Halloween at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo

Boo! at the Zoo: Hay Rides, Corn Mazes, and Costumes

Ring-tailed lemurs with pumpkin
Getty Images News/Matt Cardy/Stringer

Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, one of the top 10 best attractions for young kids, gets into the Halloween spirit with Boo! at the Zoo, a family-friendly event that's held on Saturdays and Sundays, October 12—27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Events are located throughout the zoo.

Getting There

The Metra Rail Burlington Northern line runs from Union Station downtown to the "Zoo Stop" (Hollywood) station, and from there it is only a two-block walk northeast to the zoo. To drive to the zoo from downtown take Interstate 290 (the Eisenhower) west to the First Avenue exit. Head south about 2.5 miles and follow the signs to the zoo entrance.

Activities at Boo! at the Zoo

Brookfield Zoo goes into Halloween mode each year when it puts on Boo! at the Zoo in the second half of October. This fun fall event is focused on the littlest ones, so it's not scary. Activities—weather dependent—for the whole family at Boo! at the Zoo include: 

  • Halloween crafts
  • Hayrides
  • Corn maze
  • Pumpkin carving
  • Scarecrows
  • Pumpkin smashers
  • Harvest parade
  • Zoo chats about bats, wolves, spiders, owls, snakes, and ravens
  • Costume parade
  • Costume contest

About Brookfield Zoo

Besides lions, tigers, and bears, along with birds, reptiles, zebras, camels, horses, elephants, and wolves, you can see animals in their own habitats. Environments include a rain forest, the desert, the wilderness, Australia, the African savannah, the coast, the swamp, and the tropics. You'll hear the sounds, smell the scents, and see the sights of each locale, along with the animals that would live in that kind of environment. You can also get up close and personal with the zoo's penguin residents in a penguin encounter and feed the giraffes. You need to register for the penguin encounter, and both the penguin meet up and the feeding of the giraffes have limited hours.

The Brookfield Zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. There's a fee to get into the zoo unless you are active, reserve, or retired military, and you must pay to park. Members of the zoo receive free admission.

Where to Eat

There are plenty of places to stop for a snack or lunch at the Brookfield Zoo. The Bison Prairie Grill offers a full menu of hot sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, and pizza, plus soda, water, juice, coffee, and beer. BZ Red Hots serves up just what it advertises: authentic Chicago hot dogs. It also has nachos, Italian beef sandwiches, and hot pretzels, along with a selection of beers and other drinks. Cafe del Sol has fish tacos, burritos, and taco salad. Or stop for popcorn, frosty ice cream treats, funnel cakes, or anything at Starbucks. 

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