Brookfield Zoo’s annual Boo! at the Zoo Halloween celebration will be filled with more tricks, treats, and hocus pocus than ever before. The whole family will have a howlin’ good time October 18-19 and October 25-26 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.
Pumpkins will be getting crushed and carved throughout the Halloween celebration. Head over to the West Mall from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to witness the Pumpkin Smasher destroying pumpkins into tiny pieces every hour on the hour. Then watch Steve Dahlke, professional pumpkin carver, as he uses a variety of tools to create masterpieces out of gigantic pumpkins that weigh about 1,000 pounds each. Pick up carving tips and tricks during his demonstrations, and you can even carve your own pumpkins.
The ever-popular Boo! at the Zoo costume parade kicks off at 1:00 p.m. in front of Discovery Center. Kids of all ages and their families can join in and show off their Halloween attire. Leading the parade on October 18 will be S.T.A.T of Illinois Baton/Dance Team, and on October 19 Evergreen Park Community High School Cheerleaders will get the parade started. The Bearettes & Twirling Bears from Midlothian and Oak Lawn and the marching band from Reavis High School in Burbank will kick the parade off on October 25. And on October 26, the Hinsdale Central High School Red Devil Marching Band will lead the procession.
Afterwards, you can enter the costume showcase that begins at 1:30 p.m. at the West Mall. Judges will choose winners in four categories: scariest, best animal theme, most original, and best group theme. Radio Flyer and Dulcelandia will provide costume prizes.
Additional activities include finding your way through the more than 7,000-square-foot Crazy Maize corn maze, taking a spin on the Creepy Cowboy Carousel, building a scarecrow at Hamill Family Play Zoo, decorating cookies, and taking memorable photos at the pumpkin patches located throughout the park. New this year, kids can stop by treat stations to receive goodies provided by Dulcelandia (while supplies last). The candy company will also have Halloween-themed piñatas for kids to smash open.
Halloween would not be complete without creepy critters like bats, scorpions, and spiders—oh my! Learn about them and other animals during special Zoo Chats that will be held each weekend. Glide over to Australia House at 11:30 a.m. to learn about Rodrigues fruit bats, which have a 3-foot wingspan. At high noon, staff will share information about the zoo’s Mexican gray wolves, including Ernesta, who recently was released to the wild with her four pups and mate. A 12:30 p.m. spider Zoo Chat will take place at The Swamp. From there, a hoot of a good time awaits at the Hamill Family Play Zoo for a 1:00 p.m. chat about a great horned owl. At 2:00 p.m., discover some unique characteristics about the scorpion at Feathers and Scales. To round out the chats, slither over to Reptiles and Birds at 2:30 p.m. to see one of the zoo’s large snakes. And everyone can flock to Hamill Family Play Zoo for a 3:00 p.m. chat about the raven.
Several of the zoo’s animals will receive pumpkins as Halloween treats—. See if the rhinos crush their festive squash at 11:00 a.m. on October 18. The following day, October 19, the orangutans will be treated to pumpkins at 10:00 a.m. The grizzly, polar, and sloth bears will receive pumpkins at 11:00 a.m. on October 25, and the lions will be able to enjoy them on October 26 at 11:00 a.m.
Boo! at the Zoo is presented by Bright Start® College Savings and proudly supported by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. General zoo admission is $16.95 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 3-11 and seniors age 65 and over. Children 2 and under are free. Parking is $10. (Additional fees apply to some activities.) For further information, visit www.CZS.org/events or call (708) 688-8000.
The Chicago Zoological Society inspires 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 Brookfield Zoo’s innovative, naturalistic, multispecies exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. For further information, visit www.CZS.org.