Brookfield Zoo hosts Annual Boo! at the Zoo Howloween on Sat.-Sun., Oct. 26-27, 2013 11 a.m.-4 p.m.) in Brookfield, Ill., in the Chicago area. The fun-filled Halloween celebration is a family-friendly event that features a corn maze, special educational Zoo Chats, haunted hayrides, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, and a colorful costume parade and contest. This weekend is also the final weekend of the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, so it is the last chance to see the dinosaur replicas.
A Halloween event would not be complete without creepy critters. Staff will be sharing interesting facts about some of the animals during special Zoo Chats during the weekend. Guests can flap over to Australia House to learn about the Rodrigues fruit bats at 11:30 a.m., scuttle to The Swamp at 12:30 p.m. to learn about spiders, and then have a hoot of a time at Hamill Family Play Zoo for an owl Zoo Chat at 1 p.m. (weather permitting). Afterwards, creep over to Feathers and Scales at 2 p.m. to learn about scorpions, slither to Reptiles and Birds for a snake Zoo Chat at 2:30 p.m., and howl at the Zoo Chat about the Mexican gray wolves at 3 p.m. at Great Bear Wilderness.
Zookeepers will give tasty, nutritious pumpkins to some of the animals at 11 a.m. each day so they can share in the Halloween fun. The sloth bears, polar bears, and grizzly bears will get pumpkins on Oct. 26; and the lions will get pumpkins on Oct. 27.
On the West Mall, ghosts and goblins of all ages can cheer for the pumpkin or cheer on the “Pumpkin Smasher,” who will be crushing the orange gourds into hundreds of pieces every hour on the hour starting at 11 a.m.
Professional pumpkin carver Steve Dahlke, who will use a variety of tools to create masterpieces out of gigantic pumpkins, will be carving 1,000-pound jack-o’-lanterns. During his demonstrations, guests can pick up some tips on carving their own pumpkins for their Halloween decorations.
Daring families can try to find their way out of the 7,000-square-foot Dino Track corn maze located on the East Mall.
The zoo’s ever-popular Boo! at the Zoo costume parade kicks off just north of The Carousel at 1 p.m. each day. On Oct. 27, dancers from DLD Dance Center of Downers Grove will be performing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “Monster” and “Ghost.” Joining in the Halloween festivities will be the Riverside-Brookfield High School Poms on Oct. 26, and members of the Silver Knights Baton Corps and DLD Dance Center on Oct. 27. After the performances, guests of all ages can show off their Halloween attire in the Costume Showcase beginning at 1:30 p.m. on the East Mall. Judges will choose winners in four categories: scariest, best animal theme, most original, and best group theme. Prizes are courtesy of Radio Flyer and Jamaica Tourist Board.
Families looking for not-too-scary thrills can take a haunted hayride, take a spin on the “Haunted Carousel,” build a scarecrow at Hamill Family Play Zoo, decorate spooky cookies, or carve jack-o’-lanterns to take home (additional fees apply for all).
Pumpkin patches located on the North, South, and West Malls will be available for photo opportunities so guests can remember their Halloween visit.
Zoogoers can visit Dinosaurs Alive! one last time before the prehistoric creatures go extinct on Oct.27. The exhibit of epic proportions, presented by Dominick’s, features 24 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, including Styracosaurus, Tuojiangosaurus, and Pachycephalosaurus, as well as some with feathers, such as Microraptor and Gigantoraptor.
Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $15 for adults and $10.50 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Parking is $10. For further information about Boo! at the Zoo activities, visit www.CZS.org/Events or call (708) 688-8000. Boo! at the Zoo is presented by Bright Start® College Savings Program and sponsored by American Airlines.
Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.
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