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Chicago’s Brookfield zoo adds dinos to park experience

CR Rae
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The Chronicle Express

Historic Brookfield Zoo west of downtown Chicago reopened its outdoor exhibits in July. At this time all the indoor buildings are still closed to operate safely due to COVID-19.

One exciting exhibit open through Nov. 1 is “Dinos Everywhere!” Dinosaur lovers will find this exhibit lifelike. The zoo has transformed its 216 acres of nature park into a home for 40 animatronic dinos.

Visitors can create their own safari to search for all of the dinosaurs. One not to be missed is the Argentinosaurus located on the zoo’s west mall. This guy (or girl) measures more than 110 feet in length and is three stories tall.

This prehistoric exhibit is interactive and allows zoo-goers to put their knowledge of dinosaurs to the test, answering trivia questions to win a prize. Don’t forget your camera or phone for some selfies. A picture with a Tyrannosaurus rex, stegosaurus, pteranodon or pentaceratops is a must.

“Dinos Everywhere!” was created by “Jurassic Park” advisor Don Lessum and is on loan from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Six Mold-A-Rama machines have been added to the park so kids can make a dino to take home. The first Mold-A-Rama machine at the zoo was installed in 1966. The machines are seen at different locations across Chicago and make a molded plastic souvenir relative to their location.

Zoo visitors also have the opportunity to see animals in their outdoor habitats, including Brutus and Titus, the 4-year-old African lions who just joined the zoo family in March. Brookfield is also home to African wild dog puppies, Mexican wolves, polar bears, grey seals, an Amur tiger, Galapagos and Sulcata tortoises, kangaroos, brown bears and Sasha, a 5-month-old Amur leopard cub born at the zoo.

Brookfield Zoo also is an accredited arboretum, with more than 100 trees and plant species throughout. A detailed map identifies the trees and provides a self-guided tour.

The zoo opened in 1934 and has gained an international reputation because of its role in animal care and conservation. In 1937 it became the first zoo in the United States to have a panda bear.

All admission and parking tickets must be purchased at CZS.org/OnlineTicketing.org. No tickets will be sold onsite. Everyone older than 2 is requested to wear a face covering when they enter the zoo. Face coverings should be worn if not able to maintain at least six feet distance from staff and other visitors who are not members of the same family, including when making transactions at food, beverage and merchandise kiosks and while in bathrooms. The zoo is a cashless park.

Check out CZS.org/KnowBeforeYouGo to see all of the protocols and procedures.