The Henry Vilas Zoo is one of only about a dozen FREE zoos in the US. Land for a 63-acre park was donated to the city by the Vilas family in 1904, with the stipulation that it always be admission free. The 28-acre zoo was built on that land, and the first animal exhibits debuted in 1911. The zoo has undergone many changes over the decades. My sisters and I have fond memories of Monkey Island, which had a seal moat around it (see another photo here). At certain times of day, you could buy fish to throw to the seals. They discontinued that practice for the health and well-being of the animals.
I featured photos of Cyber, an Amur (Siberian) tiger and the river otters (my zoo favorites) in previous posts for Wordless Wednesday, but in memory of Henry, here are a few more pics from a recent trip to the zoo.
|One of two alligators at the Herpetarium.|
|There are several African penguins at Vilas. The one on the left is Meredith, the first |
chick to be born at Vilas in sixteen years. She hatched on January 18.
|Bucky Badger, resting up for fall football.|
|The zoo has two adult chimpanzees, Cookie and Magadi.|
|One of two new male reticulated giraffes at the zoo. I think this one is |
Eddie, the 4-yr-old. Wally is slightly smaller and only a year old.
|Geoffrey's Marmoset--these guys were fun to watch!|
|Shakura, our new two-year-old female African lion, arrived in March.|
|The prairie dogs, part of the North American|
Prairie exhibit, are always fun to watch.
|George the White Rhino snoozes in the sun. His mate, Gracie, passed last summer |
at age 41 from a uterine tumor. Zoo rhinos typically live into their mid-30's.
George and Gracie were the zoo's longest-living residents.
|This is either Betty or Blackie, one of our two adult harbor seals. They had a pup |
last year, christened Lucille for a character on "Arrested Development."
Seals usually stop having pups in their early 20s, but both parents are age 42.
|One of two tortoises at the Vilas Herpetarium--both are teenagers in their 30s.|
|My sister and this white-handed gibbon were making kissy-faces at each other.|
|RIP, Henry. We'll miss hearing you roar!|