Brookfield Zoo reopens for visitors, welcomes new polar bear

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago's west suburbs reopened to the public on March 1, giving visitors their first look at several new exhibits and animals.

Weve been waiting for this for a couple of months, and were so excited to welcome our members and guests back, said Leah Rippe, VP of marketing and communications at the zoo.

Since the zoo is reopening at reduced capacity to accommodate CDC guidelines with COVID-19, visitors need to register for tickets (and parking) online before visiting.

Along with two new Mexican Gray Wolves and the return of the animatronic Dinos Everywhere! exhibit, the Brookfield Zoo is hosting a new female polar bear for visitors to see.

(Hope) arrived here on January 29, and shes now just getting this kind of soft introduction to our 14-year-old male, Hudson, who is anxiously awaiting their first date, said Tim Sullivan, the curator of behavioral husbandry.

We want to make sure that we have a strong population of polar bears he to represent the species for the future. And Hope and Hudson are a part of that plan, Sullivan said.

The day before the zoo reopened, an ABC7 photographer captured King, Brookfields rhinoceros, playing in the snow and mud.

Its so fun, Rippe said. As the temperatures are starting to rise, you know, the animals are really enjoying getting exposure outside once again.
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