Milwaukee County Zoo Elephants

Nature and Ecology

Boerner Botanical Gardens

9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners; A collection of formal garden spaces featuring a variety of plant collections. Formal gardens include the perennial, peony, rock, rose, shrub, annual, daylily, herb and trial gardens. Guided garden tours, classes and special events year-round. Located in Whitnall Park. Hours: 8-6 (or sunset) Late April-Late Fall; Closed Late November-Early April. Telephone: (414) 525-5653; www.boernerbotanicalgardens.org.

Milwaukee County Zoo

10001 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee; Visit more than 2,100 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles representative of 348 different species in specialized habitats spanning 190 wooded acres. Features a zoo train, sea lion show, tram tour, animal rides, dairy farm, restaurants and gift shops. Special events and education programs. See website for seasonal hours. Open 365 days of the year. Telephone: (414) 256-5412; Website: www.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 365 days a year: 9-5 Monday-Friday and 9-4 Saturday-Sunday; Telephone: (414) 257-5600; www.county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Explore/The-Domes.org

Racine Zoo

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; www.racinezoo.org

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

1111 E. Brown Deer Rd., Bayside; Featuring a 30,000-square-foot "green" building, six miles of hiking trails and a 60-foot observation tower, the center is 15 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan. Open daily 9-5. Telephone: (414) 352-2880; www.schlitzaudubon.org

Urban Ecology Center

Riverside Park: 1500 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee; Washington Park: 1859 N. 40th St., Milwaukee; Menomonee Valley: 3700 W. Pierce St., Milwaukee; An environmental education organization with three community centers which provide year-round educational programs for kids, families and adults of all ages. Hours vary by location. Telephone: (414) 964-8505; Website: www.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