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Brookfield Zoo Celebrates Corky the Turtle’s 65th Birthday
Dime Store Turtle Makes Home at Zoo for Past 30 Years

On Saturday, July 10, come out of your shell and head to Brookfield Zoo to join in a birthday celebration for Corky, a 65-year-old American red-bellied turtle. The celebration kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on the zoo’s South Mall with a turtle-size parade followed by a variety of free turtle-themed crafts, games, and activities.

Youngsters may not be able to get down as low as Corky, but they can see how low they can go in a limbo contest. In addition, children can bury pretend turtle eggs in a sand-digging activity. Zoogoers can also see various turtle shells on display as staff members demonstrate the difference in shell development and how this helps turtles live in various environments.


On the South Mall at 11:00 a.m., Corky will take center stage as partygoers join together in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Afterwards, guests can cheer on their favorite hard-shelled reptile in the “Best in Shell” Show, featuring Corky, the birthday terrapin; Jim, a midland painted turtle; Tushe, an eastern box turtle; and Shutter and Delilah, two box turtles.

The fun continues at Hamill Family Play Zoo (separate admission applies), where guests can participate in additional turtle-themed crafts and activities. Inside the Play Zoo’s workshop (and while supplies last), kids can create crafts such as turtle shell costumes from brown bags or paint a watercolor turtle picture that they can take home. In addition, guests will have the opportunity to send birthday wishes and greetings to Corky by signing an enormous birthday card.


At 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Zoo Chats will provide guests with the opportunity to learn about and meet the turtles, as well as watch feeding demonstrations. Corky, who was purchased from a dime store in 1945, was donated to Brookfield Zoo 30 years ago. She currently resides at Hamill Family Play Zoo, where she spends a lot of time outdoors in the summer soaking up the sun’s rays. A lot has changed since the year Corky was born. In 1945, minimum wage was 40 cents an hour, a new car cost around $1,000, a gallon of milk was 62 cents, and a first-class stamp cost 3 cents.

The celebration and activities on the South Mall are free with regular zoo admission of $13.50 for adults and $9.50 for children 11 and under and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are free. Admission for activities taking place at Hamill Family Play Zoo is $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for children three to 11 and seniors 65 and over. Parking is $9.00.