Dog Friendly FAQ

Elmwood Park Zoo’s Dog Friendly events have generated a great deal of interest! We continue to receive hundreds of applications for our limited capacity Dog Days and Yappy Hours. We truly appreciate the enthusiasm for our new program! The FAQ list below aims to provide info for most of what our events entail, but if you would like to discuss anything we may have missed, please email us at

At Elmwood Park Zoo we realize that dogs are part of the family too and many people enjoy having opportunities to share their adventures with their dogs. As animal lovers we understand that caring for wildlife and the natural world often starts at home and we are excited to have the opportunity to encourage a deeper connection to all animals by including dogs in the Zoo visit.

In 2018, Elwood Park Zoo became the first Zoo in the nation to become Autism Certified. Once again, EPZ will be pioneers by piloting the first dog membership in an American Zoo.

Dogs are only allowed on select dates during Dog Days and Yappy Hour events. In order to bring your dog to the zoo, you must must do the following:

  1. Complete an online application. Clicking on this link will direct you to our online application. You will NOT be notified if your application has been accepted; you will only be notified if your application is not acceptable.
  2. Upload required documents. After you submit your application, you will be directed to a page on our website where you are required to upload the following:
    • A receipt from your most recent vet visit
    • Record of annual heartworm test
    • Vaccination report (must include Rabies, Canine Distemper Virus and Canine Parvovirus)

    Again, we will NOT contact you after you submit your documents unless we find that they are in error or missing.

  3. Purchase admission tickets. After you submit your application and have uploaded your documents, you will be linked to our ticket purchase page. Admission tickets must be purchased for both humans and dogs. If you are a zoo yearly member, your human admission is free and your dog admission is available at a reduced rate.

As we rollout this new and exciting opportunity, only a limited number of tickets and dates will be available. We will increase ticket sales as the program progresses. All dogs must be pre registered.

Owners/handlers are limited to one (1) dog per person at any time.  All dogs must be registered to the owner/handler walking them through the zoo.  Handlers must be over the age of 18 and not also not responsible for managing children.

Yes, our animals are used to seeing service dogs and we have had numerous practice runs with our staff and their dogs. In addition we will be limiting the number of dogs at the start of the program to allow animals, staff and guests to adjust to change.  Should any issues or concerns arise we will immediately address them and adjust our dog programs as necessary.

Dogs who display aggressive behavior or who are disruptive/stressful to our animals and to other guests through excessive barking or other behaviors will be asked to leave by the Zoo. No biting, fighting, or bullying of dogs OR people is permitted.

Yes, all owners must show proof of the following:

1) A health certificate showing the dog has been evaluated by a licensed veterinarian at a minimum of once per year

2) On monthly heartworm prevention and receive an annual Heartworm Test.

2) Vaccinated against Rabies, Canine Distemper Virus and Canine Parvovirus

Yes, all dogs must be on a leash and the handler must be in control of the dog at all times. Leashes must be shorter than 6′. In addition all dogs should arrive at the zoo with a well-fitting collar with one tag that indicates contact information for owners and one tag that confirms rabies vaccination status. Collars must be worn at all times. The following collars are NOT permitted:  Prong, Choke, Heavy Chain Link, Spike Collars

The Zoo will be installing several designated dog relief areas that we are encouraging guests to use.  All guests will be responsible for cleaning up after their dogs should it be needed.


No it does not. The Zoo welcomes service dogs at any time. They do not need to register in advance to visit.