Irvine Park & Zoo, Tiger

Irvine Park & Zoo


Chippewa Falls has an amazing place to play, relax, and observe animals in the beautiful 318-acre Irvine (pronounced “ER-vin”) Park.  the Irvine Park Zoo opened way back in 1909 with a bear exhibit. Today, the Zoo features tigers, bobcats, cougars, deer, bison, and other wildlife. Summer months also offer the Red Barn Petting Zoo, and an extensive lighted holiday display – we’re talking over 100 displays and 100,000 lights – makes the holiday season sparkle. Historical displays include the Sunny Valley Schoolhouse and Pioneer Norwegian Log Home on the weekends, which are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Irvine Park Cave on the grounds runs about 20 feet long, with natural springs running through.

Cave in Irvine Park, Chippewa Falls

Rumble Bridge in Irvine Park, Chippewa Falls

The Rumble Bridge (above) is a pony truss style bridge that spans a ravine in Irvine Park. It got its name from its design that features wood planks that were only nailed down on one end. It allowed for flexing and stress relief, plus expansion and contraction with the seasons. It also created a rumbling sound when cars would drive over it, hence the name of “Rumble” or “Rumbly” Bridge. The Rumble Bridge carried vehicles all the way to 1981; it’s now for pedestrians and bicyclists in the park.

Sunny Valley School in Irvine Park, Chippewa FallsThe Sunny Valley Schoolhouse (right) was originally built in 1903, standing about 8 miles west of Chippewa Falls to serve the nearby Town of Wheaton. This one-room schoolhouse was heated with cord wood and slabs in a box stove, and lit with kerosene lamps. Almost all of the children who attended back then walked to school, as there were few automobiles and no snow plows (of course, they told their kids and grandkids it was uphill, both ways.) Sunny Valley School stayed an operating school until the early 1960’s, when the growth of Chippewa Falls and its school district took over. It was donated and moved to Irvine Park in 1965, where you can explore it – in season.

Irvine Park & Zoo is located on the north side of Chippewa Falls, near the Leinenkugel Brewery and Northern Wisconsin State Fair Park. Just off Highway 124, Highway 29 and U.S. 53 also bring you close.

The Zoo is open year ’round from 7am to sunset, with extended hours during the holidays. Admission is free.

Irvine Park & Zoo Address:

125 Bridgewater Avenue (Highway 124)
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
(715) 723-0051
Website



Irvine Park, Chippewa Falls

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Ochsner Park & Zoo


Right along Highway 33 in beautiful Baraboo, the Ochsner Park & Zoo offers 26 acres of parkland and a free zoo covering two of them. Ochsner originally opened in 1926 and features an interesting variety of animals for a relatively small zoo:  a snow leopard, a Capuchin (just acquired in 2015), bobcats, prairie dogs, a black bear, llamas, wolves, and a series of birds. The zoo is open year ’round seven days a week. It opens at 8:30am; closing times vary throughout the year: 7:30pm during summer, 5:30pm in fall and spring, and 3:00pm in winter.

Ochsner is easily accessible along Highway 33, just east of U.S. 12 and west of the end of Highway 113.

Address:
903 Park Street
Baraboo, WI 53913
(608) 355-2700
Website

Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens


The Milwaukee County Zoo is one of the nation’s best, hands down! Opened in 1958, it’s home to over 2,000 animals including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles – many of whom reside in specialized habitats. The grounds of the Milwaukee County Zoo spread across over 200 acres of forests, exhibits, a large pond, indoor and outdoor habitats. Along with viewing and learning about animals, the Zoo offers opportunity to enjoy wildlife shows, ziplines, a carousel, a 15-inch gauge miniature railway the whole family can ride that loops around the grounds, and more.

Other fun features of the Milwaukee County Zoo:

  • The Zoo features one of the largest groups on bonobos in one location outside of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The aviary features over 60 species, including one large “cage-less” room where the birds fly free.
  • The “children’s zoo,” now called the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm, gives kids educational presentations and access to hedgehogs, porcupines, box turtles, bald eagles, and more.
  • At the Giraffe Deck, you can climb a deck to end up face-to-face with them – and even help feed them.

You’ll find the Milwaukee County Zoo nestled between I-94, I-41/U.S. 45, Highway 100, and U.S. 18/Bluemound Road on the far west side of Milwaukee, with Wauwatosa to the north, West Allis to the south, and Brookfield & Elm Grove to the west. The main entrance is off U.S. 18/Bluemound Road.

The Zoo’s hours vary by season. Admission fees run as follows (Milwaukee County residents with ID get additional discounts, see their website for details.)

ADMISSION
January 1 through March 31 & November 1 through December 31
Adult: $11.75
Child (age 3 to 12): $8.75
Child (2 and under): Free
Senior Citizen (age 60 and over): $10.25

April 1 through October 31
Adult: $14.25
Child (age 3 to 12): $11.25
Child (2 and under): Free
Senior Citizen (age 60 and over): $13.25

Parking is an additional $12 for passenger cars.

Address:
10001 Bluemound Road (U.S. 18)
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 256-5412
Website

Menomonee Park Zoo


The Menomonee Park Zoo is set on 8 acres in a beautiful location on the shores of Lake Winnebago. Open from early May through late September, the Zoo features nearly 50 varieties of animals and exhibits, including permanent exhibits for Gray Wolves and North American Elk. The zoo is bordered by Lake Winnebago on the East and Hazel and Merritt Streets on the South and West; U.S. 45 is just to the west. Highways 21, 44, and 76 are close by.

Address:
520 Pratt Trail
Oshkosh, WI 54901
(920) 236-5082
Website