“How is Brookfield Zoo Celebrating World Penguin Day?” by S.M. O’Connor

Penguin lovers will have a variety of things to do at the Brookfield Zoo to celebrate World Penguin Day (Thursday, April 25, 2019), but not on the day itself.  Activities for the whole family will be taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2019 both inside and outside the Living Coast exhibit, which is home to a colony of Humboldt penguins.  The first 1,000 children to arrive at The Living Coast Plaza will receive color wristbands.

A wristband will give each child the opportunity to discover his or her banded penguin counterpart in the exhibit’s “Rocky Shores” habitat.  Bands help animal care staff identify each individual bird.  Signs posted around the exhibit will serve as an ID guide to help each youngster discover which penguin has the same band color as his or hers.

From 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., weather permitting, zoogoers will be able to view unique artworks made with nontoxic watercolors.  Each painting has on the back of its canvas a photo of the supposed penguin artist with his or her footprint “signature.”  The zoogoers can enter a random-drawing now through Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Saving Time for a chance to win a painting.  To enter, go to www.CZS.org/PenguinDay.  One must be thirteen years of age or older to enter the contest.  Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on the Brookfield Zoo’s Facebook page and Website on Friday, May 3, 2019.  Additionally, a pack of five notecards featuring images of the penguins’ creations will be available with a minimum donation of $10.

Proceeds go directly towards the Animal Care and Conservation Fund of the Chicago Zoological Society (C.Z.S.), which helps support efforts like the C.Z.S.’s Punta San Juan penguin program.  Located in Peru along South America’s west coastline, Punta San Juan is a reserve where research and community outreach is being conducted to help protect species native to the region, including Humboldt penguins.

Brookfield Zoo’s World Penguin Day aims to celebrate these flightless birds and to raise awareness about the need for continued conservation efforts to protect them in their native habitat.  Fun facts about penguins will be presented by animal care staff during Zoo Chats while the birds are being fed in the “Rocky Shores” habitat at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  In addition, at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the penguins will be offered different forms of behavioral enrichment, which are items designed to keep Brookfield Zoo’s animals both physically and mentally healthy.  Also, volunteer educators will be joining the festivities to engage zoogoers of all ages at their information station by sharing a variety of penguin artifacts.

Volunteers will also facilitate the penguin egg shuffle challenge.  The activity allows guests to pretend to be penguin parents and walk whilst trying to balance a plastic egg on his or her feet.  Zoogoers can commemorate this exciting day by greeting and taking a photo with a penguin costumed character.

Those interested in helping care for the Humboldt penguins at Brookfield Zoo can contribute to the Animal Adoption program.  For $35, the recipient will receive the program’s Basic Package, which includes a 5” x 7” color photograph of a penguin, a personalized adoption certificate, a fact sheet about the species, an Animal Adoption car decal, and an invitation to the 2019 Animal Adoption Evening.  For further information, visit www.CZS.org/AnimalAdoption.

World Penguin Day activities are free with zoo admission of $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for children (ages three-to-eleven) and senior citizens (sixty-five-and-over).  [Children two and under are admitted free of charge.]  Parking is $14.  For more information about World Penguin Day at Brookfield Zoo, visit www.CZS.org/Events or call (708) 688-8000.


38ea626e-519a-4aae-bbf7-58c33dd61541Figure 1 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: A little boy receives a hug from a penguin costumed character on World Penguin Day (Saturday, April 21, 2018).

6e5623d1-566d-4c50-88ba-262ae8473085Figure 2 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: A little girl sees a Humboldt penguin up close on World Penguin Day (Saturday, April 21, 2018).

The C.Z.S. is a private, non-profit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on property that belongs to the Forest Preserves of Cook County (formerly called the Forest Preserve District of Cook County).  The Website is www.CZS.org.  The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (A.Z.A.) accredits the Brookfield Zoo (as well as the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Shedd Aquarium).

The Brookfield Zoo is located in west suburban Brookfield, Illinois, about fourteen miles west of downtown Chicago.  The address of the North Gate Main Entrance is 8400 31st Street, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.  This is on 31st Street, west of 1st Avenue (and thus the Des Plaines River).

The address of the South Gate Main Entrance is 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.  This is west of Riverside Brookfield High School.  It is within walking distance of the Hollywood Stop on the Metra’s B.N.S.F. Railway, which runs between Chicago and Aurora.


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