Brookfield Zoo's Play Zoo celebrates 15th birthday

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061516-wls-playzoo5-vid (WLS)

Brookfield Zoo's Hamill Family Play Zoo, an interactive exhibit, celebrates its 15th birthday Wednesday.

On the 15th of every month in 2016, Hamill Family Play Zoo is hosting activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests have opportunities to meet zoo professionals, participate in scavenger hunts, learn about the animals during Zoo Chats, get creative with art activities, play a part in animal training or husbandry sessions, and join in fun-filled parades. Each month, informal chats with staff highlight a different area of expertise, exposing children to different aspects of zoo life, including veterinarians, animal care specialists, carpenters, zoo writers, volunteers, and more. Families can come back month after month to learn something new.

To mark the official birthday on June 15, a larger celebration will feature live music and entertainment, craft activities, multiple experts who will teach kids about their jobs, a plush animal clinic that youngsters can bring their plush pals to for some tender loving care, and more.

For updates on each month's schedule of activities, visit

Open since June of 2001, Hamill Family Play Zoo has encouraged millions of children and their families to take an active role in learning by touching animals, planting and tending a garden, examining animal X-rays, releasing ladybugs in the summertime, pretending to be a zoo director or animal keeper, engaging in mud finger painting, painting their faces, and building habitats as they imagine what it is like to be an animal.

Hamill Family Play Zoo resides on two acres and features three areas of fun and learning: Zoo within a Zoo, Zoo at Home, and the Play Gardens.

Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $17.85 for adults and $12.50 for children ages 3 to 11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are free. Parking is $11. Admission to Hamill Family Play Zoo is $3 for guests 3 and older. The exhibit is free from November 1 through December 31.

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