News Release

November 10, 2015                                                                    
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
Note: Images of Holiday Magic activities at Brookfield Zoo may be downloaded below:
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Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic Features Festive Fun for the Whole Family
New Interactive Light Display Will Brighten Up the Sky
     Brookfield, Ill. – It’s that time of year for festive lights and cheer at Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic, presented by ComEd and Meijer. For 12 evenings, guests can enjoy Chicagoland’s largest lights festival, featuring more than one million twinkling LED lights illuminating the zoo’s walkways, the new Polar Lights, nearly 550 trees decorated by local community organizations and corporations, singing to the animals, professional ice-carving demonstrations, Zoo Chats, photos opportunities with animals, live entertainment, a 41-foot talking tree, a model railroad display, and so much more! The 34th annual Holiday Magic will take place on Saturdays and Sundays, December 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, and 26-27 plus December 28-31, from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

The holiday festivities begin with an opening ceremony at 5:00 p.m. on December 5 on the north plaza near the giant talking tree. The ceremony includes special guest Isaiah Grass, Chicago local pop singer, who will perform his song "Christmas with You."

On the zoo’s West Mall, guests can add their magic touch and color the sky with the new Polar Lights, an interactive light extravaganza with accompanying music. This first-time attraction to Holiday Magic allows zoogoers to activate and control the color and shape of 30 moving lights. Also part of Polar Lights are four pixel-mapped LED trees that are capable of generating patterns with thousands of different colors.

On the opposite side of Roosevelt Fountain, the East Mall will feature Tic-Tac-Snow, a new interactive board light display that guests can play. To add to the holiday fun, polar bears and penguins replace X’s and O’s.

The holiday celebration would not be complete without a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through December 20). They will be available for photo opportunities and to hear everyone’s wish list in the Underwater Viewing Gallery at Seven Seas.

Many of the zoo’s animal exhibits will remain open until 8:00 p.m. during Holiday Magic, including Hamill Family Wild Encounters (parakeet habitat will be closed), Tropic World, The Living Coast, Big Cats, Great Bear Wilderness, The Fragile Kingdom, The Swamp, Feathers and Scales, Birds and Reptiles, and Hamill Family Play Zoo. There will also be a 6:00 p.m. Dolphins In Action each night. Additionally, guests can join carolers to sing seasonal songs to the big cats, bears, and reindeer and can learn about their favorite animals from animal care staff at special Zoo Chats held throughout each evening.

At the Holly Jolly Theater, guests can warm up and enjoy live entertainment that will take place each night between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. There will also be magicians, a model railroad display, costumed characters, and professional ice carvers, who will create frozen works of art from giant blocks of ice. Plus, the exterior of the Swamp exhibit will be illuminated each evening with the Holiday Lights Spectacular featuring a dazzling “video-mapping” light show.

Those who work up an appetite can stop by the zoo’s restaurants and food stands that will be open during Holiday Magic for some standard menu items as well as holiday favorites, such as hot chocolate, cookies, and cappuccino. Zoo gift shops also will be open and will have plenty of gifts that are perfect for every member of the family, even the hard-to-shop-for ones.

Holiday Magic comes to a celebratory end on Thursday, December 31, when everyone is invited to ring in the New Year at Brookfield Zoo’s Zoo Year’s Eve celebration. A DJ will have the Holly Jolly Theater rockin’ and rollin’ with music, fun games, party favors, prizes, and more beginning at 6:00 p.m. and culminating with an early countdown at 8:00 p.m. Families with younger children can head to Hamill Family Play Zoo, where kids can make noisemakers and also enjoy an early kid-friendly countdown at 8:00 p.m.

For more information and a complete schedule of Holiday Magic activities and entertainment, visit or call (708) 688-8000. Guests will also receive a schedule of events when they arrive.

During Holiday Magic, guests should park in Brookfield Zoo’s main parking lot (First Avenue and 31st Street). Activities are free with paid admission (with the exception of rides and photo opportunities). Regular admission is $16.95 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are free. Car parking is $10; bus parking is $15. Groups of 20 or more may purchase discounted tickets by going to or calling (708) 688-8431.
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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires 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. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. 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
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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