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Brookfield Zoo

Visit an African savannah, the Australian Outback and the depths of the ocean — all in a single afternoon.

The Brookfield Zoo is spread out across more than 215 acres (87 hectares) in the suburb of Brookfield, 12 miles west of downtown Chicago. It has natural-looking habitats for a large and varied collection of animals, from grizzly bears to kangaroos, big cats and rare parrots. Come by car or public transport and plan to spend a morning (when the animals are most active) or the entire day. 

There are two entries: one on the north and one on the south side of the zoo. Make sure you pick up a map from the ticket booth and remember which entrance you came in. Wear comfortable walking shoes, and if you don’t want to walk all day, buy a ticket for the Motor Safari trams that run scheduled tours. Hop on and off as you please at four different stops around the grounds. 

Don’t miss the Dolphin Presentation, which runs twice daily. It costs a little extra, but is well worth the price to see experienced keepers interact with Dolphins performing tricks. There are many other presentations throughout the day, including gorilla feedings and penguin “Zoo Chats.” Check times on the zoo’s official website. 

Kids can get close to armadillos, horses, cows, lemurs and reptiles at two petting zoos: Children’s Zoo and Hamill Family Play Zoo. They’re next door to each other in the southwest corner of the park.

North from here you’ll find the big cats and seal enclosures. Hoofed animals (zebras, camels, and donkeys) can be found next to kangaroos, emus and ostrich in the Australian Outback enclosure. Head west for the African Savannah (giraffes, hogs and aardvarks) and the Great Bear Wilderness, which has polar and grizzly bears.

Once you’ve seen all the animals you can, take time to relax in the peaceful park surrounds. There’s a food court and snack vendors dotted around, or bring your own packed-lunch.


Guide to Exploring around Brookfield Zoo


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Best Lodging Options Near Brookfield Zoo

See all 1,385 Properties near Brookfield Zoo
Rodeway Inn Lyons - La Grange $67
Rodeway Inn Lyons - La Grange

Rodeway Inn Lyons - La Grange

8640 W Ogden Ave, Lyons, IL
     
    2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in Lyons, this motel is 1.5 mi (2.5 km) from Brookfield Zoo and within 9 mi (15 km) of SeatGeek Stadium and Oakbrook Center Mall. Douglas Park and Ernest Hemingway Museum and House are also within 9 mi (15 km). Brookfield Station is 12 minutes by foot and Brookfield Congress Park Station is 24 minutes.

    Colony Motel $64
    Colony Motel

    Colony Motel

    9232 West Ogden Ave, Brookfield, IL
       
      2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Brookfield, this motel is 1.8 mi (3 km) from Brookfield Zoo and within 9 mi (15 km) of SeatGeek Stadium and Oakbrook Center Mall. Oak Brook Golf Course and Ty Warner Park are also within 9 mi (15 km). Brookfield Congress Park Station is 6 minutes by foot and Brookfield Station is 14 minutes.

      Prestige Inn - Lyons
      Prestige Inn - Lyons

      Prestige Inn - Lyons

      3922 S Harlem Ave, Lyons, IL
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Lyons, this hotel is 2.1 mi (3.5 km) from Brookfield Zoo and within 6 mi (10 km) of SeatGeek Stadium and Ernest Hemingway Museum and House. Douglas Park and UIC Pavilion are also within 9 mi (15 km). Berwyn Harlem Avenue Station is 17 minutes by foot and Riverside Station is 23 minutes.

        Presidential Inn & Suites
        Presidential Inn & Suites

        Presidential Inn & Suites

        3922 Harlem Ave, Lyons, IL
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Lyons, this motel is 2.1 mi (3.5 km) from Brookfield Zoo and within 6 mi (10 km) of SeatGeek Stadium and Ernest Hemingway Museum and House. Douglas Park and UIC Pavilion are also within 9 mi (15 km). Berwyn Harlem Avenue Station is 16 minutes by foot and Riverside Station is 23 minutes.

          Travel Inn $72
          Travel Inn

          Travel Inn

          1150 W Roosevelt Rd, Broadview, IL
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Broadview, this motel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Brookfield Zoo, Ernest Hemingway Museum and House, and Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. Oakbrook Center Mall and Drury Lane Theater are also within 9 mi (15 km).

            1821
            1821

            1821

            1821 North Hampton Drive, Highlands Rese, Berwyn, IL
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Berwyn, this vacation home is 3.1 mi (4.9 km) from Ernest Hemingway Museum and House and within 6 mi (10 km) of Brookfield Zoo and Douglas Park. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and Garfield Park are also within 6 mi (10 km). 54th-Cermak Station is 27 minutes by foot and Austin Station (Blue Line) is 27 minutes.

              Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Chicago West-O'hare Arpt $78
              Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Chicago West-O'hare Arpt

              Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Chicago West-O'hare Arpt

              200 S Mannheim Road, Hillside, IL
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Oak Brook Golf Course, Brookfield Zoo, and Oakbrook Center Mall. Madison Street Theatre and Drury Lane Theater are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                Extended Stay America Chicago - Hillside $90
                Extended Stay America Chicago - Hillside

                Extended Stay America Chicago - Hillside

                4575 Frontage Rd, Hillside, IL
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Hillside, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Oak Brook Golf Course, Brookfield Zoo, and Oakbrook Center Mall. Drury Lane Theater and Madison Street Theatre are also within 6 mi (10 km).