Hope, a five-year-old polar bear arrived at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois on Friday, January 29, A.D. 2021, so she will be new to zoo visitors after the zoo re-opened on Monday, as I mentioned earlier today in a story about the Brookfield Zoo re-opening. The Brookfield Zoo announced on Wednesday, February 24, A.D. 2021 that Hope, the female polar bear, would eventually be introduced to Hudson, the fourteen-year-old male polar bear. [Introducing a female polar bear that zookeepers consider a potential mate for a male is a complicated affair that must be conducted in stages for her safety.] They should fully come into contact in mid-March.
Utah’s Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah transferred Hope to the Brookfield Zoo upon the recommendation of the Polar Bear Species Survival Plan (S.S.P.) administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (A.Z.A.). This and other S.S.P.s are breeding programs under which accredited zoos and aquariums in North America make a cooperative effort for the management and conservation of an animal species.
Nan, the female polar bear visitors may recall seeing at the Brookfield Zoo as recently as last year transferred to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota, upon the recommendation of the Polar Bear S.S.P. The “What You’ll Be Able to see at Brookfield Zoo” Webpage on the Website of the Chicago Zoological Society (C.Z.S.)/Brookfield Zoo has not been updated to reflect that Hope has replaced Nan, as of 8:39 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3, A.D. 2021, because that document is dated Wednesday, July 1, A.D. 2020 and reflects what visitors could expect to see the first time the Brookfield Zoo re-opened after the first COVID-19 closure.
In a press release, the C.Z.S. stated, “Polar bears are currently listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature…The main threat of the species’ decline is due to reduced access to their main source of food—seal—due to climate change melting the sea ice and other environmental factors. According to researchers, there are approximately 23,000-26,000 polar bears living worldwide today, including in and around Canada, Russian [sic], and east Greenland.”
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 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.
Through Saturday, March 13, A.D. 2021, the Brookfield Zoo will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Starting on Sunday, March 14, A.D. 2021, the Brookfield Zoo will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays (the Monday-through-Friday workweek) and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends.
Admission tickets are $24.95 per adult or $17.95 for children (ages three-to-eleven) or $19.95 for senior citizens (ages sixty-five-and-over). Tickets must be purchased online in advance. They come in twenty-minute increments to enable social distancing on the 216-acre grounds. Tickets are not available for sale on-site. Tickets are non-refundable. No rainchecks will be made.
Parking is $15. All non-member guests who arrive via car, truck, van, or recreational vehicle are required to pay for parking on the Website and will need to indicate location – either the Main Gate or South Gate parking lots during the checkout process. One can review a map of the grounds and parking lots here. All Members receive free parking in the North Lot. Members only need to pay for parking if they choose to park in the South Lot and are not eligible for free parking in the South Lot. For more information about COVID-19 protocols, click here.
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 https://www.CZS.org/Info for General Information and www.CZS.org/KnowBeforeYouGo for status updates.
 Tickets are free for active-duty, reservist, and retired members of the United States Armed Services. These free tickets do not cover relatives. Nor do they cover parking. To enjoy this benefit, reserve a free ticket in advance online, purchase tickets for other members of your party, purchase a parking pass, and be prepared to show your ID card.
 Obviously, guests who arrive on foot or via public transportation are not required to pay for parking.
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