Membership Benefits for 2015
Check out all the benefits you'll enjoy as a member of the Zoo! Over the last couple years, we've been adding more and more benefits to enhance your zoo experience to thank you for your support.
About Membership Benefits
Learn more about each membership benefit and how to redeem them.
All Members Receive:
Entrance to Member Appreciation Event
The Zoo's exclusive members-only appreciation event for 2014 took place on May 15th from 5:30-7:30pm. We hope you can join us for next year's member appreciation night!
Discounted Admission to Select Zoo Events
Attend select events at Henry Vilas Zoo for the reduced member price. Visit our event page
for listings of upcoming events.
3-4 times per year, all members receive the latest inside information about what's happening at the Henry Vilas Zoo. Topics include conservation, events at the Zoo, fundraising, building projects, and of course, the animals!
Free or Discounted Admission to many Zoos and Aquariums Nationwide
All members of the Henry Vilas Zoo free or reduced admission to many AZA accredited Zoos and Aquariums throughout the country. See a list of AZA reciprocal Zoos on the navigation on the left. Please call ahead to whatever Zoo you would like to visit to verify their current reciprocity policies and present your current membership card to receive discounts.
Priority Registration and Discounts for Zoo School Classes
Member families are permitted to register for the extremely popular summer Zoo School classes prior to open class registration for the public. Some classes sell out during the members-only period! Members also receive a $10 discount. Learn more about Zoo School here
. Members are notified by email. Please be sure we have your email address in order to receive the advance notice about Zoo School by sending an email to email@example.com.
Monthly Specials at Zoo Concessions and Gift Shop
Throughout the year, the Henry Vilas Zoo Gift Shops and Concessions feature a different special each month on food or merchandise. Please present your membership card to receive the special prices.
Members at the Family($50) level and higher also receive:
Free Rides on the Zoo Train and Conservation Carousel
- January - Buy one piece of jewelry, get the second at 50% off
- February - All polar bear items 20% off
- March - All lion items 20% off
- April - Buy one shirt get the second at 50% off
- May - Buy one hot dog get one free
- June - All giraffe items 20% off
- July - Buy one medium drink get one free
- August - Buy one ice cream cone get one free
- September - All red panda items 20% off
- October - All masks 20% off
- November - Take 40% off all regularly priced gift shop items on November 21st, 22nd, and 23rd
- December - 20% off store wide in the Zoo Gift Shop
Ride the Conservation Carousel (which features a variety of animals from around the world) and the delightful Zoo Train free of charge. Your membership level determines how many free rides you will receive, ranging from 6 free rides at the Family level to unlimited rides for your immediate family at the Protector and Ambassador levels. Protector and Ambassador members can redeem free rides by simply showing their membership card. For other levels, free ride punch cards will be mailed to you along with your membership cards.
Members at the Sustaining($100) level and higher also receive:
Early Entrance to Strings and the Wild Things
Be the first in and get a great spot by the orchestra! Members at the Sustaining level ($100) and above will be allowed early access to the Strings and the Wild Things summer event at the Zoo for themselves and their immediate families. Members at the Steward Level and above will also be allowed to enter early with two guests. Members will receive directions on where to go prior to the event. To be sure we have your email address so that you receive this info, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Members must present their membership card for early access.
$25 Off "Befriend-an-Animal" Gift Packages
Give the gift of supporting the Henry Vilas Zoo to a special animal lover in your life for a special member price. Pay only $25 for the basic Befriend an Animal
package or $75 for the Plush package. Please call the Friends of the Zoo office to order by phone at 608-258-9490 to receive a coupon code for online purchases.
Early Entrance to Halloween at the Zoo
Be at the front of the line to get your free Halloween treats! Members at the Sustaining level ($100) and above will be allowed early access to Halloween at the Zoo for themselves and their immediate families. Members at the Steward Level and above will also be allowed to enter early with two guests. Members will be allowed in a half hour before the general public and will receive directions on where to go prior to the event. To be sure we have your email address so that you receive this info, please send an email to email@example.com. Members must present their membership card for early access.
Friend of the Henry Vilas Zoo T-Shirt
Show your love of animals and your support of the Henry Vilas Zoo by wearing your Henry Vilas Zoo member t-shirt! Members at the Sustaining level ($100) and above will receive this complimentary soft cotton shirt. Please bring your t-shirt coupon (mailed to you with your membership materials) and membership card to the Zoo's gift shop in order to pick up your free membership t-shirt. The Gift Shop is usually open from 9:30am to 4:30pm during the winter and 9:30 to 5:00 during the summer. You may also pick up your T-Shirt at the Friends of the Zoo office in the basement of Anna Vilas Hall (606 S. Randall Ave) M-F from 9am to 5pm.
Members at the Steward($250) level and higher also receive:
Insider Tours of the Zoo
For the first time ever, the Zoo will be offering insider tours of the zoo to Steward, Protector, and Ambassador members in 2015. Stay tuned for more information!
Half Price Registration for Zoo Run Run
Members at the Steward ($250) level or above who participate in the Zoo Run Run, one of the Zoo's most popular events, can receive one registration at 50% off . The Zoo Run Run is a fun, chip-timed run featuring prizes for all ages, a costume contest, and free food and drinks for runners. 50% discount must be redeemed through the mail during pre-registration. See last year's registration form here. One discounted registration per membership.
Art Piece by Zoo Animal (with Photo)
A few of the animals at the Henry Vilas Zoo have begun to dabble in the fine arts! Members at the Steward level ($250) and above can be the proud owner of a small painting actually painted by an animal you can visit here at the Zoo. You will also receive a photo of the animal along with the painting. Your art piece will be mailed to you along with your membership materials.
Members at the Protector($500) level and higher also receive:
Exclusive "Drive the Zoo Train!" for Members and up to 10 guests
This is your chance to become the Zoo Train Conductor and take your friends and family for an exclusive ride through the Children's Zoo at the Henry Vilas Zoo! After a quick lesson, adults in your group can each take a turn driving your group through the Children's Zoo. Members at the Protector level ($500) and above, along with their group of up to 10 guests will have the train all to themselves for an hour and have unlimited carousel rides until 11am. Drive the Zoo Train can be scheduled from May to October and start at 8:45am. Contact the Friends of the Zoo office at 608-258-9490 to schedule your Drive the Zoo Train experience.
Members at the Ambassador($1,000) level and higher also receive:
Up-Close Zoo Animal Encounter
Enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet a zoo animal up close. Whether it's seeing behind the scenes at the rhino exhibit, feeding the giraffe, or watching a penguin do some painting, you will have the chance to experience the Henry Vilas Zoo in a whole new way and learn about the animal from an experienced and knowledgeable Zoo staff member. This exclusive experience is available to all members at the Ambassador level ($1,000) or above. Animal Encounters are planned with the animal's well being in mind, so the animal for each encounter will be determined by Zoo staff and is subject to change. Due to the need for keeping Animal Encounter groups small, this benefit is only for members and their immediate family. You will receive an invitation to each group Zoo Animal Encounter during your membership year until you redeem (3-4 Animal Encounters will be available per year to choose from).
The enhanced 2014 benefits are available to all members who have joined or renewed since November of 2014.