Brookfield Zoo covers 216 acres and includes more than 3,000 animals. Kids will love the largest non-restored, hand-carved carousel in the country, housed in an all-weather pavilion and featuring 72 animal figures at $2.50 per ride.
You might want to start your tour at the Discovery Center Theater in the northeast corner to get your bearings and plan a manageable itinerary. Animals live in innovative walk-through settings that re-create their natural habitats, with different species sharing space just as they do in the wild. The Living Coast's transparent water walls, squishy blue floor made to resemble the ocean floor and 60 animal species from the coast of Chile and Peru give the illusion of ocean depths. In Tropic World, primates and other mammals and birds live together in a rain forest environment (thunder rumbles regularly and rain showers down on the animals). There are dolphin shows daily for an extra fee. Many exhibits include hands-on activities to make the visit a genuine learning experience. The Children's Zoo features domestic animals and wildlife of North America as well as "Animals in Action" demonstrations (Memorial Day through Labor Day only). Bocaditos, a full-service restaurant, is open on weekends during the off-season and daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The zoo has three other restaurants and numerous concession stands.
Newest attractions: Adventures with Agua opened in October 2007 and explores water conservation issues and strategies. Regenstein Wolf Woodsopened mid-June 2004 and features Mexican gray wolves--the most endangered sub-species of gray wolf in North America; touch cownose rays and southern stingrays as they glide beneath your fingertips at Stingray Bay, open in 2007. Newest additions: two Amur tiger cubs born in May 2007.