“When are the Free Days at Brookfield Zoo at the Start of 2019?” by S.M. O’Connor

The Chicago Zoological Society (C.Z.S.) announced Brookfield Zoo in west suburban Brookfield, Illinois is free to all guests on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays throughout the whole of January and February.  Metro by T ·· Mobile is the sponsor.  Parking fees are as follows: $14 for cars and $20 for buses.

Free Days at Brookfield Zoo


1st, 3rd, and 5th

6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th

13th, 15th, 17th, and 19th

20th, 22nd, 24th, and 26th

27th, 29th, and 31st



3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th

10th, 12th, 14th, and 16th

17th, 19th, 21st, and 23rd

24th, 26th, and 28th


The Hamill Family Play Zoo, in the southeast corner of Brookfield Zoo, is free from November 1, 2018 until February 28, 2019.  It opens daily at 10:00 a.m. and closes half an hour before the zoo closes as a whole.

To express appreciation for the hard work of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, the C.Z.S. offers free admission to Brookfield Zoo to all active, reservist, and retired members of the military.  Qualified personnel who present a valid identification card at one of the admission booths will be admitted free of charge.

Normally, admission costs $21.95 at the Gates (or $20.95 online) for adults, $15.95 at the Gates (or $14.95 online) for senior citizens (sixty-five-years-of-age-and-over), and $15.95 at the Gates (or $14.95 online) for children (ages three-to-eleven).

Please note the Seven Seas Dolphinarium is temporarily closed January 14-16, 2019 while it undergoes annual maintenance and repairs.  All Dolphins in Action shows are cancelled and underwater viewing will be unavailable during this period.

For the same reason, Tropic World will also be closed January 15-18, 2019.  All exhibits are closed and programs are cancelled at Tropic World during this period.

The Carousel and the Motor Safari are also closed.  The Motor Safari Tram is closed for the season.

The C.Z.S. keeps Brookfield Zoo open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the year.  Indoor animal exhibits close half an hour before the zoo closes as a whole.  Tropic World closes forty-five minutes before the zoo closes as a whole.

Founded to realize the vision of Edith Rockefeller McCormick (1872-1932) for a cage-less zoo in Chicagoland, the Chicago Zoological Society operates the Brookfield Zoo on land that belongs to the Forest Preserves of Cook County (formerly the Forest Preserve District of Cook County).  Essentially, the C.Z.S. has the same kind of relationship with the Forest Preserves of Cook County that the Chicago Academy of Sciences,[1] the Chicago Historical Society,[2] The Field Museum of Natural History, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, and the Lincoln Park Zoological Society have with the Chicago Park District.   Chicago Tribune editorial cartoonist John T. McCutcheon (1870-1949) served as the first President of the Chicago Zoological Society from 1921 to 1948.  Architect Edwin Clark (1878-1967), who also designed two homes for Mister and Mistress James Ward Thorne,[3] a library in a third home,[4] and the first twelve Thorne Miniature Rooms,[5] designed the original buildings for Brookfield Zoo in the early 1920s and early ‘30s.[6]  The Brookfield Zoo is accredited by the American Zoological Association.

The North Gate Main Entrance stands at the intersection of 31st Street, west of 1st Avenue and the Des Plaines River.  It is east of Salt Creek.  The address of the North Gate Main Entrance is 8400 31st Street, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.

The South Gate Main Entrance parking lot is adjacent to Riverside Brookfield High School.  The Regional Transportation Authority (R.T.A.) has two different public transit methods that service Brookfield Zoo at the South Gate Main Entrance.  It is a four-block-long walk north from the Hollywood Station on Metra’s B.N.S.F. Railway line, which connects Chicago to Aurora.  Consequently, in good weather, families will ride the train and get off at the Hollywood stop to walk to the zoo.  That train station is also labeled the “Zoo Stop.”  Walk north for two blocks along Hollywood Boulevard.  Then turn right to walk east for one block along Washington Avenue.  Next, turn left to walk along Golf Road.  Two Pace bus routes also have stops outside the South Gate Main Entrance: Route 304 and Route 331.  The address of the South Gate Main Entrance is 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.


[1] The Chicago Academy of Sciences operates the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park.

[2] The Chicago Historical Society operates the Chicago Historical Society operates the Chicago History Museum in Lincoln Park.

[3] Susen Taras, “Thorne, Narcissa Niblack.” Rima Lunin Scultz and Adele Hast, editors. Women Building Chicago 1790-1990: A Biographical Dictionary. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press (2001), p. 880

See also Sally Sexton Kalmbach, Mrs. Thorne’s World of Miniatures.  Chicago and New Orleans: Ampersand, Inc. (2014), pages 33, 42, 43, 114, and 115

[4] Kalmbach, p. 33

[5] Kalmbach, p. 47

[6] John T. McCutcheon, Drawn from Memory: The Autobiography of John T. McCutcheon.  Indianapolis and New York City: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. (1950), p. 423

See also Andrea Friederici Ross, Let the Lions Roar! The Evolution of Brookfield Zoo.  Chicago Zoological Society (1997), pages 18, 20-23, 25, 39, 95, 96, 98, and 228

See also Boyer, p. 19

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