10 Ways to Enjoy Brookfield Zoo When it Rains


The sun is shining. There isn’t a cloud in the sky. The weather is warm (but not too hot). It certainly sounds like the perfect day to go to Brookfield Zoo.

But not every day can be so sunny. And as we wave goodbye to another summer, chilly air and plenty of clouds are about to blow into the Chicagoland region. But that doesn’t mean the ideal days to visit the zoo are behind us. In fact, the next time you look outside and see some raindrops starting to fall, you might consider all of the reasons why it could be a great day to see Brookfield Zoo after all.

Here are some (but not all) of the ways you can enjoy a day at Brookfield Zoo even if it’s raining outside.


Take in Tropic World
When it was built in the early 1980s, Tropic World was the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the world. It might not hold the title anymore but it’s still a massive indoor space full of animals for you to explore and see up close. Start in South America where you’ll get to see spider monkeys, tamarins, sloths, and even a large anteater. From there you head to Asia where you’ll come face-to-face with orangutans and white-cheeked gibbons, as well as small-clawed otters scurrying below. Finally, you end up in Africa where you’ll meet the colobus monkey before arriving at the home of the Western lowland gorillas.

Watch Dolphins in Action
One of the best things to do at Brookfield Zoo when it’s raining is head for Seven Seas so you watch the exciting and educational Dolphins in Action. Take a seat in the stands, sit back, and enjoy as you learn about dolphin social structures and adaptations while they entertain you with aerial displays. You’ll be pretty amazed by their intellect and agility. However, just because you came in out of the rain that doesn’t mean you might not get wet, especially if you sit in the Splash Zone.


Hang Out With a Penguin
The Living Coast is another indoor exhibit at the zoo that you’ll want to spend some time perusing. Eventually, you’ll end up by our Humboldt penguin habitat where you can watch them play, swim, and generally hang out. You can also take that up a notch by signing up for a Penguin Encounter. Every day during the week (twice on weekends), you can enter the Penguin Encounter room and meet some of the Humboldts yourself! You’ll need to order tickets beforehand as space is limited so make sure you do that before arriving.

Chow Down
You might as well have some lunch while you wait out the midday rain. Both BZ Red Hots and Cafe del Sol have ample indoor seating so you can order food and stay dry while enjoying it. And you’ve got quite a wide variety of options between the two, from burgers to hot dogs to burritos to salads to chicken nuggets and much more. Each location also offers Kids' Animeals for the little ones.


Take a Spin
The Brookfield Zoo Carousel is one of the largest hand-carved wooden carousels in the entire U.S. If it’s drizzling outside, take shelter underneath its enormous roof and enjoy the ride. You can choose from 72 different animals to sit on, some of which representing highly endangered species from around the world. You can also have a seat in one of the three stationary animal chariots. Ride out the rain in style.

Get Motorin’
One of the best ways to make the most of Brookfield Zoo in inclement weather is by hopping aboard the Motor Safari and taking a ride across the entire park. Not only will you get a chance to see just about everything available in the zoo but you’ll also learn interesting facts about the history of the zoo and the species here. FYI, Motor Safari runs daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day and weekends only in September and October, so make sure you know if it’s available.


Play A While
Hamill Family Play Zoo is a great place for little ones to spend their day. Not only are they surrounded by wildlife but they’ll get the chance to explore, build, and play while connecting with the nature around them. It’s also a great indoor escape for older guests and where you can hang out with the ring-tailed lemurs or keep an eye on some snakes.

Ride Out Rain With Reptiles
There are so many places in Brookfield Zoo where you can see reptiles and they’re all indoor escapes perfect for riding out the rain. The Swamp is home to alligators and crocs as well as all kinds of snakes and lizards. You’ll find plenty more inside the Reptiles & Birds and Feathers & Scales exhibits, both of which are close to one another. And you’ll even see some reptiles hanging out in Hamill Family Play Zoo, Australia House, and many other indoor exhibits.


Feed Some Parakeets
While many of the habitats in Hamill Family Wild Encounters are outdoors, one that’s entirely indoors is the parakeet feeding room. Inside, you’ll be among dozens of parakeets flying all around. Grab a feeding stick with some birdseed on the end of it and watch how the parakeets come to you for a tasty snack. It’s a fun way to interact directly with nature and you’ll stay plenty dry inside while doing it.

Visit Other Continents
Many of the exhibits in Brookfield Zoo are indoors and that includes ones that take you around the globe to meet the animals and habitats that hail from there. Desert’s Edge gives you a chance to see meerkats, bat-eared foxes, and naked mole rats in action. Right next door in Clouded Leopard Rain Forest you’ll meet the mysterious clouded leopard, the popcorn-scented binturong, and the various insects and plants that live in the rain forest. Over in Australia House, you’ll get to watch echidnas search for food, wombats scurry about, free-flying Rodrigues fruit bats soaring around you, and much more. Finally, head to the Kopje in Habitat Africa! The Savannah and you’ll be able to enjoy meeting klipspringers, dwarf mongoose, and even see the reticulated giraffes up close.

Written by Sean Keeley

Posted: 9/3/2019 10:24:50 AM by Sean Keeley Filed under: rain

CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.


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