Our Charge Forward: A Five-Year Strategic Plan

Strategic-Plan-2019-2023-(1).png100 years ago, Edith Rockefeller McCormick donated 83 acres to the Forest Preserves of Cook County with the vision of building a large zoological park with modern construction and open enclosures. The Forest Preserves donated the remaining land, and in 1921, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) was chartered. The two organizations entered into an agreement to develop, operate, and maintain a world-class zoo, and in 1934, Brookfield Zoo officially opened its gates. Its diverse collection of wildlife living in cutting-edge, naturalistic exhibits made it an enviable example of a modern zoo. 

Today, as we approach CZS's centennial celebration, we're pushing what that means ever further.

Since the founding of CZS, the percentage of our population living in highly urbanized areas has doubled, and Americans are increasingly feeling disconnected from the natural world. While we have expanded our reach-from 60,000 to nearly 3 million people-its not enough to simply be Chicagoland's most highly attended outdoor cultural attraction. 

CZS is dedicated to setting higher standards as an international leader in conservation and the care and welfare of animals, strengthening our relevance in the Chicago-area community, and empowering residents to drive positive change. 

We have laid our foundation, and we are ready to charge forward. 

Our Five-Year Strategic Plan


Center for the Science of Animal Welfare

Read about our innovative practices in animal welfare to ensure the ultimate care of our individual animals.

Classes and Camps

Center for Conservation Leadership

We place a high priority on developing and supporting conservation leaders of all ages and backgrounds.


Visit Brookfield Zoo

Create extraordinary connections with animals and nature!