Shalom Wildlife Zoo

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The Shalom Wildlife Zoo connects Wisconsinites to their wilder surroundings and the creatures that inhabit it. Located in West Bend, Wisconsin, it is home to over 400 animals on 100 acres of property. It is privately owned and receives its funds solely from guest admission fees. It features monthly programs for the public, internship opportunities, and field trips for schools. The Mission Statement of the Shalom Wildlife Zoo is: "To preserve the wilderness, while providing education, enjoyment and wildlife encounters in a natural ecosystem.[ citation needed ]" Calling itself “Wisconsin’s Wildest Zoo”, it has established itself as a place of environmental education and advocacy.


Shalom Wildlife Zoo originally began as a deer farm in 1979, and it was classified as a working farm rather than a zoo. The word "shalom" means peace in Hebrew. The original land was bought for the purpose of preservation, and native whitetail deer were purchased from the state of Wisconsin. Wagon tours guided visitors through thirty acres of property and educated visitors on both the environment and Native American culture. Bison and elk accompanied the deer in 1990, and soon after came more animals such as raccoons, skunks, minks, and red foxes. The zoo began to annually add new animals to its exhibits in order to provide a more comprehensive environmental experience for its guests.[1]

Self-guided tours were added in 2002 so guests could experience the wildlife for themselves, and golf carts became available in 2006 for those unable to walk. In 2010, it was officially recognized as a zoo.[2]


The Shalom Wildlife Zoo is home to over 400 animals. What started as a deer farm has now grown into a wide arrangement of wildlife for visitors to enjoy. The animals within the zoo have been bought, donated, or are there for permanent placement. There are a variety of animals both native and foreign to Wisconsin within their collection.[3]

There are a variety of animals featured, which include but are not limited to: deer, wolves, camels, fish, ducks, foxes, cougars, badger, sheep, swan, bears, and opossums.[4]

Guests can purchase buckets of grain to feed the animals while they walk through the zoo. Snacks for the animals can also be brought in, but they are subject to zoo approval before being given to the animals.[5]

Educational Opportunities

The zoo offers various programs to engage with the public.


  • The Shalom Wildlife Zoo offers 12-16 week internships. This internship opportunity is restricted to people with at least one year of college completed, and who are studying an animal-related field. An intern will work alongside a zookeeper along with working at the front desk.[6]

Field Trips

  • The zoo hosts field trips for schools with an educational tour of the zoo. There are opportunities for hand-feeding the animals and visiting a petting zoo. The experience is focused on educating students about nature within a natural environment.[7]

Learning Centers

  • There are five learning centers located throughout the zoo. These centers feature hands-on learning opportunities about a variety of animals within the zoo.[8]
    • Mammal Learning Center
    • Reptile Learning Center
    • Insect and Butterfly Learning Center
    • Bird Learning Center
    • Deer Learning Center

Monthly Programs

The zoo provides monthly programs for its visitors to participate in. These are often associated with holidays such as Halloween and Christmas. They center around getting visitors to explore the zoo in a fun and interactive way. These programs heavily feature scavenger hunts that guide visitors throughout the zoo, which is a family friendly activity largely enjoyed by young kids. The 2017 Christmas season utilizes the zoo's drive through experience to create "A Holiday Drive-Thru." This event features the usual animals and exhibits with the addition of Christmas lights and decorations, along with activities for kids.

Public Opinion

  • For the last three years, the zoo has received a "Certificate of Excellence" award from Trip Advisor.[9]


  1. "A Brief History of Shalom Wildlife Zoo." Shalom Wildlife. Accessed December 19, 2017.
  2. "A Brief History of Shalom Wildlife Zoo." Shalom Wildlife. Accessed November 30, 2017.
  3. "A Brief History of Shalom Wildlife Zoo." Shalom Wildlife. Accessed November 30, 2017.
  4. "Plan Your Visit." Shalom Wildlife. Accessed December 19, 2017.
  5. "Walking on the Wild Side at Shalom Wildlife Zoo." Wisconsin State Farmer. Accessed December 19, 2017.
  6. Shalom Wildlife Zoo. "Internships." Accessed December 19, 2017.
  7. Shalom Wildlife Zoo, ""School Field Trips." Accessed December 19, 2017
  8. Shalom Wildlife Zoo, ""School Field Trips." Accessed December 19, 2017
  9. Shalom Wildlife Zoo. "About-Us" Accessed December 19, 2017
Shalom Wildlife Zoo, Accessed 2017-11-30,

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