Milwaukee County Zoo Elephants

Nature and Ecology

Boerner Botanical Gardens

9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners; A collection of formal garden spaces hosting a number of plant collections from ornamental grasses to phenomenal peonies. 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) April-Late Fall; Closed Late November-Early April. Telephone: (414) 525-5601; Website: www.boernerbotanicalgardens.org.

Milwaukee County Zoo

10001 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee; Visit over 3,100 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles 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. Seasonal hours. Telephone: (414) 256-5412; Website: www.milwaukeezoo.org.

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

524 S. 27th St., 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 Monday through Friday and 9-4 Saturday and Sunday; extended winter hours. Telephone: (414) 257-5600; Website: www.milwaukeedomes.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 every day of the year; free parking. Summer hours (May - October): 9-6; Fall/spring hours: 9-4:40; Winter hours: 9-4. Free for children under 3. Telephone: (262) 636-9189; Website: 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. Summer hours: 9-8 Mondays - Thursdays; 9-5 Fridays - Sundays. Closed most major holidays. Telephone: (414) 352-2880; Website: www.schlitzaudubon.org

Urban Ecology Center

Riverside Park: 1500 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee; Washington Park: 1859 N. 40th St., Milwaukee; An environmental education organization with two community centers. Open 9-7 Mondays - Thursdays, 9-5 Fridays and Saturdays, and 12-5 Sundays. Telephone: (414) 964-8505; Website: www.urbanecologycenter.org

Wehr Nature Center

9701 W. College Ave., Franklin; Five miles of nature trails loop through 200 acres of woodlands, wetlands, prairie, oak savanna and around 20-acre Mallard Lake. Nature programs for all ages and special seasonal events for families. Visitor's 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