Our Charge Forward:
A Five-Year Strategic Plan


More than 100 years ago, Edith Rockefeller McCormick donated 83 acres to the Forest Preserves of Cook County with the vision of building a large zoological park with modern construction and open enclosures. The Forest Preserves donated the remaining land, and in 1921, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) was chartered. The two organizations entered into an agreement to develop, operate, and maintain a world-class zoo, and in 1934, Brookfield Zoo officially opened its gates. Its diverse collection of wildlife living in cutting-edge, naturalistic exhibits made it an enviable example of a modern zoo. 

Today, as we approach Brookfield Zoo Chicago's centennial celebration, we're pushing what that means ever further.

Since our founding, the percentage of our population living in highly urbanized areas has doubled, and Americans are increasingly feeling disconnected from the natural world. While we have expanded our reach-from 60,000 to nearly 3 million people-its not enough to simply be Chicagoland's most highly attended outdoor cultural attraction. 

Brookfield Zoo Chicago is dedicated to setting higher standards as an international leader in conservation and the care and welfare of animals, strengthening our relevance in the Chicago-area community, and empowering residents to drive positive change. 

We have laid our foundation, and we are ready to charge forward.


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