Vilas (Henry) Park

Vilas (Henry) Park
Address: 1602 Vilas Park Dr.
Hours: 4:00am - 10:00pm
Park Type: Community
Acres: 45.67
Restroom: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Shoreline On: Lake Wingra

Park Details

2018 SHELTER CLOSURE NOTICE: Due to the bridge replacements project, the shelter at Vilas Park will be closed for the 2018 season.

One of Madison's oldest parks, Vilas curves along the northern shore of Lake Wingra, offering a sandy beach for summer swims and numerous fishing sites, including two accessible piers. One can often find joggers on the lakeside trail that links Vilas Park with the UW Arboretum on the east end, and the tree-canopied Park and Pleasure Drive on the west end. Summer invites you to lob a few balls at one of six tennis courts, or to hold picnics and baseball games in the large grassy play area adjacent to Henry Vilas Zoo. Children can choose between two playgrounds, one with the famous Old Woman in a Shoe slide.  A third playground, with dinosaur play equipment and a large Indian mound may be found on the secluded hilltop portion of the park, behind the zoo on Erin Street. In the cold months, skate on the frozen lagoon, or play ice hockey on one of the rinks near the shelter house. This expansive park is a great place to walk, pausing on one of the beautiful arched bridges to watch for blue herons and other wildlife that thrives in this urban greenspace.  Also has a bike path.

3 hour parking at all times in the parking lots. MGO 8.18(2) and (5) and Section 1.08(3)(a)

Vilas (Henry) Park At a Glance

Park Highlights

The "Old Woman in a Shoe" slide was built in 1962 as a gift to the Madison community. Members of the Madison Lathers Local 111, Madison Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 204 donated the labor and materials. Warren Walder oversaw construction of the slide, which was dedicated to George Morrell, a lather/contractor who had died several years earlier.

Bus Parking Prohibited
Buses are prohibited from parking in single vehicle stalls in Vilas Park. Bus drivers may drop passengers off at Vilas Park and then relocate to the rear parking lot at Bowman Park, 1775 Fish Hatchery Road.

At this Park