Most people visit their local zoos in the summer, but did you know visiting zoo's in the middle of winter can be pretty fun too? Sure it's cold, and not all the attractions are open, but it's worth a visit to avoid the summer crowds and get some great discounts too! On the day we visited the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, it was a FREE day! We only had to pay $14.00 for parking.
My first recommendation for visiting a zoo in the winter is to dress for it! We wore our down-filled parkas, or other heavy coats, plus hats and scarves!
Although my children have lived in the area for years, I have never been to the Brookfield Zoo before. I was SO IMPRESSED! I could not believe the facilities, especially the primate exhibit.
The primate exhibit was this HUGE building of bridges, waterfalls, plants, birds, and faux terrain. It was amazing! I felt I was in Jurassic World.
Alethea was so happy running back and forth across the bridges and ramps.
All the primates had a lot of trees and ropes climb and play on. I couldn't believe my amazing timing to get this shot of an orangutan.
Even though it was a cold, 20 degree day, we were never outside long. Most of the animals were inside, so it was just a matter of walking outside briefly from building to building.
I thought the exterior of the buildings was just as attractive and impressive as the inside!
These beauties were outside, but they were huddled on the other side of a viewing area so we were able to get a real close look.
They do have a dolphin show at this zoo that you have to pay extra to see. There were none going on when we were there. You can however see the dolphins and seals for free in an underwater viewing area.
Doesn't this seal have the sweetest eyes and face?
The cold didn't seem to bother the cats, cause they were all outside.
Other animals that were outside were horses, camels, buffalo, and polar bears.
This sweet little kitty was inside an indoor exhibit. I could not believe this was a wild cat. He/she looked just like a house cat. And it was so small too! I thought it was a kitten, but it was full grown.
It was so cute! I wanted to wrap him/her up in my arms and take him/her home with me.
This deer stood so still, I thought it was taxidermy. Then, it moved, and I realized it wasn't. Apparently they are known for standing as still as statues.
The indoor giraffe exhibit was incredible! I could not believe how close to were able to get to them.
I love Alethea's laughing, smiling face in this picture.
The amphibian exhibit was pretty cool too! I felt I was in a Louisiana Bayou! I know I've said it multiple times, but I really was blown away by the exhibits of this zoo. I felt like the animal exhibits looked like what you would see in a museum, but there were also live animals in them. I've never seen anything like it before, and I've been to a lot of zoos!
I love these little guys! Their behaviors are so cute and quirky!
Sweet Alethea did grow tired and took a little nap in her stroller. Oh those cheeks! I can't wait to see her again and cover them up with lipstick kisses!
I'm a bird lover so I was thrilled to see lots of bird exhibits. But this beauty I captured in the primate exhibit. He came right up to me so I could snap his picture.
Another perk to visiting the zoo on a free day in winter, is that other attractions can sometimes be free as well, like the Hamill Family Play Zoo. Normally you have to pay another $3.00 per person to see this zoo. It's designed for small children under ten to have hands-on experiences. I really enjoyed the Lemur exhibit. They had the cutest costumes the kids could put on and then jump around like a lemur.
It was so funny seeing buffalo in the zoo after I saw so many in the wild in South Dakota.
They also had lots of aquariums to see at the Brookfield Zoo.
I really enjoyed my time at the Brookfield Zoo in the winter and I can't wait to go back this summer with my husband to see a lot of the attractions we may have missed due to seasonal closures....like the train! Of course, we'll have to pay all the costs and face the crowds!
I hope next winter when you're bored and trying to think of a family friendly activity to do, you'll consider visiting your local zoo!
Have a Great Day! Amy
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