Kids free at Brookfield Zoo Tue, Wed

August 9, 2011 (BROOKFIELD, Ill.)

The freebie is provided to give families a chance to enjoy the zoo before the regular school year begins.


Free Kids' Days, presented by Meijer, gives families an opportunity to enjoy one last staycation before the hustle and bustle of another school year begins. (In-park attractions, admission for adults and parking fees still apply.)


Quick Facts
BODY HEIGHT: 5.5 to 6 feet at the head
WEIGHT:280 to 450 pounds
ZOO DIET:alfalfa and grain
DISTRIBUTION:southern and western South America; domesticated worldwide

Llama Basics:
You may know llamas for their unique way of communicating - spitting at and on each other - but it's a safe bet there's also a lot you don't know about this South American pack animal. For example, lamas are in the same family as camels. Also related to alpacas, guanacos and vicunas, llamas are one of the oldest domestic animals in the world. In fact, they're descendents of the wild guanacos in Peru's Andean Highlands during the Incan empire about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.

Multi Colored Critter:
Llamas come in many colors and patterns, including white, black, brown and grey, often with irregular light and dark sections. Overall, their fur is very soft and is naturally lanolin free, meaning it isn't greasy or waxy. At Brookfield Zoo, our llamas are sheared each spring to help keep them cool in the hot summer. So, what exactly is a llama good for?

Well, lots of things! Aside from being easily trainable, curious, and intelligent animals, a llama's wool can be woven into clothes and blankets. Throughout the world, llamas are also used to guard herds of domestic livestock, as predators are startled by the llamas loud alarm call.

A very hard, sturdy animal, llamas can carry 30 percent of their body weight, which is about 200 pounds. For the people that live in and near the Andes Mountains, this skill is especially useful and in South American, these many attributes have immortalized the llama poetry and fiction as a symbol of the country's patriotism.

Llamas at Brookfield Zoo:
Brookfield Zoo is home to two llamas - Mocha and Licorice. You can see them in their yard at Children's Zoo, munching on hay or watching people stroll by. And, don't worry. Mocha and Licorice will most likely not spit on you…unless you're a llama.

Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat
Quick Facts
BODY LENGTH:2.5 to 3 feet
TAIL LENGTH:1 to 2 inches
WEIGHT:40 to 70 pounds
WILD DIET:green grasses, roots, bark, and fungi
ZOO DIET:rabbit chow, apple-flavored monkey chow, sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots, peanuts, hay, and mouse chow
DISTRIBUTION:central South Australia
HABITAT:arid to semi-arid savannah woodland, grassland, and low shrub plains

What's a wombat?
Wombats are thick, heavy-bodied Australian animals that live in underground tunnel systems. Everything about them is compact. They are about the size of a medium-size dog but are much more rounded and solidly built. There are three species of wombat: the common wombat, the northern hairy-nosed wombat, and the southern hairy-nosed wombat.

Southern hairy-nosed wombats are the species at Brookfield Zoo. Their soft fur is gray to brown, with a small patch of white around the furry snout that gives them their name. Wombats have a little, short tail and a flattened head that looks too big for their body. Wombats are built for digging. Their shoulders and forearms are powerful, and they have long claws, all of which they use when digging. Wombats dig their warrens with their forepaws, throwing the dirt behind them with their back feet.

Southern hairy-nosed wombats at Brookfield Zoo:
Brookfield Zoo is one of only four zoos in North America to exhibit southern hairy-nosed wombats. You can see the zoo's wombats in Australia House. One male and one female are on exhibit along with plenty of other animals from down under, like kangaroos, echidnas, emus, and fruit bats.

Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus
Type of Animal: Wild, nocturnal, raptor
Habitat/Range: Common in suburbs. Don't migrate; keep same territory year round.
Related To: Strigidae family: Screech owls.
Diet in Wild: Carnivore: Reptiles Opportunistic hunter rodents, rabbits, and snakes.
Diet in Zoo: Rats, mice, chicks, and Bird of Prey diet, a commercially prepared raptor diet; amounts depend on individual bird's weight and time of year.
Longevity/Weight: Approximately 3-4 pounds; 25.3 inches tall with a 62 inch wingspan. Males are smaller than females.
Predators: Cars, when blinded by headlights; otherwise, unknown.
Reproduction: Pair bond for life. Burrows nest or uses old nests of other birds. Incubation = 26-35 days. Altricial young hatch in February and March, and require care for 10 weeks until fledged. With winter's approach, parents drive young out of territory.

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