“When is the 2019 Reindeer Run at Brookfield Zoo?” by S.M. O’Connor

The Chicago Zoological Society (C.Z.S.) will host the second annual Reindeer Run at Brookfield Zoo in west suburban Brookfield, Illinois on Friday, November 29, 2019. Participants can either “fun run” or walk the two-mile-long course, which is entirely within the grounds of Brookfield Zoo, and will be illuminated by 1,000,000 LED lights for Holiday Magic.  Afterwards, stay for the music, food, drinks, and Animal Ambassadors.  Revolution Brewing is the sponsor. 

Tickets are $27 ($22 for Members).  To get their discount, Members should enter their identification numbers when prompted during registration.  There is a $2.50 sign-up fee.  Click here to register.  All registrations are final.  No refunds will be made. 

The Nighttime Reindeer Run is set to start at 7:00 p.m., but one may enter the zoo any time after 5:30 p.m.  Park in the North Gate Parking Lot and enter through the North Gate.  Please note, you will not be able to park in the South Gate Parking Lot. 

Once you have parked, please enter the zoo, check-in at the North Gate, receive your commemorative hat, and go to the Pavilions.  The C.S.Z. describes the hat as a “commemorative warm knit beanie featuring the Reindeer Run logo.”  All runners or walkers must register in advance.  Space is limited.  As of this writing, there are 595 spaces left.

The event will proceed regardless of weather conditions, even if it rains or snows.  Wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Before they run or walk the course, or afterwards, participants can take a ride or two on the Carousel and meet Animal Ambassadors that will start making appearances at 6:00 p.m.  The Reindeer Run will start at 7:00 p.m. in front of the Pavilions.

Food and beverages will be available to purchase.  Each registered participants who are full adults (twenty-one-years-of-age-or-older) may receive a complimentary beer courtesy of Revolution Brewing.

Figure 1 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: Participants in the first Reindeer Run pose with Rudolph at Brookfield Zoo on November 24, 2018.

Figure 2 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: A family poses inside the twenty-foot lit orb for Holiday Magic on November 24, 2018.

Credit: Brookfield Zoo Caption: One can still sign-up for the 2nd annual Reindeer Run.


Time Event
5:30 p.m. Registrants can enter and check-in at the North Gate Entrance
5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Carousel and Pavilions open with music.  Food and drinks available for purchase.
6:00 p.m. Animal Ambassadors
7:00 p.m. Reindeer Run begins
7:30 p.m. Animal Ambassadors

The Reindeer Run is non-competitive, “fun run” event.  Participants will not be timed.  No prizes will be awarded.  The C.Z.S. welcomes runners of all ages.  Strollers are allowed, but runners or walkers with strollers will que up last.  [No, if you’re running or walking with an infant or toddler in a stroller, you do not need to register the baby.]  The animal buildings will not be open.

Spectators are welcome to cheer on participants, but will have limited access to the zoo grounds.  They will be restricted to the North Mall – the Start/Finish Lines, Pavilions, and Carousel Plaza during the Reindeer Run and will not have access to the zoo after the race.  If a family would like to see the Holiday Magic Lights, come back on the nights of November 30th and December 1st, December 7th and 8th, December 14th and 15th, and December 21st and 22nd, as well as the 26th through the 31st of December.

You can find more details at www.CZS.org/reindeerrun.  If you have a question, you can e-mail marketingteam@czs.org.

The Chicago Zoological Society is a private, non-profit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.  It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The Brookfield Zoo met the American Humane Association’s rigorous standards for the care and welfare of animals to become the world’s first zoo to receive Humane Certified™ certification.

The Brookfield Zoo is open every day of the year.  It is located between the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) and Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) and is also accessible via the TriState Tollway (I-294).  The North Gate Main Entrance address is 8400 West 31st Street, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.  The South Gate Main Entrance address is 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.  A train station, the Hollywood (Zoo Stop) on Metra’s B.N.S.F. line, is a few blocks to the south of the South Gate entrance.  The phone number is (708) 688-8000.  The Website is www.czs.org/Brookfield-ZOO/Home.

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