About Brookfield Zoo
Located just 5 minutes from the hotel the 216 acre Brookfield Zoo features Italian provincial buildings and formal malls. It has more than 2,500 specimens comprising some 425 different species. Special attractions include the dolphin shows in the Seven Seas exhibit (Brookfield was the first inland zoo to build a dolphinarium), a children’s zoo, and Tropic World, a vast enclosed exhibit of mixed species from the three main rainforest habitats of the world (African, Asian, and South American)
Directions to Brookfield Zoo from BEST WESTERN PLUS Chicago Hillside
Take the frontage road east to the entrance ramp onto I 290 (towards Chicago) to first Ave South exit.
Turn right (south) and go until you see Ogden Ave and your there!
About Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo Tips
Whether it is your first visit to the zoo or your weekly visit to see your favorite animal, these tips will make your day more fun at Brookfield Zoo!
- The zoo is open every day of the year. Plan to visit often, and really explore one part of the zoo on each visit. The self-tour suggestions can help.
- In the summer, Zoo Chats are your best bet! Pet a boa constrictor, watch aardvarks dig in a play yard, get nose to beak with an eagle, and tons more when you catch a Zoo Chat. Beginning Memorial Day, our zookeepers and crew will be out and about talking with guests—and sometimes they will even bring creatures along! And you can check it all out for FREE. There is no charge to join in a Zoo Chat, so check the schedule to plan your day.
- The animals are most active, and the crowds are smaller, early in the morning and later in the afternoon.
- Save on your zoo visit and become a member of the Brookfield Zoo. Or, join the zoo’s Parents Program and help share the care of the animals.
- Looking for some solitude? Fall and winter are less crowded than summer and spring, and the animals tend to be more curious about visitors when it is quiet and there are fewer people inside the buildings.
- School field trips are popular in April and May. If you’re coming with a school group, plan your school’s trip earlier in the year to avoid crowds.
- Check out the tips for taking photographs of animals, exhibits, and grounds.
- The zoo is a great place to get exercise. Take your daily or weekly walk around the zoo’s 216 acres rather than around the block or the track at your gym.
- Remember that all of the zoo’s animals are wild. Please don not feed any of the animals, or chase any of the naturally roaming animals such as peacocks, geese, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, and other creatures you’ll see at the zoo.
- Keep an eye out for roving naturalists and docents, who are dressed in safari gear or bright yellow shirts. They often have “touch stations” and other things to look at and are always happy to share interesting information about the animals. Consider becoming a volunteer and share your own interest with others!
- Watch for local animals, especially at Salt Creek Wilderness. See if you can spot any animals that live in your neighborhood or local forest preserve.
- Look out overhead! Watch for migrating birds in the fall and spring. Large flocks of cranes and other bird species fly over the Chicago area each season.
- See if you can identify some of the different behaviors the animals do–like grooming, courting, and scent-marking.
- Look at different animals and think about how they are adapted to their environments. Interpretive signs in many of the exhibits will help you learn what to look for.
- Bring binoculars so you can see animals REALLY close up.
- Take some time to smell the flowers! Plants and flowers abound indoors and outside. Many of the trees and plants are labeled and some would make appropriate additions to a local garden.
- Please recycle your soda cans, plastic silverware, maps, and other items. Recycling containers are available at the North and South Gates and at other locations throughout the zoo.
- For the safety of animals and guests, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, and skates are not allowed inside the zoo.
- Check at the entrances when you arrive for announcements about new zoo babies and other special events.
- If you visit with young children, pick a storybook or movie (like The Lion King or Winnie the Pooh) and see if you can visit all of the animals featured in the story.