The Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St., is a local treasure.
Located along Lake Michigan, just north of Downtown, the zoo cares for more than 100 different species of animals, including more than 50 endangered species. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in numerous interactive exhibits like hand-feeding friendly birds in the aviary, walking among wallaroos and kangaroos in Walkabout Creek and petting domestic animals from around the globe in the Barnyard Safari.
A trip to the zoo is an opportunity to observe lions, Amur tigers, black rhinos, Andean bears, wallaroos, orangutans, penguins, meerkats, and more. Visitors may also hand-feed the Masai giraffes at the North Shore Bank Giraffe Encounter.
The 28-acre setting is packed with fun features including two playgrounds, the ZooChoo Express train, picnic areas, and Max and Jenny's Jungle Grill. It's an easy walk for kids and seniors. The zoo hosts many special events throughout the year, including Egg-Stravaganza, the Animal Crackers Concert Series, the Classic Car, Truck and Bike Show, Boo at the Zoo, Roar and Pour, and others targeted to kids and adults.
The Racine Zoo and gift shop are open every day of the year, except Christmas Day. Admission rates are very reasonable and parking is free. For a complete listing of events and activities, visit www.racinezoo.org.
Making the Zoo Sensory Inclusive
In 2018, the Racine Zoo became Wisconsin's first zoo — and only the seventh institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums — to receive certification as a Sensory Inclusive facility through a partnership with KultureCity.
The certification, which included extensive staff training, has better prepared the zoo to assist guests with sensory sensitivities. These challenges are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other similar conditions.
Sensory bags, equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads, are available at the entrance gate to all zoo guests who may find themselves overwhelmed by overstimulation and noise. The zoo also has designated headphone zones and quiet areas.
KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized for using resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs. The organization has created sensory inclusive venues at events like the NFL Pro Bowl and the NFL Super Bowl, and at 26 sports stadiums.