“When are the Free Days at the Brookfield Zoo in November and December, 2020?”

While the Shedd Aquarium is closed, the Lincoln Park Zoo in Lincoln Park on the North Side of Chicago and Brookfield Zoo in west suburban Brookfield, Illinois remain open, as I mentioned yesterday in “Chicago Museum Closures, Part 2.”  However, one must make a free reservation in advance to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo and purchase tickets in advance to visit the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo.  [According to W.T.T.W., Chicago’s largest P.B.S. television station, next year, though, the Lincoln Park Zoo plans to be closed from the 4th of January through the 4th of March and Brookfield Zoo will be closed from the 1st of January through the 28th of February.]  Tuesdays and Thursdays in November and Mondays and Tuesdays in December through Tuesday, December 22, A.D. 2020 are free at the Brookfield Zoo thanks to xfinity, but one must still reserve tickets in advance.[1] Please keep in mind that even when admission is free, parking still costs $15.


NovemberTuesday, November 3, A.D. 2020  

Thursday, November 5, A.D. 2020  

Tuesday, November 10, A.D. 2020  

Thursday, November 12, A.D. 2020  

Tuesday, November 17, A.D. 2020  

Thursday, November 19, A.D. 2020  

Tuesday, November 24, A.D. 2020  

Thursday, November 26, A.D. 2020
DecemberTuesday, December 1, A.D. 2020  

Monday, December 7, A.D. 2020  

Tuesday, December 8, A.D. 2020  

Monday, December 14, A.D. 2020  

Tuesday, December 15, A.D. 2020  

Monday, December 21, A.D. 2020  

Tuesday, December 22, A.D. 2020

If one wants to reserve tickets for Holiday Magic, one must reserve general admission and parking on the following dates: the 27th through the 29th of November; the 2nd through the 6th of December; the 9th through the 13th of December; the 16th through the 20th of December; and the 26th through the 31st of December.  There is no overlap between the free days and Holiday Magic.


NovemberFriday, November 27, A.D. 2020  

Saturday, November 28, A.D. 2020  

Sunday, November 29, A.D. 2020
DecemberWednesday, December 2, A.D. 2020  

Thursday, December 3, A.D. 2020

Friday, December 4, A.D. 2020  

Saturday, December 5, A.D. 2020  

Sunday, December 6, A.D. 2020  

Wednesday, December 9, A.D. 2020  

Thursday, December 10, A.D. 2020  

Friday, December 11, 2020  

Saturday, December 12, A.D. 2020  

Sunday, December 13, A.D. 2020  

Wednesday, December 16, A.D. 2020  

Thursday, December 17, A.D. 2020  

Friday, December 18, A.D. 2020  

Saturday, December 19, A.D. 2020  

Sunday, December 20, A.D. 2020  

Saturday, December 26, A.D. 2020 (2nd Day of Christmas)  

Sunday, December 27, A.D. 2020 (3rd Day of Christmas)  

Monday, December 28, A.D. 2020 (4th Day of Christmas)  

Tuesday, December 29, A.D. 2020 (5th Day of Christmas)  

Wednesday, December 30, A.D. 2020 (6th Day of Christmas)  

Thursday, December 31, A.D. 2020 (7th Day of Christmas/New Year’s Eve)  

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 Preserve District of Cook County (which recently re-branded as the Forest Preserves 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,[2] the Chicago Historical Society,[3] 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 ZoologicalSocietyfrom 1921 to 1948.  Architect Edwin Clark (1878-1967), who also designed two homes for Mister and Mistress James Ward Thorne,[4] a library in a third home,[5] and the first twelve Thorne Miniature Rooms,[6] designed the original buildings for Brookfield Zooin the early 1920s and early ‘30s.[7]  The Brookfield Zoo is accredited by the Association of  Zoos & Aquariums (A.Z.A.), formerly the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums.  It also belongs to the World Associations of Zoos & Aquariums.

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.

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[1] The Chicago Zoological Society offers free admission to Brookfield Zoo for all active, reservist, and retired officers and servicemen in the United States Armed Forces.  To take advantage of this program, one must show one’s military identification card, but one must also reserve a timed ticket beforehand.  Military personal and people looking to redeem library passes should click “No” on the ticket webpage (as in they are not Members) and then click on corresponding links on the next webpage.

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

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

[4] 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

[5] Kalmbach, p. 33

[6] Kalmbach, p. 47

[7] 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 Bruce Hatton Boyer, “Creating the Thorne Rooms.” In Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. Susan F. Rossen, editor.  © The Art Institute of Chicago. New York, London, and Paris: Abbeville Press (1983), p. 19

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