About Us

Connecting wildlife and wild spaces to people.

Our mission 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 open 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 the beaches of 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 exotic animals in need of a safe home.  Many of the zoo’s residents are surrendered misplaced exotic pets that proved to be too wild, others were confiscated by the DNR, and some are native wildlife that suffered injuries that would make life in the wild impossible, but all the residents are given the best environments that our staff can provide for their health and mental enrichment needs. 


Your participation and support allows for our continued growth and development of new habitats and construction, conservation efforts, education programs, and specialized care of the animals, so we Thank You.

Vision

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

Mission

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.

Objectives

  • 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