News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
January 9, 2024

Note: Scroll to end of press release to download photos.
Animals at Brookfield Zoo Receive Christmas Trees for Enrichment
Brookfield, Ill. – Now that the holiday season is over, the care staff at Brookfield Zoo are repurposing dozens of the Christmas trees that were decorated by more than 900 community organizations, families, and corporations that lined the Zoo’s pathways for its annual Holiday Magic. Today, many of the animals received the trees for enrichment.

The reindeer and bison rubbed their antlers and horns, respectively, in the greenery. Brutus, one of the Zoo’s African lions, and Whirl, an Amur tiger, retrieved bones from their trees that were hung upside down in their habitats. And, Hudson, one of the polar bears, and Jess and Tim, 1-year-old brown bear siblings who recently arrived at the Zoo, had their trees decorated with a variety of vegetables.

The hundreds of trees that are not used for animal enrichment will get chipped and used for landscaping around the park.

Winter is a great time to venture out to Brookfield Zoo and see the animals that enjoy the cooler temperatures and the snow. Guests who visit in January and February on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays receive free general admission (parking fees still apply).
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Photo Captions (credit: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)
5933: One of Brookfield Zoo’s reindeer rubs her antlers on a Christmas tree for enrichment.

6036: Whirl, an Amur tiger at Brookfield Zoo, jumps up to reach for a bone in a Christmas tree that was hung in her habitat for enrichment.

6088: Brutus, one of Brookfield Zoo’s Africa lions, rubs against a Christmas tree that was hung in his habitat for enrichment.

6166: Brutus, an African lion at Brookfield Zoo, eyes a bone placed in a Christmas tree for enrichment.

6419: Hudson, a polar bear at Brookfield Zoo, looking for food items hidden in a Christmas tree.

6497 and 6510: Tim, a 1-year-old brown bear at Brookfield Zoo, eyeing some treats placed on a Christmas tree for enrichment.

6522: Jess, one of Brookfield Zoo’s brown bears, eyeing the treats hung from a Christmas tree for enrichment.

About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The Zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit