Ice Age Giants, an exhibit featuring over thirty life-sized animatronic facsimiles of megafauna from the Ice Age has opened at the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo in west suburban Brookfield, Illinois. The heads, eyes, mouths, and tails of these animatrons make lifelike movements. The gigantic animals these animatrons represent inhabited prehistoric North America and Eurasia and include a fifteen-foot-tall wooly mammoth, an eighteen-foot-long mastodon, a twenty-foot-long giant ground sloth, a ten-foot-long giant rodent, a twelve-foot-tall bird, an eleven-foot-long short-faced bear, a ten-foot-tall giant ape, and a five-foot-long saber-toothed cat. Fossils of at least some of these animals can be seen at The Field Museum of Natural History, so if a one’s children seem particularly interested in Ice Age Giants at the Brookfield Zoo, one should take them to see the exhibit Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet at The Field Museum and vice versa.
Ice Age Giants is a temporary exhibit like Dinos & Dragons, which featured seventeen animatronic dinosaurs and dragons, as well as a real Komodo dragon and other reptiles, in 2017; Brick Safari, which featured over forty life-sized sculptures, comprised of 1,600,000 LEGO® bricks, in 2019; and Dinos Everywhere!, which featured over forty animatronic dinosaurs, in 2020. As with those other temporary exhibits, there is no additional cost to see Ice Age Giants. It opened on Friday, April 1, A.D. 2022 and runs through Sunday, October 30, A.D. 2022.
There is a five-foot-long photo-op shelter in the form of a Glyptodon shell. Glyptodons were relatives of modern armadillos and measured approximately eleven feet long from the head to the tip of the tail.
Colorful placards convey such facts about the creatures in question as where they lived, their measurements, and how they compare to modern relatives.
Don Lessem, C.E.O. of Dino Don, Inc. created the exhibit. He has written about forty popular science books for children. Mr. Lessem has participated in digs and the reconstruction of fossilized skeletons, including the 110-foot-long Argentinosaurus and forty-five-foot-long Gigantosaurus. The Lessemsaurus is named after him.
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Lessem was a scientific advisor for Steven Spielberg for making Jurassic Park (1993) and for Disney as well as Universal theme parks. He also created the traveling exhibit Jurassic Park: Fact or Fiction. In addition, he created the traveling exhibit The Real Genghis Khan, which has been seen by approximately 2,000,000 people. The sponsor of Ice Age Giants at Brookfield Zoo is Duly Health and Care (stylized “duly”), the organization that formerly had the more sensible name DuPage Medical Group.
The exhibit is sure to be popular with the young fans of the Ice Age animated films. Blue Sky Studios made and 20th century Fox released Ice Age (2002), Ice Age: The Melt Down (2006), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), and Ice Age: Collision Course (2016). The Walt Disney Company shut down Blue Sky Studios in 2021 after it purchased 21st Century Fox from the Murdoch family in 2019. Before it shut down, Blue Sky made Ice Age: Scrat Tales (2022), a series of shorts, that Disney posted on the Disney+ streaming platform. Walt Disney Pictures produced the film The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild (2022) without the involvement of Blue Sky and posted it on Disney+.
Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $24.95 for adults, $17.95 for children (ages three-to-eleven), and $19.95 for senior citizens (sixty-five-and-over). Parking is $15.
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 open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with extended hours of 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The Brookfield Zoo is located between the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to the south and Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) to the north 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 Website is www.czs.org/Brookfield-ZOO/Home.
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