Local mom Rene Cozzi recently took her family to the Shalom Wildlife Zoo when it was strictly drive-thru only, and we are excited to have her as a guest contributor today.
Please note that while Wisconsin is further along in the plan for reopening, and Shalom Wildlife Zoo is now open for walking and golf cart rental, they are still offering drive-thru viewing on certain days. The next Special Drive-Thru Days are June 2, 3, and 4, 2020; more may be added. We encourage you to follow the Restore Illinois plan.
Shalom Wildlife Zoo is home to over 75 species and more than 750 animals. The drive-thru option was $10 per adult and $5 for children 12 and under when we went, but pricing is subject to change since the zoo opened for walking. The zoo is open everyday from 9am to 5pm, with the last car allowed in at 4pm.
It took about two hours to get there from Western Springs. Shalom Wildlife Zoo allows dogs in the car for the drive-thru option, so that was a positive for us.
There were port-o-potties at the entrance and some grassy areas where you could get out and stretch your legs in. However, in hindsight, I should have found a trail or place for us to get out of the car and stretch around for 30 minutes or so before heading back home. The total round trip was 6 hours (two hours to get there, 1/2 hour waiting in line, 1.5 hours to drive the trail, and two hours to drive home), which was a lot of time in the car.
Overall, it was a neat experience, but just like any other zoo, the animals have to be active in order for you to really enjoy them. I’d say a good amount of the animals were out, but sleeping. We did see a handful of active ones, pictured throughout this review, but we were disappointed that more animals weren’t active. The pace of the cars didn’t lend to slowing down to wait for the animals to move, look for animals that may have been hidden, or circle back to see if an animal had come out.
They have some pretty interesting signs with animal facts posted throughout the zoo that definitely give your family some talking points during the ride!
Shalom Wildlife Zoo
1901 Shalom Drive
West Bend, WI 53090
Rene has three kids (Amanda, 27; Mia, 14; and Matthew, 12) and a new-to-them 4-year-old Schnoodle named Oscar. Her family has lived in Western Springs since 2005 and is very active in the community as members of the Western Springs Newcomers and Neighbors and Village Club. She also serves as an Economic Development Commissioner for the village. You may see Rene around town once schools resume as a crossing guard at the Field Park underpass. Give her a wave!