News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
November 17, 2023

Note: Scroll to end of press release to download photos.

Enjoy Holiday Fare, Meet Santa, and Spread Seasonal Cheer at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. – This holiday season, Brookfield Zoo has plenty of opportunities for families to spend festive time together and fill their bellies with delectable food while simultaneously supporting the conservation efforts and animal care work of the Chicago Zoological Society.

Start a new tradition by having Dinner with Santa at the Zoo’s Discovery Center. Enjoy a delicious holiday buffet with freshly carved meats, seasonal accompaniments, sweet treats, and hot chocolate and other non-alcoholic beverages. Additionally, there will be a kid-friendly buffet for the younger diners as well as vegetarian options. (Alcoholic beverages available for purchase.) Most importantly, Santa will be in attendance for photos and to hear everyone’s wish list. After dinner, stay in the park and enjoy the festivities of the Zoo’s annual Holiday Magic featuring more than two million dazzling LED lights, ice carving demonstrations, caroling, and much more.
Seatings for Dinner with Santa are still available on Friday, December 15, at 3:30 or 6 p.m.; Saturday, December 16, at 6 p.m., and Sunday, December 17, at 6 p.m. Tickets, which include Zoo admission and parking, range from $85-90 for adults and $40 for children 3 to 11. Children 3 and under eat for free. (Zoo members receive a discount.)

On Sunday, December 3, the Chicago Zoological Society’s Women’s Board is hosting a Holly Jolly Gingerbread Party fundraiser to support Brookfield Zoo. Families will be given pre-assembled gingerbread houses to decorate. Professional gingerbread house builders and decorators will be on hand to lend their advice. Children can also decorate ornaments that can be kept and placed on their trees at home for years to come. In between decorating gingerbread houses and making ornaments, families can enjoy a mouthwatering holiday brunch buffet with all the trimmings. Youngsters can also sip on hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and Bloody Mary’s and mimosas will be offered to adults.

During the event, Santa will make a special appearance to hear all the children’s wish lists and to pose for holiday family photos. Additionally, everyone can meet several of the Zoo’s animal ambassadors.
The fundraiser, which will take place in Brookfield Zoo’s Discovery Center is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $250 for adults, $150 for children, or $2,000 for a private table.

For more information about these events or to purchase tickets, visit

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Photo (credit: CZS-Brookfield Zoo)
7665 and 7727: Families can decorate a gingerbread house at Brookfield Zoo's Holly Jolly Gingerbread Party fundraiser.

7682: During Brookfield Zoo's Holly Jolly Gingerbread Party, guests can pose with Santa and one of the Zoo's animal ambassadors.

7915: Guests can choose for an array of delectable items on the holiday buffet at Brookfield Zoo's Holly Jolly Gingerbread Party.

8241: Guests can decorate a gingerbread house at Brookfield Zoo's Holly Jolly Gingerbread Party.

8361 and 8366: Santa will make an appearance to pose for photos and hear children's wish lists at Brookfield Zoo's Dinner with Santa.

Brookfield Zoo's Dinner with Santa features a holiday buffet featuring freshly carved meats, seasonal accompaniments, and sweet treats.


About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire 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. 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. 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, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit