The Brookfield Zoo located in Chicago’s suburb of Brookfield , Illinois is a world-class zoo that covers an area of 216 acres (874,124 m²) housing around 450 species of animals. The Brookfield Zoo is owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District and managed by the Chicago Zoological Society.
In 1921, the Chicago Zoological Society was established due to a donation of land made by Edith Rockefeller McCormick for the purpose of development of a zoological garden. Brookfield Zoo opened on July 1, 1934 and became world renowned for its use of natural barriers, such as moats, rather than cages being also the first in US to exhibit giant pandas. By the end of September , over one million people had visited the new zoo. The 1950s saw the addition of a veterinary hospital, a children’s zoo, and the famous central fountain.
In 1960, Brookfield Zoo built the nation’s first fully-indoor dolphin exhibit, and in the 1980s the zoo introduced Tropic World, the first fully-indoor rain forest simulation and the then-largest indoor zoo exhibit in the world.
In the past decade, the zoo has undergone significant capital upgrades, constructing the Regenstein Wolf Woods, the Hamill Family Play Zoo, butterfly tent, sheltered group catering pavilions, and the largest hand-carved, wooden carousel in the United States. Great Bear Wilderness was opened in 2010.
Brookfield Zoo Animals
The animals have lots of space and are exhibited in settings that recreate their natural habitats. Some of the animal highlights include bears, elephants, big cats, giraffes and many others . There is a dolphin habitat with a show and an underwater viewing area and an exhibit called the Living Coast that recreates the shore of southern South America, complete with penguins and waves overhead. Tropic world houses the zoo’s apes in three natural settings. You can see wolves in the Wolf woods.
Here are the best exhibits at Brookfield Zoo :
- Tropic World is one of the best simulating a tropical rain forest with monkeys, birds and more, even a simulated thunderstorm
- Wolf Woods
- The Swamp
- Living Coast
- Feathers and Scales
- Seven Seas
- Fragile Kingdom
- Australia House
- Habitat AfricaThere is also a children’s petting zoo and the Play Zoo, where families can interact more closely with the animals.
Brookfield Zoo is open 365 days per year, from 10am to 5pm, with extended hours on weekends and in the summer. Children will be very happy at Brookfield Zoo. Besides the animals, there is lots to see and do for kids. The Brookfield Zoo also focuses on education and the interactive Hamill Family Zoo that let kids get hands on to learn what it takes to run a zoo as well as face painting and crafts.
Interesting to know is that even on a busy day, the zoo does not seem too crowded due to its large dimensions and it is possible to enjoy the nicely landscaped setting. Brookfield Zoo also features many snack shops, picnic groves and vendor carts to purchase food and is a great way to spend the day, have fun and learn important facts about animals and the environment.