Home to one of America’s largest zoos, Brookfield Zoo is an outdoor museum in a Chicago suburb. The zoo has a lot of animals and is well taken care of.
The best time to visit is in the fall or spring. It’s not crowded and the animals are active. It’s also a great place for families with children. Read on for some ideas.
The History of Brookfield Zoo
Founded in 1934, Brookfield Zoo is owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and managed by the Chicago Zoological Society. It sponsors numerous research and conservation efforts worldwide. It is also known as one of the first zoos to use barless exhibits, allowing animals to roam free in spacious and natural-looking settings.
The zoo has a long history of promoting animal welfare and pioneering new zoological experiences. Some of these innovations include a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital in 1952, the first tiger birth in captivity, and rare Australian mammals arriving from Taronga Zoo.
The zoo is home to famous animals, including Cookie a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo who was part of the collection since opening in 1934 until his death in 2016. It is also known for its Stingray Bay and other seasonal exhibits.
The zoo features carefully recreated replicas of natural habitats so visitors can see animals in their own environment. Giraffes roam a space modeled after an African savannah, lions and leopards prowl around a Himalayan rainforest exhibit, and dolphins swim through the Seven Seas area.
Brookfield Zoo also was the first zoo to build an indoor multi-species exhibit. And it housed three giant pandas from 1937 to 1953 when only a few other zoos did so.
The zoo has plenty of attractions for every age group, including the Hamill Family Play Area and a historic carousel. Plus, there are numerous sit-down restaurants and treat stands. More about Elmhurst here.
A top-rated zoo, Brookfield Zoo is right up there with the best in the nation. It’s home to animals like the Carsie capybara, western lowland gorillas, and reticulated giraffes. Visitors will love exploring the zoo’s numerous exhibits including Tropic World, the zoo’s first multispecies rainforest.
It’s also home to the Salt Creek Trail system which is ideal for hiking and biking in beautiful forest preserve areas. This trail system follows the Des Plaines River and the namesake Salt Creek from the zoo all the way to the Chicago Portage National Historic Site.
There’s an excellent lineup of festivals and seasonal events that keep things interesting at the zoo. These include the Zoo Run, Oktoberfest, and Boo at the Zoo. Active, reservist, and retired members of the United States military receive free admission to the zoo.
Brookfield Zoo has two public parking lots that are suitable for both standard and oversized vehicles. They’re located near the North and South Gate entrances, which makes it easy to get to the zoo from any direction. They’re also a great alternative to on-street parking, which can be expensive and stressful in Chicago.
The zoo offers free admission to active, reservist, and retired military personnel every day. This includes their dependents, too. The zoo also gives discounts on some attractions, restaurants, and other services.
During Boo at the Zoo days, regular admission or membership tickets will get you into most activities (excluding Hamill Family Play Zoo trick-or-treating stations and Pumpkin Smasher). The zoo also has a low-sensory room for families with special needs. It features fidgets, sensory-support materials, and dimmable lights to help make the zoo as inclusive as possible for everyone!
Brookfield Zoo or Chicago Zoological Park is an internationally known zoological park that hosts many special events throughout the year. It is open 365 days a year and is home to more than 2,400 animals representing nearly 500 species on its 216-acre grounds.
A severe storm with tornado-like conditions ripped through the Chicago suburbs of Streamwood, Roselle, and Bellwood on Monday. The storm brought down and split trees, and damaged buildings and other structures. The Zoo itself suffered some damage, but officials said no animals were injured and most of the Zoo is still intact. The Zoo was preparing to open late Tuesday. The lion enclosure was closed because large tree branches were crisscrossing the walkways for visitors. The giraffe herd also was closed, because Arnieta had to undergo constant monitoring due to two previous miscarriages. Check our next area of interest here.
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