Our mission is to connect wildlife and wild spaces to people.
This serves as our guiding force and the source of our continued motivation to achieve our vision of creating a better world for us all. By providing our guests with encounters and opportunities to make memorable connections with wildlife and setting their experience with conservation teachings, the Washington Park Zoo aims to inspire and empower visitors of all ages to take action on behalf of wildlife in their own backyard and around the world.
The Washington Park Zoo is opened seasonally from April until the end of October and welcomes more than 100,000 guests yearly. Our dedicated staff and volunteers are always striving to provide unparalleled care, educational experiences, and support for local and global conservation efforts. We invite everyone to join us for a memorable day at the WPZoo. Or, if you share our passion and vision, please become a member or donor so that our animals and staff can continue their work on behalf of wild animals and wild places around the world.
Located just across the street from Lake Michigan and Washington Park, the zoo has been a cornerstone for the community since 1928. Founded with a retired circus bear and some surrendered exotic pets the zoo has kept that focus and continues to be a rescue for animals in need of a safe home. Some of the zoo’s residents have been misplaced exotic pets that proved to be too wild or were confiscated as illegally owned, some are native wildlife that have suffered injuries that would make life in the wild impossible, and others were removed by the DNR, but all the residents are given the best environments that our staff can provide for their health and mental enrichment needs.
Your Zoo participation allows continued growth and development of new habitats and construction, conservation efforts, education programs, and specialized care of the animals, so we thank you.
The Washington Park Zoo will create a unique, family-friendly experience that offers fun ways to learn about animals. Our approach will be demonstrated by
Helping families understand and appreciate the unique, fragile relationship people share with animals and their environments
Expand ongoing communication and respond to our audience’s needs
Strengthen collaborations within our organization and community
The Washington Park Zoo is dedicated to promoting the appreciation of animals and conservation in ways that educate audiences through wildlife experiences while meeting the biological and psychological needs of the animals in our care.
Provide a cohesive circulation pattern that emphasizes the different zoogeographic areas of the zoo
Create unique guest experiences
Strategically locate guest services
Provide opportunities to incorporate storylines and cultural themes to strengthen educational messages
Create revenue-generating opportunities
Address needed facility improvements
Provide adequate space and services for the present and future animal collection