Brookfield Zoo in Chicago

Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, also known as the Chicago Zoological Park, houses over 450 animals and is best known for its extensive use of open-air unbarred enclosures.

The 216-acre Brookfield Zoo, located in the Chicago suburb of Brookfield, opened in 1934 and earned international recognition for using moats and ditches instead of cages to separate the animals from the guests.

Brookfield hosts over two million visitors annually and was the first in the United States to present giant pandas in one of its exhibits.

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The zoo since donated one of the giant pandas to Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History to be taxidermized. In 1960, the zoo gained notoriety with the nation’s first indoor dolphin exhibit.

Fun Fact: The echidna is the oldest animal at Brookfield Zoo. Adelaide, a short-beaked echidna, recently turned 50 years old!

Brookfield is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals. Kudos to Brookfield for meeting the American Humane Association’s certification standards!

Brookfield Zoo Featured Attractions

Dolphins In Action

This exciting show captivates audiences with the dolphins’ impressive aerial displays and teaches about their unique social structure, incredible intelligence, and agility.

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The show costs $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for kids (3-11), and $4.00 for seniors (65+).

Hamill Family Play Zoo

This award-winning exhibit is perfect for young children to explore. In addition, it is sure to connect visitors with animals and nature.

Hamill Family Wild Encounters

This three-acre exhibit features incredible hands-on experiences that allow guests to touch and feed several zoo animals, such as parakeets and goats. Meanwhile, the Hamill exhibit showcases red pandas, llamas, wallabies, and reindeer.

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The Carousel

Take a spin in one of the country’s largest hand-carved wooden carousels. During this ride, observe the 70 different animals from around the world.

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Motor Safari

Take a load off and relax on this tram ride around Brookfield. Meanwhile, educational ride teaches about conservation efforts and the history of the Chicago Zoological Society.


Here, guests can discover these beautiful creatures up close and learn more about them in the pupa room. Meanwhile, you can watch the actual transformation from pupa to caterpillar to butterfly!

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Penguin Encounter

Guests can watch the zoo’s resident Humboldt penguins in action at the Living Coast Habitat.

Special Events

Brookfield Zoo hosts unique events throughout the year like its “Wine in the Wild,” wine tasting event, and Holiday Magic, a special seasonal zoo-lit extravaganza.

Photo Alert: If you happen to be in town for the holidays, then Brookfield’s Holiday Magic zoo lights are spectacular!

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Guest can also ice skate into the winter season in the zoo’s amazing 40-foot x 80-foot rink, which is not made of actual ice but synthetic plastic, so no water or electricity is required for operation.

Zoo Hours and Admission Cost

The zoo is open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily. (Check special holiday hours on the zoo’s website.)


Adults: $24.95

Seniors (65 and over): $19.95

Children (3-11) $17.95

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Zoo admission and all available attractions are free for children two and under.

The zoo offers free admission for all guests on certain days of the year. Check the website for details. Additional parking fees apply.

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Written By Erin

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie publisher of fanta ...

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