Blog: Carlita the Croc

National Zoo Lover's Day


Have you seen this man? His name is Tom and he is at Brookfield Zoo A LOT. It’s National Zoo Lover’s Day, so today I salute Tom Jacobsen – a true Brookfield Zoo Lover. 

You can find Tom at the zoo two to three days a week every week. He goes to almost all the Dolphins in Action presentations on those days. Between shows he meanders around the park, except when he has errands to run.

“Sometimes I do my errands around the dolphin presentation schedule!”

Tom's family
Tom with family at Brookfield Zoo


Childhood Fan
Tom grew up on the north side of Chicago and has been coming to Brookfield Zoo since childhood.

“My first visits were field trips during elementary school at John Palmer School,” he says. Tom continued to visit throughout his life and purchased a membership when he moved to the area 20 years ago. He has grown children and grandchildren who accompany him to Brookfield Zoo during their summer and holiday breaks. But Tom mostly visits by himself before heading into his full time job and on his days off.

When I asked Tom what draws him to the zoo, his answer isn’t surprising – “I like seeing the animals. Some people have pets at home; these animals are like my pets. I’ve watched a lot of them grow and progress throughout their lives.”

Visiting the zoo also allows Tom to get in his exercise. He will typically walk around the entire zoo in between the Dolphins in Action presentations. Tom’s favorite season is summer, because he can catch all the zoo chats during his inter-Dolphins in Action circuit.

But Tom also said he likes meeting the people who keep the zoo running.

“I get sad when everyone leaves for the winter. And I miss the people who have left the zoo to pursue other careers.” Tom has built a relationship with many of the staff at Brookfield Zoo. He knows most of the ticket-takers and volunteers. All of the animal care specialists at Seven Seas know to look for Tom in his usual spot at the very top of the bleachers.

I see Tom regularly when he passes through The Swamp. I asked what his favorite animal was (beside me, of course) he said, “Tapeko the dolphin. I’ve love watching her behaviors!”

Next time you are at the zoo enjoying the animals, see if you can spot Tom. Give him a wave and wish him a happy National Zoo Lover’s Day!

What do you love about the zoo? Share with me on Twitter @CandidCroc!

Posted: 4/7/2018 11:54:36 AM by Steve Pine

Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.


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