News Release

May 19, 2015

Summer Nights Fact Sheet
Photos: Summer Nights-1.jpg, Summer Nights-2.jpg, Summer Nights-3.jpg

Chill Out with Live Entertainment, Food, and Family Fun at Brookfield Zoo’s Summer Nights

Zoo Will Stay Open Late on Fridays and Saturdays from June 5 through August 8

Brookfield, Ill. — Brookfield Zoo’s summertime event, Summer Nights, sponsored by Meijer and the Illinois Farm Bureau, is back and it’s bigger and better than ever! The evening celebration will feature cool jams and fun activities for the whole family until 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from June 5 through August 8.

Guests can bring their lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy a wide range of live music and entertainment. They can also choose from a variety of food and refreshment options, all surrounded by their favorite animals and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Chicagoland. Summer Nights will feature kid-friendly activities, and each evening will be topped off with a new spectacular laser light and video show.

The zoo’s East Mall main stage will heat up with a solo guitarist each night starting at 4:00 p.m., followed by live entertainment from popular locally and nationally known bands who will feature a variety of genres, from rock and pop to country, jazz, and folk. Bands that will begin performing at 7:00 p.m. include:

  • Friday, June 5: Hello Weekend - A new Chicago cover band that will have you singing along and wanting more.
  • Saturday, June 6: Cuba Meets Puerto Rico - Salsa-singing and dancing duo that collectively have won three Grammys and received over 10 Grammy nominations.
  • Friday, June 12: Trippin’ Billies - Dave Matthews cover band named a top-five tribute.
  • Saturday, June 13: Rebirth Brass Band - Grammy-winning brass band that extends into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound.
  • Friday, June 19: Rod Tuffcurls - Chicago-based cover band with songs ranging from The Beatles to Madonna and Queen to Miley Cyrus.
  • Saturday, June 20: Stache! - Puts a unique twist to everything from today’s pop hits to the ‘80s rock anthems you’ve loved for years.  
  • Friday, June 26: Arra - One of the best and largest classic rock cover bands in Chicagoland.
  • Saturday, June 27: U2 Zoo - Electrical U2 tribute experience.
  • Friday, July 3: Encore Concert Band - Community-based performance ensemble, comprised of over 60 musicians from the south and west suburbs performing a wide variety of music from the classics and Broadway hits.
  • Saturday, July 4: Cowboy Jukebox - Five country-at-heart musicians churn out country music hits from artists like Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Garth Brooks, and Dolly Parton.
  • Friday, July 10: MER (Opener) - Passion, discipline, raw energy, and focused talent are what you'll encompass when you experience the music of this amazing songwriter and stage performer.
  • Friday, July 10: Sonny Landreth (Headliner) - American blues musician from southwest Louisiana entertains with his distinctive guitar playing and truly authentic technique.
  • Saturday, July 11: American English - Award-winning Beatles tribute band is the closest you will ever get to reliving The Beatles.
  • Friday, July 17: Heartache Tonight - A tribute to The Eagles!
  • Saturday, July 18: Afinca’o - Emerging group most noted for their salsa, Latin jazz, merengue, and cha cha performances.
  • Friday, July 24: Jack Daley (Opener) - Representing half of the duo Stellar Road, Jack Daley creates a raw, eye-opening, musically romantic and true experience for his listeners, with lyric and song at the forefront of his musical being.
  • Friday, July 24: Cracker (Headliner) - American alternative rock band, best known for its gold-selling 1993 album Kerosene Hat, mixes elements from rock, punk, post-grunge, psychedelia, country, blues, and folk music. 
  • Saturday, July 25: Suburban Cowboys - Ultimate country cover band performs top 40 country hits, as well as classic country jams.
  • Friday, July 31: The Boat Drunks - Combines your favorite Jimmy Buffett hits with original music from their four studio albums, as well as other covers from artists like The Beatles, The Eagles, and REO Speedwagon.
  • Saturday, August 1: Mr. Blotto - Chicago-based musical project takes the jam band aesthetic into areas unfamiliar to the standard jam scene, playing an extensive combination of covers and original material.
  • Friday, August 7: Sixteen Candles - Bring all the great ‘80s songs you love to life in full force.
  • Saturday, August 8: Jennifer Fletcher (Opener) - Singer/songwriter who blends the influences of Americana, country, and folk music.
  • Saturday, August 8: Johnnyswim (Headliner) - Los Angeles-based duo blends their similar influences of folk, soul, and rock together lusciously. The Tennessean describes Johnnyswim as "a mix of Lauryn Hill and John Mayer."

Each evening of Summer Nights will feature themed roaming performers from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., including Mardi Gras, renaissance, and pirates. Fun kids’ entertainment on the East Mall kids’ stage, sponsored by JULIE, Inc., starts at 6:00 p.m. and will feature music, magic, juggling displays, acrobatics, and creative storytelling.

Zoogoers can stroll through the zoo’s 216 acres of beautiful landscapes and see the zoo and animals in a whole new light. Many of the indoor and outdoor animal habitats will remain open, and there will be opportunities for up-close experiences with some of the zoo’s animal ambassadors every hour on the hour between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the East Mall. Additionally, there will be a 6:00 p.m. Dolphins in Action and a 7:00 p.m. Festival of Flight bird show each evening. Each night’s finale will feature an all-new electrifying laser and light show, beginning at 9:00 p.m. In addition to the outdoor exhibits and the Carousel, which will remain open late, some animal areas will stay open, including Butterflies!

At Summer Nights, an array of dining options and beer and wine gardens will offer guests a unique selection of scrumptious food and beverage items. Restaurants that will be open late include Bayside Beer Garden, North and South Snacks, Scoops, BZ Red Hots, All American Popcorn, and Oaks Café (opens July 1).

Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $16.95 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are free. After 4:00 p.m., there is a $2 discount off admission for Summer Nights. Parking for members is free at the North Gate or $2.00 at the South Gate. Parking for nonmembers is half-price ($5.00) after 4:00 p.m. The Summer Nights discounted price also includes a choice of one of the following in-park attractions:

  • Butterflies! (closes at 8:30 p.m.)
  • Dolphins in Action at 6:00 p.m.
  • The Carousel (closes at 8:30 p.m.)
  • Hamill Family Play Zoo (closes at 8:30 p.m.)
  • Hamill Family Wild Encounters (closes at 8:30 p.m. beginning July 1)
  • Motor Safari (closes at 5:30 p.m.)

For further information about Summer Nights, visit or call (708) 688-8000.

Summer Nights is just one of the new attractions that are part of Brookfield Zoo’s 2015 Summer of Connections, which also includes the Festival of Flight bird show and the opening of Hamill Family Wild Encounters on July 1. The bird show, which is free with regular zoo admission, is offered three times a day (weather permitting) from May 23 through September 7. Festival of Flight features nearly 20 bird species that will soar, swoop, dive, and demonstrate other natural behaviors. Hamill Family Wild Encounters is a permanent exhibit that will give guests of all ages unforgettable opportunities to touch and feed animals, including wallabies, parakeets, and goats, as well as get up-close views of reindeer, llamas, alpacas, and red pandas, along with many of the zoo’s animal ambassadors, including servals, tamanduas, and two-toed sloths.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The Chicago Zoological Society inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The 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 Brookfield Zoo's innovative, naturalistic, multispecies exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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