Brookfield Zoo Lights - Chicago Area

Brookfield Zoo is a fabulous place to visit year round.  The zoo has a light display called Holiday Magic and it's spectacular icing on the cake.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky. Are also on the faces of people goin' by. I see friends shaking hands saying, "How do you do." They're really saying, "I love you." I hear babies cry, I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll ever know; And I think to myself, What a wonderful world; Yes, I think to myself, What a wonderful world. ~Louis Armstrong.

If you have a Brookfield Zoo membership, the Holiday Magic lights display is a must see at least once.  The Brookfield Zoo site notes this show as Chicagoland's largest and longest-running lights festival with more than a million LED lights.  Admission is included with membership, otherwise you have to pay the daily zoo admission to cover the cost.  If you want to see the animals, get there before dark since not all of the animals are active and / or visible at night.

Besides traditional lights and Christmas trees, the Holiday Magic festival includes small shows (some in warm tents), ice carving, magic, a model railroad, hot chocolate and cider stands, light shows set to music, oversized animal displays, a lighted orb that you can walk through, and much more.

Some people may think the lights are just for families with young children.  Depending on the weather, you may want to leave the kids at home with a sitter and spend time wandering about, enjoying the lights.  I have figured out that 2 pairs of fleece leggings under a pair of jeans provides the perfect amount of warmth on a cold night.  Think hand and toe warmers too.  Dress the kiddos warmly, otherwise you may have a complainer and potential headache for yourself.  If a stroller is an option, definitely consider it with a few layers of blankets to make your visit more relaxing.

Allow at least 1-1/2 to 2 hours to wander through all of the Holiday Magic.  Be sure to check the zoo Holiday Magic information for details on the stops around the zoo.  If you are also there to see the animals, add on another 2 hours (at least).  The monkey house and penguin habitat are two of my favorite stops at this zoo.

The zoo does have a stop on the Metra rail line.  Otherwise, there is a North and South entrance.  I prefer the South entrance simply because you don't have to walk as far to the entrance of the zoo.  There is a price difference, so be sure to check the zoo site for more information.

Brookfield Zoo:

  • North Gate, 8400 31st Street, Brookfield, IL.
  • South Gate, 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL.


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