3 Reasons to Visit the Zoo in Winter

It’s now post-holiday winter, a season separate from pre-holiday winter, when snowflakes and icicles become magic in the glow of twinkling lights.  Now, snowflakes and icicles are simply cold.  And sadly, the threat of “Santa is watching,” no longer holds the same amount of power.  If your house is anything like mine, it has one or more kids flopping around saying, “Moooommm, will you play with me?  What can we dooooo?”  

There are lots of winter activities to contemplate, but I’d like to propose one that you may not naturally consider.  The Zoo.  Some of you already know the secrets I’m about to share but for those of you that are thinking, “Shouldn’t we wait until the weather is warmer to go to the zoo?” – Here are three reasons to consider the Milwaukee County Zoo as an option for getting the kids out of the house when you start feeling stir-crazy this winter.  

Reason #1You can beat the crowds that flock there during the warmer seasons.  Even if you go on the weekend, it’s not a zoo!  Oh wait, it’s still a zoo but it’s a zoo due entirely to the animals, not the massive hoard of humans failing to navigate their strollers appropriately.  (Let’s steer ‘em to the right, folks.  It’s just like driving.)

Reason #2There is an incredible amount of indoor, heated spaces.  If I may, let me take you on a guided tour of my recent trip.  My family, including a 4.5yearold and an (almost!) 2yearold, visited on a brisk 32-degree day with chilly 12mph winds, making it feel a tad icy when it blasted right in the face.  Still, we found the following path to be perfect for staying comfortable in spite of the cold.

We had a quick social call with the Penguins upon entering, who were more than happy to entertain their visitors, waddling in and out of the frigid water without a care in the world.  Next, there was an easy stroll to the interconnected Peck Welcome Center, Apes of Africa, and Primates of the World exhibits which are fully indoor, all toasty and warm.  Two quick points on this part of the trip – 1) The gorillas are delightful.  2) There is a bathroom in this building making it an easy pitstop for the kids (or adults) that have pea-sized bladders and/or forgot to go before they left the house. 


photos submitted by Milwaukee County Zoo

From there, you can choose your adventure on the next warm space for your kids to explore while shouting, “Look at that!  Look at that!”  A few choices in the immediate proximity include the Aviary (Visit a tropical forest in the middle of the Midwest winter? Yes, please!), or the Aquatic & Reptile Center (Ok, so not a tropical forest, but you will see fishes bigger than your toddler and that’s pretty cool).  

Some other indoor exhibits include the Small Mammals building and Big Cat Country (note: BCC also has a convenient bathroom for small bladders!).  Along the way, you will also see some animals enjoying the outdoor winter air in their warm winter coats.  For instance, the camels, who are a bit vain if you ask me, standing tall and proud in all their two-humped glory, chomping on hay and staring at you as if they know they are God’s gift to zoo-comers.  Chomp on, you beautiful Bactrians, chomp on.

Admittedly, there were some animals that weren’t on display due to their climate needs.  Nonetheless, I have no complaints as my young crew saw enough exhibits to blow off their pent-up winter energy, and let’s be honest… I’m not sure we could have seen much more without resulting in overtired meltdowns.  But in addition to avoiding meltdowns (by children or adults, no judgment here), there is another upside to seeing a bit less… 

Reason #3The price is reduced.  From January through March, the price is lowered by $3 for both adult and child tickets.  May I suggest that you use that $6+ savings to spring a ticket for Grandma to come along?  She’ll really love the gorillas.  Trust me.

If you would like more information about the Milwaukee County Zoo including hours and admission fees, you can visit their website, HERE.


Katie Wilson

Hey y’all! I’m Katie and I live in Delafield with my husband, Mike, and two little girls. Lizzie is 4 and Anna is almost 2. We moved to Lake Country a little less than a year ago and we are so happy to be in such a wonderful community. I am originally from Arkansas but have moved around for my career, living in Chicago for several years and then most recently Seattle for 8 years before settling down here. I recently left my career in software account management to become a stay-at-home-mom and I’ve been relieved with the slower pace. Some of my favorite things include reading, listening to podcasts, writing, volunteering, and doing crafts with my kids. I have a mild obsession with Costco and I wouldn’t want to live without my chap stick. I love learning new things and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to write about the things I learn for The Lake Country Mom!

We love you, Lake Country!

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