Halloween at Brookfield Zoo: Creatures of the Night, Boo! at the Zoo

October 15, 2012 1:17:24 PM PDT
Guests of all ages --who are not too afraid of things that go bump in the night -- can enjoy nine haunted evenings at Brookfield Zoo.

"Creatures of the Night" runs Fridays through Sundays, October 12-14, 19-21, 26-28 from 6:30PM-10:30PM. The zoo's annual "Boo! At the Zoo" is also returning for another year (daily 11AM-4PM) . Tim Sullivan with the Chicago Zoological Society at Brookfield Zoo gives us a preview of both events and shows some creepy critters. Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $15 for adults and $10.50 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Boo! at the Zoo activities are free, with the exception of admission to Xtreme Bugs, The Carousel, and the hayride. Parking is $10. For further information about Boo! at the Zoo activities or Creatures of the Night, visit www.CZS.org/Events or call (708) 688-8000.

CREATURES OF THE NIGHT (release)

The bravest souls can take their chances on The Trail of Terror, a PG-13 experience that features "scientists" at GeneLab who are scrambling to decimate the scourge of mutated bugs that have taken over the city, creating a "superbug" that will eat and destroy the invading new species. But now that the mutant bugs are gone, the superbugs are still hungry?and those who dare should beware!

Anyone looking for more spooky times can board The Haunted Tram for a ghastly journey through Zombieville. Trying to escape hungry zombies that seem to appear at every turn, the ride will be one not soon enough forgotten.

For families with younger children, Creatures of the Night will also feature not-so-scary activities. On the zoo's West Mall, in a messy menagerie, the Pumpkin Executioner will be smashing pumpkins every half hour. Additionally, ghosts and goblins of all ages can try to find their way through the 7,000-square-foot Crazed Maize. In The Pavilions, the zoo will also be rocking all evening long with the Monster Mash Dance Party, led by a DJ who will be playing a variety of Halloween-themed music. Kids can carve their own pumpkins to take home.

As an extra surprise, the animatronic creatures from Xtreme BUGS, the hit exhibit that invaded the zoo this summer, will be sticking around for a creepy-crawly Halloween encore. The exhibit of epic proportions, presented by Dominick's, feature more than 20 oversize animatronic insects, including a spooky giant Madagascar hissing cockroach. Additionally, there are more than 100 larger-than-life stationary insects, including spiders hunting, ants feasting upon a scorpion, and cicadas hatching. Visitors can see the bugs in an eerie new light during Creatures of the Night.

Additionally, zoogoers can encounter some more familiar creatures of the night in The Swamp and Australia House, from toothy crocodiles and slithering snakes to Rodrigues fruit bats?who boast a 3-foot wingspan. (Indoor animal buildings close at 10:00 p.m.) At Hamill Family Play Zoo, kids can participate in a variety of Halloween-themed crafts and activities. During Creatures of the Night, several of the zoo's restaurants and gift shops will also be open.

BOO! AT THE ZOO (release)

The spooky fun features a Costume Parade, which begins at 1:00 p.m. each day at the zoo's North Gate and makes its way around Roosevelt Fountain before concluding at the East Mall. Afterwards, guests can show off their costumes in the Costume Showcase. Judges will choose first- and second-place winners in four categories: scariest, best animal theme, most original, and best group theme. Prizes will be awarded, courtesy of Fisher-Price. Each weekend during Boo! at the Zoo, the popular toy company will have its Fisher-Price Power Wheels driving track and play space for youngsters.

Guests can learn some expert pumpkin-carving tips from professional carver Steve Dahlke, who will use a variety of tools to create masterpieces out of 1,000-pound pumpkins. During his demonstrations, guests will be able to ask questions and pick up carving tips they can try at home.

Ghosts and goblins alike can try to find their way through the 7,000-square-foot Crazed Maize, located on the West Mall; take a spin on the haunted Carousel; or hop on a hayride through the zoo that is sure to provide a hauntingly good time.

Of course, the Halloween celebration would not be complete without some creepy critters. Families can discover interesting facts about some of the zoo's animals during special Zoo Chats. At 11:30 a.m. in Australia House, guests can hang around for a chat about Rodrigues fruit bats. Those who venture into The Swamp at 12:30 p.m. can get up close and personal with a black widow spider. Give a hoot for Tex, a great horned owl, at a 1:00 p.m. chat in Children's Zoo. Then, at 2:00 p.m., head over to Feathers and Scales and learn some interesting facts about scorpions. At 2:30 p.m. in The Fragile Rain Forest, guests can learn about one of the zoo's longest residents: Gunga Din, a nearly 10-foot-long Burmese python. At 3:00 p.m., run with the pack to the Great Bear Wilderness exhibit to hear all about Mexican gray wolves.

Some of the zoo's animals are also joining in the Halloween celebration. At 11:00 a.m. each day, guests can watch pumpkins being given to animals: rhinos on October 20, gorillas on October 21, sloth bears on October 27, and African lions on October 28.

In Children's Zoo, which will be free during Boo! at the Zoo, youngsters can participate in Halloween-themed activities, including "pin the nose on the cat" and "pin the eye on the owl," and make scarecrows until 3:00 p.m. As a special treat, Xtreme BUGS, the hit exhibit that invaded the zoo this summer, will be sticking around for a creepy-crawly Halloween encore. The exhibit of epic proportions, presented by Dominick's, features more than 20 oversize animatronic bugs, including a spooky giant Madagascar hissing cockroach. Additionally, there are more than 100 larger-than-life stationary insects, including spiders hunting, ants feasting upon a scorpion, and cicadas hatching.


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