See the lights, feel the magic, and continue or start a new family tradition at Brookfield Zoo's Holiday Magic, presented by ComEd and Meijer. The festive event features more than one million twinkling lights, caroling to the animals, live entertainment, professional ice-carving demonstrations, a 41-foot LED talking tree, a dazzling laser light show, and a new holiday light spectacular. Holiday Magic, now in its 32nd year, continues on Saturdays and Sundays, December 14-15 and 21-22, plus the week of December 26-31, from 4:00 until 9:00 p.m.
Zoogoers looking to warm up can head inside the Holly Jolly Theater, where choirs, dancers, and other local entertainers will give holiday-themed performances. The opening night's highlights include a jingle bell rockin' performance by Coal City High School Footnotes, a memorable holiday show by Those Funny Little People, and a cheerful concert by Strings of the Valley. Guests will receive a complete list of entertainment and activities when they enter the zoo.
Back again by popular demand is the laser show that lights up a 40-foot-by-30-foot screen on the zoo's West Mall every 30 minutes between 5:00 and 8:30 p.m. Additionally, there will be a new holiday light spectacular featuring festive-themed video on the zoo's Reptiles and Birds House. Guests will also be able to view more than 450 decorated community trees lining the malls, and around Roosevelt Fountain, 50 corporate trees will "dance" to festive music throughout the festival. Community and Corporate Tree Trim is presented by XFINITY.
While strolling the walkways, guests can see some of their favorite animals. Exhibits open until 8:00 p.m. during Holiday Magic include Great Bear Wilderness, Tropic World, Australia House, Big Cats, The Swamp, Feathers and Scales, Birds and Reptiles, The Living Coast, The Fragile Desert, The Fragile Rain Forest, Pachyderm House, and Hamill Family Play Zoo. Guests can share the holiday spirit with the camels at 5:30 p.m., big cats at 6:30 p.m., and bears at 7:30 p.m. by joining Season's Greetings professional carolers as they sing holiday tunes each night.
Also, zookeepers will be on hand to share interesting facts about animals during special Zoo Chats featuring information about crocodiles at 5:00 p.m., reptiles at 5:30 p.m., bears at 6:00 p.m., lemurs at 6:30 p.m., rhinos at 7:00 p.m., and big cats at 7:30 p.m.
Santa Claus will be waiting for youngsters in his holiday cottage, located just west of the zoo's Scoops restaurant. There, he and Mrs. Claus will listen to children's wish lists (through December 22). And in the Riverside Room, for train enthusiasts of all ages to view, members of the LGB Model Railroad Club will display a 41-foot-by-25-foot model railroad with 13 trains that can run simultaneously.
On December 31, families can rock in 2014 with an early countdown at Brookfield Zoo's Zoo Year's Eve celebration. The fun-filled event will begin at 6:00 p.m. with music, games, and giveaways. At 8:00 p.m., a kid-friendly countdown will also take place at Hamill Family Play Zoo, where families with younger children can create noisemakers to ring in the Zoo Year. In addition, the zoo's restaurants and food stands will be open with full menus and holiday treats-such as cookies, hot chocolate, and cappuccino-and gift shops will have hundreds of items that would make perfect gifts and stocking stuffers for hard-to-shop-for loved ones.
During Holiday Magic, guests should park in Brookfield Zoo's main parking lot (First Avenue and 31st Street). With the exception of rides and photo opportunities, activities are free with paid admission of $15 for adults and $10.50 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are free. Car parking is $10; bus parking is $12. For additional information about Holiday Magic, visit www.CZS.org/events or call (708) 688-8000.
Holiday Magic is also sponsored in part by American Airlines, the zoo's official airline.
The Chicago Zoological Society inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for Brookfield Zoo's innovative, naturalistic, multispecies exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. For further information, visit www.CZS.org.