News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

March 13, 2020


Brookfield Zoo Remains Open with Limited Access

All Indoor Buildings Closed

Brookfield, Ill. -- The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), based on the guidance set forth by state and local officials, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and consistent with the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Chicago Botanic Gardens, has made the decision to close all indoor public spaces within and events at Brookfield Zoo effective March 14 through at least April 1. This includes all indoor animal exhibits, the Discovery Center, restaurants and gift shops. Food and merchandise will be available for purchase only at outdoor walk-up locations and mobile food and merchandise carts.

During this time, guests may still enjoy the outdoor spaces, which include over 200 acres of walkways and paths, where zoogoers can view outdoor animal habitats. Public restrooms will be open during this time, and will be cleaned and sanitized regularly.

All events and animal programs, including but not limited to dolphin presentations and viewing areas, keeper chats, Zoo Goes Blue for Autism, Penguin Encounters and Poolside Penguin Feedings are cancelled. Those who have already made reservations or pre-purchased tickets, should watch for an email with information on how to receive a refund, reschedule a reservation for the animal programs, or exchange tickets for a future date. All non-essential staff has been asked to work remotely. Additionally, staff is continuing to monitor this situation daily and is prepared to take further precautions, as necessary.

During this time with limited access to indoor animal viewing and programming admission to Brookfield Zoo will be free, but parking fees still apply.

“The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, staff, and animals remains of paramount importance. As an extension of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, we felt it was important to find a responsible way to allow guests to enjoy our outdoor green space.” said Stuart Strahl, president and CEO of CZS. “We encourage common-sense health precautions as recommended by the CDC, including washing your hands, sanitizing belongings and surfaces, and avoid touching your face. We ask that guests who are not feeling well please refrain from visiting Brookfield Zoo until fully recovered.”

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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


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


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