News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
November 14, 2017
Note: Images of Holiday Magic activities at Brookfield Zoo may be downloaded below.
Holiday Magic Lights up Brookfield Zoo with Festive Family Fun
     Brookfield, Ill. – Chicagoland’s largest and longest-running lights festival is back and ready to delight families with more than one million LED lights, new displays, and activities that will get everyone in the holiday spirit. Brookfield Zoo’s 36th annual Holiday Magic, presented by ComEd and Meijer, will take place on Saturdays and Sundays, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, and the week of December 26-31. The zoo is open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day of the event. Come early to enjoy the entire zoo and stay later for the festivities, which begin at 4:00 p.m. Holiday Magic officially begins with an opening ceremony that includes switching on the lights of the 41-foot-tall Talking Tree on December 2 at 5:00 p.m.

This year, Brookfield Zoo will be aglow with new light displays throughout the park. The South Mall will showcase spectacular larger-than-life animal figures featuring a bear, giraffe, and bison. Just south of The Carousel, guests can walk through a nearly 20-foot-tall lit orb—making for memorable photo opportunities. In addition, there will be searchlights illuminating the sky at Roosevelt Fountain, the Formal Pool, and the North Gate. The East Mall will twinkle from the lights on gigantic reindeer created from telephone poles that are surrounded by lit spheres. On the opposite mall, guests can view hexagon-shaped trees that “dance” to music. Finally, lining the walkways along the zoo’s four malls and around the fountain will be nearly 600 lit trees decorated with ornaments by Chicagoland communities and corporations.

Each night of Holiday Magic will feature a full schedule of music and live entertainment in the Holly Jolly Theater, professional ice carving demonstrations, magic shows, costumed characters who will greet zoogoers of all ages, a model train display, and an animated video accompanied to holiday tunes that will illuminate the front of The Swamp.

Through December 17, 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. Guests can spread holiday cheer by joining carolers in singing to the animals, including reindeer, big cats and bears. Each night, there will be Zoo Chats presented by animal care staff, who will share fun facts and information about the animals. Also, zoogoers can attend a special 6:00 p.m. Dolphins in Action, and many other buildings will be open to see animal favorites at 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.

Guests can warm up in one of the zoo’s restaurants, which will offer their standard menus as well as special holiday treats like hot chocolate, cookies, and cappuccino. Also, gift shops will have hundreds of unique items for those who want to begin their holiday shopping for loved ones.

The Holiday Magic festivities come to a close on Saturday, December 31, but not before everyone is invited to ring in 2018 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 while enjoying an early, kid-friendly New Year’s countdown at 8:00 p.m.

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 in-park paid attractions and photo opportunities). Regular admission is $19.85 for adults and $14.50 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are free. Car parking is $12; bus parking is $15. Discounted tickets may be purchased at any of the 20 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. Guests will also receive a schedule of events when they arrive.
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Holiday Magic Photos


Photo Captions—photo credit: Chicago Zoological Society

Holiday Magic-1: Youngsters can view a model train display during Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic.
Holiday Magic-2: Kids enjoying the sights and sounds of Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo. The festive event takes place on December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, and 26-31.
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, -7, and -8: 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-9: Youngsters can pose for pictures and share their wish lists with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through December 18) at Brookfield Zoo’s 36th annual Holiday Magic.
Holiday Magic-10: Brookfield Zoo guests pose for a photo on a sleigh during the annual Holiday Magic festival.
Holiday Magic-11: Guests can join carolers as they sing to the animals each night of Brookfield zoo’s Holiday Magic.
Holiday Magic 12: A young guest gets a hug from BZ Bear costumed character during Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic, which takes place December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, and 26-31.
Zoo Year’s Eve-1 and -2: Families can join in an early countdown to the New Year at Brookfield Zoo’s Zoo Year’s Eve  celebration on December 31.

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 at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, 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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