Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
This festive season, continue a tradition or start a new one with family and friends at Brookfield Zoo’s 38th annual Holiday Magic, presented by ComEd and Meijer. The longest-running lights festival in the Chicagoland area features more than one million LED lights that will illuminate the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays, November 30 and December 1, 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22, as well as December 26-31. The zoo is open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during Holiday Magic. Guests can come early to enjoy the entire zoo and stay late for the festivities beginning at 4:00 p.m.
New this year, zoogoers can stroll through a spectacular 600-foot-long tunnel featuring thousands of colorful LED lights synchronized to music and an amazing light display of hexagon-shaped trees, mirror balls, and “dancing” holiday trees on the West Mall. There will also be the ever-popular 41-foot-tall Talking Tree and a giant 20-foot-lit orb, where guests can stand inside to take memorable photos. Larger-than-life LED animal sculptures of a bison, bear, giraffe, and reindeer adorn the north, south, and east malls, and a holiday light show will be displayed on the facade of The Swamp building. Searchlights will brighten the sky around Roosevelt Fountain that is surrounded by 60 decorated themed corporate trees. Finally, nearly 600 trees adorned with ornaments by Chicagoland communities line the walkways along the zoo’s malls adding to the holiday ambience.
Many other magical activities taking place throughout the festive evenings include professional ice carving demonstrations, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through December 22), live musical and dance performances in the Holly Jolly Theater, and magic shows. Additionally, in the Riverside Room, guests can view “Santa’s Toy Shop” model railroad display and decorate cupcakes (extra fee applies) at BZ Red Hots restaurant.
On the East Mall, guests can rent or bring their own skates and take a spin on the Chicago Wolves Skating Rink. Making a special appearance at the rink on December 1 between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. will be Skates, the Chicago Wolves mascot. And, in Hamill Family Play Zoo on December 7, youngsters have the opportunity to meet and take photos with Nature Cat, the costumed character from the popular WTTW Kids’ animated series.
Animal areas open during Holiday Magic include Australia House, Big Cats, Desert's Edge, Feathers and Scales, Great Bear Wilderness, Hamill Family Play Zoo, Hamill Family Wild Encounters (parakeet aviary closed), Pachyderm Building, Regenstein Wolf Woods, Reptiles and Birds, Seven Seas Underwater Viewing Gallery, Clouded Leopard Rain Forest, The Living Coast, The Swamp, and Tropic World. Several animal Zoo Chats take place throughout each evening, and a Dolphins in Action presentation can be seen every night at 6:00 p.m. In addition, restaurants will be open as well as gift shops offering an array of unique items.
On the final evening of Holiday Magic, December 31, families can ring in 2020 at the Zoo Year’s Eve celebration featuring an early countdown at 8:00 p.m. A DJ sets the party tone with fun games, party favors, and prizes in the Holly Jolly Theater. An earlier countdown at 7:30 p.m. will take place inside Hamill Family Play Zoo, where youngsters can make festive noisemakers. This kid-friendly countdown is perfect for families with children ages 6 and under.
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