The temporary exhibit Dinosaurs Everywhere!, which features life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, has opened at Brookfield Zoo in west suburban Brookfield, Illinois and will run through Sunday, November 1, A.D. 2020 (All Saints Day). After being closed to the public for three-and-a-half months, the Chicago Zoological Society (C.Z.S.) re-opened the Brookfield Zooto Members on Wednesday, July 1, A.D. 2020 and to the general public on Wednesday, July 8, A.D. 2020. Zoo Admission tickets cover Dinosaurs Everywhere! Developed by Jurassic Park advisor Don Lessum, Dinosaurs Everywhere! (or Dinos Everywhere) is on loan from Dino Don, Inc. and The Wildlife Conservation Society. Three years ago, the Brookfield Zoo hosted the temporary exhibit Dinos & Dragons. As I mentioned in “What is a Mold-A-Rama?” the Brookfield Zoo permanently has on display a life-sized sculpture of a Trachodon Louis Paul Jones Studios produced for Sinclair Oil Corporation’s Sinclair Dinoland exhibit at New York City’s second World’s Fair, EXPO New York (1964-65).
Dinos Everywhere features over forty animatronic dinosaurs. This includes an Argentinosaurus that measures over 110 feet long and three stories high that is standing on the Brookfield Zoo’s West Mall. [Fans of this animatronic Argentinosaurus should enjoy Maximo at The Field Museum of Natural History and vice versa.] This is an interactive exhibit. Visitors can snap photographs of themselves (“selfies”) in front of animatronic behemoths, including a Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, pteranondon, or pentaceratops; download the BZ Rewards app; and upload selfies to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to be entered to win prizes. They can answer dinosaur-related trivia questions for an opportunity to win a prize. Click here to submit answers on the Sweepstakes Webpage. Prizes include giant plush dinosuars.
“Brookfield Zoo has been closed for nearly four months and we are eagerly looking forward to welcoming guests back to reconnect with animals and nature,” stated Stuart Strahl, President and Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of the C.Z.S. “We have been following guidelines set forth by local, state, and federal government and health agencies to ensure the well-being of our zoo guests, staff, volunteers, and the animals.”
All visitors to the Brookfield Zoo, including Members, must purchase timed-entry tickets in advance. No tickets are being sold on-site. Zoo Admission tickets are being sold in twenty-minute increments. For example, the first Zoo Admission for the day is 9:30 a.m. and the second is 9:50 a.m. There is a limit on the number of people who may purchase Zoo Admission tickets within a time frame such as 9:30. By limiting the visitor capacity for the 216-acre zoological park, the C.Z.S. can ensure there are not so many people on the zoo grounds at any given time that they are unable to practice social distancing. There are paw-shaped signs painted on the pavement to remind visitors to practice social distancing of six feet.
One needs to reserve parking online prior to one’s visit. Indicate whether one plans to park at the Main Gate (North Gate) parking lot or the South Gate parking lot. All tickets are non-refundable. No rainchecks will be made.
Staff members and volunteers have their temperatures checked before they begin work shifts. They have received safety and sanitation training, and they are wearing face coverings, regularly wash their hands, and practice social distancing of six feet. Further, employees are spraying down washrooms, benches, and other high-contact surfaces with hospital-grade disinfectants on a set schedule.
All guests ages two-and-over must wear face coverings when entering the zoo grounds and whenever they are unable to practice social distancing from other guests and staff or volunteers. This includes when a party of guests is making a food or merchandise purchase. Hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the zoo grounds.
Actual paper maps of the zoo ground are not being distributed at the Main Gate and South Gate. Instead, parents (and other adults) may download the map from the Chicago Zoological Society’s Website or take a high-resolution picture of the maps posted at the entrances and refer back to the pictures as they explore the zoo grounds.
In addition to being able to see Dinosaurs Everywhere!, one can see animals in their outdoor habitats, including the newly arrived African lion brothers Brutus and Titus. Seasonal food carts, food stands, and souvenir stands will be in operation. To limit person-to-person contact, visitors must use credit or debit cards to purchase food, beverages, and merchandise. In a press release, the C.Z.S. flatly stated, “Brookfield Zoo is a cashless park.”
However, be prepared for indoor spaces and attractions to be closed. The exhibits Seven Seas (home to the “Dolphins in Action” show), Tropic World, and Butterflies, are closed. The same is true of the Hamill Family Play Zoo. The Carousel and the playground are closed. These restaurants are closed: BZ Red Hots, Café del Sol, Cup & Cone, Peacock Café & Grill, and Wild Burger. The Motor Safari is not running.
Brookfield Zoo Admission Ticket Prices
|Senior Citizens (65+)||$19.95|
The C.Z.S.is a private, non-profit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Founded in 1920 and chartered in 1921, the C.Z.S. brought to life the vision of Edith Rockefeller McCormick (1872-1932) to give Chicago a zoo without bars modeled on the Tierpark Hagenbeck, known in English as the Hagenbeck Animal Park, a privately-owned zoo in Hamburg founded in 1907 by Carl Hagenback, Jr. (1844-1913). The Brookfield Zoo opened in 1934, during the second year of Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34).
The C.Z.S. is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (A.Z.A.). 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.
Under normal circumstances, the Brookfield Zoo is open every day of the year. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Brookfield Zoo 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. Check www.CZS.org/KnowBeforeYouGo for status updates.
 Active-duty military service personnel, reservists, veterans, and retired military personnel receive free admission, but this does not extend to their families, and one must still pay for parking. On the Website, follow directions for a complimentary admission pass with a barcode. Be prepared to show one’s military identification card at the admission booth.
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