News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
February 19, 2024

Note: Scroll to end of press release to download photos.

Embark on Incredible Adventures at Brookfield Zoo this Spring
Exciting New Attractions, Animal Experiences, and Events Await Guests

Brookfield, Ill. – Get ready for an extraordinary season of excitement as Brookfield Zoo unveils a lineup of new and returning experiences for guests of all ages beginning March 15. From an Anniversary Ferris Wheel in celebration of the Zoo’s 90th year, Easter activities, and up-close animal experiences to new feathered friends and the return of Dolphins in Action presentations, there’s something for everyone at the 235-acre park this spring.
New! Anniversary Ferris Wheel
For this year only and in honor of the Zoo’s 90th anniversary, a towering 130-foot Ferris wheel will give guests a unique bird’s-eye view of the park’s gardens, animal habitats, and Chicago skyline. Opening March 15 and continuing through Dec. 31, the massive Anniversary Ferris Wheel will feature 24 gondolas that seat up to six people each, as well as multicolored LED lighting that will illuminate brightly during evening hours and events. The attraction will be located just east of the newly landscaped Roosevelt Fountain. Tickets are $8 per person, $6 for Zoo members, and free to Unlimited-level members and those with redeemable attraction vouchers.
New! Bunny Hop: A Springtime Eggstravaganza
New to the Zoo this year is an opportunity for families to participate in fun and egg-citing Easter activities at the Bunny Hop event on Saturday, March 23. Free with Zoo admission, guests of all ages can take part in an all-day scavenger egg hunt throughout the park. Locate all six larger-than-life eggs and receive a prize at one of the Zoo’s gift shops. At the Hamill Family Nature Plaza, a DJ will be spinning tunes at the Bunny Hop dance party from noon to 3 p.m. Also, guests can take a photo with the Bunny at the Swan Pavilion between 1 and 4 p.m. Educational animal experiences and nature activities will also be offered throughout the day. For more information on Bunny Hop, visit
Brunch with the Bunny
On Saturdays, March 23 and 30, and Sunday, March 31, families can hop on over to Brookfield Zoo’s Discovery Center for Brunch with the Bunny. In addition to a delectable all-you-can-eat brunch buffet, there will be activities and entertainment for kids. Each table will have art supplies, including stickers, crayons, and stamps, allowing for an interactive dining experience that will keep the younger diners engaged and enchanted. An interactive DJ and costumed characters add to the festivities. Seatings are limited and offered at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., or 12:30 p.m. The cost is $75 for adults and $35 for children 3-11; Zoo members pay $65 and $25. Children under 3 are free. Reservations are required. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit or call (708) 688-8355.
New! Welcome, Koalas and Prairie Birds
For the first time in Brookfield Zoo’s history, koalas will take up residence. Beginning this summer, the Hamill Family Play Zoo will become home to two male koalas, Brumby and Willum. Guests will have an incredible opportunity to get eye to eye with this Australian vulnerable species and to learn more about their unique biology while also be inspired to develop a respect and appreciation for them and wildlife around the world. Free with Zoo admission, the habitat will feature both indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing guests to observe these charismatic marsupials whose diet consists mainly of eucalyptus leaves. The koalas are at the Zoo through a loan partnership with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and San Diego Zoo’s Koala Education and Conservation Project. Brookfield Zoo will be the only accredited zoological organization in the state where the public will have the opportunity to see these animals. Opening date to be announced soon.
Opening this June, a new North American Prairie Aviary will be home to a pair of sandhill cranes and nearly a dozen greater prairie chickens (a large bird in the grouse family). Nestled within a 3,000-square-foot habitat on the north side of Hamill Family Nature Center, the habitat’s natural landscape will feature a pool to entice the 4-foot-tall regal-looking cranes to demonstrate their beak-probing behavior and the lush vegetation will serve as a haven for foraging and nesting for the prairie chickens. Both species face challenges in the wild, with populations of the greater prairie chicken decreasing and the Mississippi subspecies of sandhill crane facing extinction. The aviary and its inhabitants will bring awareness on the conservation challenges facing native bird species and convey ways Brookfield Zoo is working with partners and local agencies to help protect them. The aviary is also free with Zoo admission.
