Seeking the Wild in the Wilderness Walk

Goats and deer and woodchucks—oh my! The Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park in Hayward, Wisconsin, just isn’t that wild. To be fair, there is a tiger, as well as black bears named Laverne and Shirley. And smaller animals that aren’t exactly tame. The 35-acre Wilderness Walk represents the wilderness of Northern Wisconsin, and the animal life in that area, for the most part, is more mild than wild. We visited the Wilderness Walk last summer and found the attraction to be geared toward kids, but since I’m a big kid, I had a good time.

You can pet the tamest of the animals like the goats and deer, and kids are invited to play with the animals in the nursery.

Deer at the Wilderness WalkDuck

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With other animals you’ll want to keep your distance.

PigWoodchucksI thought the zedonk, sometimes called a zonkey, was the most interesting. The zedonk is a hybrid of a female donkey and a male zebra.

zedonkElsewhere in the park, a short trail takes you through a wooded area with educational signage about the various plant life.

Trail at Wilderness WalkWe came across some fun animal sculptures in an open area adjacent to the trail.

Deer sculptureIn the Old West town, another area of the park, we stumbled through a maze.

Old West town at Wilderness WalkCovered WagonMaze in Old West Town, Hayward WIThe mystery house with the angled floor gives the illusion of water flowing upward when you ladle it into the trough.

Water flowing upward

I happened to visit the Old West town at the wrong time. No sooner did I see a Wanted poster with my picture on it …

Wanted poster

… than I ended up behind bars and then in a stockade.

Jail at Wilderness WalkIn the stockadeReally—I swear—I didn’t steal the gold.

Gold at the Wilderness WAlkI panned for it fair and square. And I put it back so some lucky kid could find it.

Panning for gold

Be sure to check out our new road trip blog, U.S. Long Cuts.

Speaking of kids, the playground has two suspension bridges. One for this kind of kid …

Suspension Bridge on Playground

… and one for this kind of kid.

Bridge for goats at Wilderness Walk

We spent about an hour and a half at the park. If we had brought children with us, I’m sure we would have stayed even longer because they would have had a wild good time, and it’s a great place for a picnic. The Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park, open early May through Labor Day, is located on Highway 27 three miles south of Hayward Wisconsin. Check the web site for exact dates, hours and admission rates.

TortoiseDisclosure: Our visit to the Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park was hosted by the attraction and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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8 thoughts on “Seeking the Wild in the Wilderness Walk

  • May 15, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    This looks so fun and right up my son’s alley. He loves animals of any kind, especially ones you can get up close to!

    • May 16, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      The kids there all looked like they were having great fun.

  • May 16, 2015 at 3:00 am

    It looks like a lot of fun.

    • May 16, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      It was fun, even if it’s meant more for kids.

  • May 16, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Hi Connie, I agree that it’s more mild than wild. But it’s very charming and looks like a lot of fun – just perfect for kids and the kids at heart. That wanted poster episode is so hilarious!
    Linking through #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • May 18, 2015 at 8:01 am

      I have to admit we enjoyed it even without having kids with us.

  • May 19, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Oh my kids would love this park! We would spend all day there – love the bridge. Still can’t get over the picture of the zedonk – never heard of one before!

    • May 20, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      I hadn’t heard of a zedonk before either, but I’ve seen another one since.


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