News Release


November 16, 2016                                                                    
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, (708) 688-8351,
Note: Images of Holiday Magic activities at Brookfield Zoo may be downloaded below.
Holiday Magic 2016 Entertainment Schedule

Holiday Magic-1: Youngsters can view a model train display during Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic.
Holiday Magic-2: Brookfield Zoo’s costumed characters greet guests at its annual Holiday Magic.
Holiday Magic-3: The popular 41-foot-tall “Talking Tree” engages guests in friendly conversation during Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic.
Holiday Magic-4: Giant lit reindeer are on display near The Carousel during Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic.
Holiday Magic-5: During Brookfield Zoo’s annual Holiday Magic, guests can watch a professional ice carver create blocks of ice into frozen pieces of art.
Holiday Magic-6: Brookfield Zoo is all lit up for its annual Holiday Magic. The event takes place December 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, and 26-31.
Holiday Magic-7: A lit bison silhouette greets guests as they enter Brookfield Zoo’s South Gate during Holiday Magic. More than one million LED lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland for the holiday season.
Holiday Magic-8: Youngsters can pose for pictures and share their wish lists with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through December 18) at Brookfield Zoo’s 35th annual Holiday Magic. 

A Season to Remember at Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic
Glowing Light Displays Will Bring the Holidays to Life

Brookfield, Ill. – Chicagoland’s longest-running lights festival is back and ready to dazzle families with more than one million LED lights. Brookfield Zoo’s 35th annual Holiday Magic, presented by ComEd and Meijer, offers guests 12 enchanted evenings to enjoy the lights and so much more from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays December 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, and the week of December 26-31.

The fun includes a new Polar Lights display that feature lights reflecting off mirrored balls as they shine into the sky over the zoo’s West Mall. Zoogoers can also enjoy caroling to the animals, live entertainment, professional ice-carving demonstrations, special visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through December 18), and more than 530 lit community-decorated trees that line the zoo’s malls. Around Roosevelt Fountain, nearly 60 local corporations decorated “dancing” trees that will be set to holiday-themed tunes, and the popular 41-foot-tall Talking Tree is back to interact with guests.

The holiday festivities begin with an opening ceremony at 5:00 p.m. on December 3. Guests can enjoy visiting animal habitats, restaurants, and gift shops that will remain open for the magical event. A packed schedule of music and live entertainment in the Holly Jolly Theater, magic shows, costumed characters, and a model railroad display will add to the festivities.

Through December 18, youngsters can share their wish lists and pose for pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the North Pole workshop located in the Seven Seas Underwater Viewing gallery. Memorable photos can also be taken with some of the zoo’s animal ambassadors.

Many habitats, including Great Bear Wilderness, Big Cats, Tropic World, The Swamp, Birds and Reptiles, Feathers and Scales, The Living Coast, The Fragile Kingdom, Hamill Family Wild Encounters, and Hamill Family Play Zoo, will be open and illuminated to view favorite animals. Guests can even share their holiday cheer with animals by singing along with carolers and serenading the bears, camels, and big cats with seasonal songs. Each night there will be informal Zoo Chats presented by staff, who will share fun facts and information about some of the animals they care for. Zoogoers can also attend a 6:00 Dolphins in Action.

At the Holly Jolly Theater, guests can warm up and enjoy live entertainment that features dance troupes and choirs from the Chicagoland area, as well as nightly appearances by Those Funny Little People.

Zoogoers who work up an appetite can also warm up in one of the restaurants, which will offer standard menu fare and special holiday treats like hot chocolate, cookies, and cappuccino. For those hard-to-shop-for loved ones, the zoo’s gift shops will be open to offer plenty of unique items.

The Holiday Magic festivities come to a close on Saturday, December 31, when everyone is invited to ring in the New Year at the 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. Families with younger children can head to Hamill Family Play Zoo, where kids can make noisemakers and also enjoy an early kid-friendly New Year’s 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 $17.85 for adults and $12.50 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are free. Car parking is $11; bus parking is $15. Discounted tickets may be purchased at any of the 21 Chicagoland Meijer locations. 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 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. 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 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
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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