News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

November 18, 2019


Brookfield Zoo Lights up for the 38th Year of Holiday Magic

Brookfield, Ill. – This festive season, continue a tradition or start a new one with family and friends at Brookfield Zoo’s 38th annual Holiday Magic, presented by ComEd and Meijer. The longest-running lights festival in the Chicagoland area features more than one million LED lights that will illuminate the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays, November 30 and December 1, 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22, as well as December 26-31. The zoo is open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during Holiday Magic. Guests can come early to enjoy the entire zoo and stay late for the festivities beginning at 4:00 p.m.

New this year, zoogoers can stroll through a spectacular 600-foot-long tunnel featuring thousands of colorful LED lights synchronized to music and an amazing light display of hexagon-shaped trees, mirror balls, and “dancing” holiday trees on the West Mall. There will also be the ever-popular 41-foot-tall Talking Tree and a giant 20-foot-lit orb, where guests can stand inside to take memorable photos. Larger-than-life LED animal sculptures of a bison, bear, giraffe, and reindeer adorn the north, south, and east malls, and a holiday light show will be displayed on the facade of The Swamp building. Searchlights will brighten the sky around Roosevelt Fountain that is surrounded by 60 decorated themed corporate trees. Finally, nearly 600 trees adorned with ornaments by Chicagoland communities line the walkways along the zoo’s malls adding to the holiday ambience.

Many other magical activities taking place throughout the festive evenings include professional ice carving demonstrations, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through December 22), live musical and dance performances in the Holly Jolly Theater, and magic shows. Additionally, in the Riverside Room, guests can view “Santa’s Toy Shop” model railroad display and decorate cupcakes (extra fee applies) at BZ Red Hots restaurant.

On the East Mall, guests can rent or bring their own skates and take a spin on the Chicago Wolves Skating Rink. Making a special appearance at the rink on December 1 between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. will be Skates, the Chicago Wolves mascot. And, in Hamill Family Play Zoo on December 7, youngsters have the opportunity to meet and take photos with Nature Cat, the costumed character from the popular WTTW Kids’ animated series.

Animal areas open during Holiday Magic include Australia House, Big Cats, Desert's Edge, Feathers and Scales, Great Bear Wilderness, Hamill Family Play Zoo, Hamill Family Wild Encounters (parakeet aviary closed), Pachyderm Building, Regenstein Wolf Woods, Reptiles and Birds, Seven Seas Underwater Viewing Gallery, Clouded Leopard Rain Forest, The Living Coast, The Swamp, and Tropic World. Several animal Zoo Chats take place throughout each evening, and a Dolphins in Action presentation can be seen every night at 6:00 p.m. In addition, restaurants will be open as well as gift shops offering an array of unique items.

On the final evening of Holiday Magic, December 31, families can ring in 2020 at the Zoo Year’s Eve celebration featuring an early countdown at 8:00 p.m. A DJ sets the party tone with fun games, party favors, and prizes in the Holly Jolly Theater. An earlier countdown at 7:30 p.m. will take place inside Hamill Family Play Zoo, where youngsters can make festive noisemakers. This kid-friendly countdown is perfect for families with children ages 6 and under.

Visitors should park in Brookfield Zoo’s main parking lot located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield. Regular admission is $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are free. Activities are free with paid admission (with the exception of in-park paid attractions, photo opportunities, and cupcake decorating). Car parking is $14; bus parking is $20. Discounted tickets may be purchased at any of the Chicagoland Meijer locations in Illinois. Groups of 20 or more may purchase discounted tickets by going to or calling (708) 688-8431. For more information and a complete schedule of Holiday Magic activities and entertainment, visit or call (708) 688-8000.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities 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. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit

Photo Captions—credit Chicago Zoological Society

7103: A life-size giraffe statue greets guests near Brookfield Zoo’s south entrance during its annual Holiday Magic festival.

7116: More than one million LED lights illuminate Brookfield Zoo for its 38th annual Holiday Magic festival.

7378: During Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic, youngsters pose for a photo atop one of the icon lion statues at the zoo’s south gate.

7383: A life-size bison statue greets guests at the south entrance to Brookfield Zoo during its annual Holiday Magic.

0277: At Brookfield Zoo’s annual Holiday Magic, guests can walk through a nearly 20-foot-tall lit orb—making for memorable photo opportunities.

1461: A 41-foot-tall Talking Tree near the north entrance greets guests to Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic.

1720: Guests can take a spin on the skating rink at Brookfield Zoo during its annual Holiday Magic.

9709: Animal care staff give a Zoo Chat about a reindeer to guests during Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic.

1974: A special early countdown to the New Year is celebrated by families at Brookfield Zoo’s Zoo Year’s Eve celebration on December 31.


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


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