Nature and Ecology
Boerner Botanical Gardens
9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners; Collection of formal garden spaces featuring a variety of plant collections. Formal gardens include perennial, peony, rock, rose, shrub, annual, daylily, herb and trial gardens. Margie’s Garden child-friendly attraction features playhouse, twig hut, interactive sculptures and troll bridge. Guided garden tours, classes and special events year-round. Gardens open daily 8-4, May-October. Located in Whitnall Park. Education & Visitor Center includes gift shop. Telephone: (414) 525-5653; boernerbotanicalgardens.org.
Milwaukee County Zoo
10001 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee; Visit more than 2,200 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles representative of 330 different species in specialized habitats spanning 190 wooded acres. Features a Safari Train, Ocean Connections Seal & Sea Lion Show, Giraffe Experience, Animals-in-Action Presentations, Sky Safari, Sky Adventure Zip Line and Ropes Courses, Gorilla Trek Virtual Reality Experience and Dino Don’s Dragon Kingdom. On-site restaurants and gift shops. Winter Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9:30-2:30/Sat. & Sun., 9:30-4:30;
March-May 27: Daily, 9:30-4:30; Summer Hours: Daily, 9:30-5:00. Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day. Telephone: (414) 256-5412; Website: milwaukeezoo.org.
Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory - The Domes
524 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee; Three architecturally unique glass domes house a tropical rainforest with a 30-foot waterfall and orchid collection, a desert oasis and a floral "Show Dome" featuring five floral seasonal exhibits. Open 9-5 Wednesday and Friday, 9-8 Thursday and 9-4 Saturday-Sunday. Reservations are recommended; Telephone: (414) 257-5600; mitchellparkdomes.com
2131 N. Main St., Racine; Nestled on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, the zoo is home to the world's most remarkable and endangered wildlife. An easy walk for kids and seniors. Open year-round; free parking. Summer hours (May-September): 9-6; Fall/spring hours: 9-4:40; Winter hours: 9-4. Free for children 2 and under. Telephone: (262) 636-9189; racinezoo.org
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
1111 E. Brown Deer Rd., Bayside; With a mission to conserve the diverse habitats along the Lake Michigan shore, the center provides access, experiences and environmental education. Onsite and online programs, resources, lectures and interactive events. Acclaimed raptor program, nature preschool, summer camps and six miles of hiking trails. Birding hotspot!
Fees: $8 adults, $5 for ages 3-17 and veterans/ active-duty service members. Telephone: (414) 352-2880; schlitzaudubon.org
Urban Ecology Center
Riverside Park: 1500 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee; Located on the Oak Leaf Recreational Trail along the Milwaukee River, the center connects city-dwellers with nature and each other. Urban habitat restoration, education and programming. Branches also located in Washington Park (1859 N. 40th St.) and the Menomonee Valley (3700 W. Pierce St.). Hours on website. Telephone: (414) 964-8505; Website: urbanecologycenter.org
Wehr Nature Center
9701 W. College Ave., Franklin; Five miles of nature trails loop through 220 acres of woodlands, wetlands, prairie, oak savanna and around 20-acre Mallard Lake. Nature programs for all ages and special seasonal events for families. Nature center open daily 8:30-4:30 except New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day and some days near Thanksgiving and Christmas. Telephone: (414) 425-8550; friendsofwehr.org