Brookfield Zoo

The Brookfield Zoo is a zoo located in the Chicago suburb of Brookfield, Illinois. The zoo covers an area of 216 acres (874,124 m²) and houses around 450 species of animals. Brookfield Zoo, also known as Chicago Zoological Park, opened on July 1, 1934 and quickly gained international recognition for using moats and ditches, instead of cages, to separate animals from visitors and from other animals. The zoo was also the first in America to exhibit giant pandas, one of which (Su-Lin) has been taxidermied and put on display in Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. In 1960, Brookfield Zoo built the nation's first fully-indoor dolphin exhibit, and in the 1980s the zoo introduced Tropic World, the first fully-indoor rain forest simulation and the then-largest indoor zoo exhibit in the world.

Perhaps the most famous resident of Brookfield Zoo was Ziggy, a 6.5 ton bull elephant that was kept in an indoor enclosure for nearly thirty years after it attacked its trainer in 1941. During the 1960s and 1970s, Ziggy attained a cult following in the Chicago area, and the elephant was finally released in 1970 amid much fanfare. Unfortunately, the elephant fell into his exhibit's moat in March 1975 and died seven months later.

Another well-known Brookfield zoo animal was Olga the Atlantic walrus. She was a favorite of thousands of visitors between 1962 and 1988, entertaining them with her antics. She is remembered by a large bronze statue in the current sea mammal exhibit.

One of the zoo's most well-known current residents is Binti Jua, a female Western lowland gorilla. On August 16,1996, a young boy fell into the gorilla exhibit of Tropic World, and Binti Jua carefully cradled the boy and brought him to her trainers. The incident received international attention, inspiring a lively debate as to whether Binti Jua's actions were the result of the training she received from her keepers (who had taught her to bring her own baby, Koola, to zoo curators for inspection) or some instinctive sense of animal altruism.

Another current resident of the zoo is Cookie, a Major Mitchell's Cockatoo who has been part of the zoo's collection since the opening in 1934. Although he is at least 75 years old, his keepers are not sure of his exact age as he was given to the zoo as an adult.

Brookfield Zoo also had the first captivitive birth of an okapi in the world.

In the past decade, the zoo has undergone significant capital upgrades, constructing the Regenstein Wolf Woods, the Hamill Family Play Zoo, butterfly tent, sheltered group catering pavilions, and the largest non-restored, hand-carved, wooden carousel in the United States. A new, sprawling habitat for bears is scheduled to open in 2009. The interiors of several existing buildings were reconfigured into immersion exhibits, based upon eco-systems rather than by clades; these include the swamp, the Fragile Rain Forest, Fragile Desert (the Sahara desert of North Africa) the Living Coast (the shores of Chile and Peru), the savanna, and Australia.

The Brookfield Zoo's real estate is owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District while the zoo is managed by the Chicago Zoological Society. The Society sponsors numerous research and conservation efforts globally.


Partial list of Animals

A - J









K - T











W - Z


Seasonal Exhibits

Since 2007, Brookfield Zoo has had seasonal exhibits from Living Exhibits Incorporated.
Year Exhibit Name Animals
2007 Stingray Bay! Cownose Rays, Southern Stingrays,
2008 Sharks! at Stingray Bay! Cownose Rays, Southern Stingrays, Whitespotted Bamboo Shark, Nurse Shark, Horseshoe Crab,


External links

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