BROOKFIELD – The Chicago Zoological Society has made the decision to close all indoor public spaces and events at Brookfield Zoo through at least April 1.
The move is based on the guidance set forth by state and local officials along with the Centers for Disease Control, and consistent with the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Chicago Botanic Gardens, a news release stated.
This includes all indoor animal exhibits, the Discovery Center, restaurants and gift shops. Food and merchandise will be available for purchase only at outdoor walk-up locations and mobile food and merchandise carts.
During this time, guests still may enjoy the outdoor spaces, which include over 200 acres of walkways and paths, where zoogoers can view outdoor animal habitats. Public restrooms will be open during this time, and will be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
All events and animal programs, including but not limited to dolphin presentations and viewing areas, keeper chats, Zoo Goes Blue for Autism, Penguin Encounters and Poolside Penguin Feedings, are canceled. Those who already have made reservations or pre-purchased tickets, should watch for an email with information on how to receive a refund, reschedule a reservation for the animal programs, or exchange tickets for a future date.
All nonessential staff has been asked to work remotely. Additionally, staff is continuing to monitor the situation daily and is prepared to take further precautions, as necessary.
During this time, admission to Brookfield Zoo will be free, but parking fees still apply.
“The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, staff and animals remains of paramount importance. As an extension of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, we felt it was important to find a responsible way to allow guests to enjoy our outdoor green space,” Stuart Strahl, president and CEO of CZS, stated in the release. “We encourage common-sense health precautions as recommended by the CDC, including washing your hands, sanitizing belongings and surfaces, and avoid touching your face. We ask that guests who are not feeling well please refrain from visiting Brookfield Zoo until fully recovered.”
Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st St. in Brookfield. For more information, visit CZS.org.