Milwaukee a la Carte at the Zoo Is Back!

After two years, the beloved food fest will return this August.

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Milwaukee a la Carte at the Zoo will return this summer.

Zoo a la Carte – as it’s known to many locals – will run Aug. 18-21 on the zoo grounds. New hours are Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The festival will offer local eats, music and, of course, a chance to view more than 2,000 animals.

Music headliners are Bella Cain (Aug. 18), Spin Doctors (Aug. 19), Plain White T’s (Aug. 20) and De La Buena (Aug. 21). In addition to the national headliners, local bands will perform on five stages throughout the zoo, with music genres including hip-hop, jazz, Top 40 and others.

A la Carte at the Zoo; Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Zoo

Food stands featuring a variety of cuisines will be situated throughout the zoo. Participating restaurants include:

· Café El Sol

· Catalano Corn

· C-Viche

· La Masa

· Meat on the Street

· Nothing Bundt Cakes

· Saz’s

· Scrima’s Pizza

· Shawarma House

· Thunder Bay

· Ultimate Confections

· Wong’s Wok

Crafty kids can create fun and imaginative projects inspired by works of art from the Milwaukee Art Museum on Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Zoo favorites like the Safari Train, Animal in Action Talks, Ocean Connections, Goat Yard and Kohl’s Wild Theater will also be part of the festival.

A la Carte at the Zoo; Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Zoo

Festival goers can also visit Dino Don’s Dragon Kingdom, located in a lush forest behind the small mammals building. Here visitors will encounter more than 15 animatronic creatures found in cultures throughout the world. Compare physical attributes of these mythical dragons with animals found at the Zoo and learn the similarities and connections between them.

Details will be coming soon on flexible admission rates for a la Carte. All musical entertainment is included with admission. Food, special attractions and Zoo rides can be purchased for an additional fee. Zoological Society membership is valid for a la Carte.



Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.