Photography Policy

By entering Henry Vilas Zoo, you give consent to use your image or likeness in photographs taken on zoo property by zoo staff or volunteers for advertising or communication purposes.