New! Wild Connections: Get Up Close and Personal
The Zoo is expanding its Wild Connections experiences that allow participants the opportunity to get up close to, and in some instances feed and touch, an animal while also learning about the species. In addition to the Penguin Encounter and Penguin Feeding Adventure programs, new ones include:
- Shark Feeding Adventure available on select days from April 6-Nov. 9
- Animal Ambassador Adventure, available on select days from May 3-Dec. 15
- Flamingo Feeding Adventure available on select days from May 27- Sept. 2
- Macaw Playtime Adventure available on select days from May 27-Sept. 2
- Otter Adventure (sold out)
- Rainforest Aviary Feeding Adventure available on select days from May 27-Sept.
 To learn more about the Zoo’s Wild Connection programs, including prices, or to register, visit
Returning! Dolphins in Action: Witness the Wonder of this Incredible Species
The Zoo’s seven bottlenose dolphins are back home, and so is the Dolphins in Action presentation ($3-$6). Starting March 22, guests can see the dolphins display their amazing strength and intelligence in the newly renovated Seven Seas. During presentations, guests will discover why these marine mammals are so captivating and learn about the Zoo’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the longest-running study of dolphins in the wild that has benefited marine mammal conservation around the globe. And beginning March 25, zoogoers will also be able to see the animals and the additions made to their habitat from the Underwater Viewing Gallery, which also received a refresh. To learn more about the dolphins and their return to Brookfield Zoo, visit
Hamill Family Play Zoo and Hamill Family Wild Encounters now Free
The Zoo’s popular Hamill Family Play Zoo and Hamill Family Wild Encounters are now free year-round with general admission. Geared toward families with younger children, the Play Zoo features a variety of opportunities for kids to explore, play, and have fun learning and connecting with animals and nature. At Wild Encounters, guests of all ages can experience extraordinary moments in the walk-in wallaby yard,  the parakeet aviary featuring hundreds of free-flying colorful birds, and grooming and even feeding Nigerian dwarf goats. Additionally, during the summer, zoogoers can gather on the plaza to meet some of the Zoo’s animal ambassadors during special zoo chats.
Become a Member Today: Experience More, Save More
Becoming a member of Brookfield Zoo not only grants special access to a world of wonder and discovery, but also directly supports vital learning programs, essential animal care, and crucial conservation initiatives, ensuring a brighter future for wildlife and the planet. Additionally, members enjoy the perks of exclusive discounts at various in-park attractions, restaurants, gift shops, and special events like Zoo Run, ZooBrew, and summer concerts. Plus, with free admission and parking for members, visits to the Zoo become even more rewarding. To learn more about membership levels or to become a member, visit

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Photos Captions
(Ferris wheel photos, credit: The German Group)
(All other photos, credit Brookfield Zoo)

Anniversary Ferris Wheel-1, -2, and -3: Beginning March 15 and continuing through December 31, 2024, Brookfield Zoo guests can ride the 130-foot-tall Anniversary Ferris Wheel in celebration of the Zoo’s 90th year. (credit: The German Group)
Bunny Hop Logo: Brookfield Zoo’s new Bunny Hop features a variety of Easter-themed activities for the whole family.
0542: A tamandua (or small anteater) is one of the animals that participants can meet up close and even feed if they register for the Wild Connections Animal Ambassador Adventure program.
2856: During Brookfield Zoo’s Flamingo Feeding Adventure, participants can help feed the pink charismatic birds.
3485: Dolphins in Action presentations resume at Brookfield Zoo on March 22.
5071: Bird lovers can register for the Macaw Playtime Adventure program to meet some of Brookfield Zoo’s parrots up close.
5466 and 5478: Brookfield Zoo’s new North American Prairie Aviary, which opens in June, will feature two sandhill cranes.
9268: In Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Adventure program, participants can choose to meet T-Mo, a Linnaeus's two-toed sloth.

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