News Release                                             Contact : Sondra Katzen
September 19, 2013                                                                            Public Relations
                                                                                                         708.688.8351
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               sondra.katzen@czs.org

Note: Images of Boo! at the Zoo activities at Brookfield Zoo may be downloaded at www.CZS.org/PressRoom.

Brookfield Zoo Hosting Annual Boo! at the Zoo Howloween Celebration
Offers the Creepiest, Crawliest Fun Around on October 19-20 and 26-27

Brookfield, Ill.—Guests of all ages are sure to have a howlin’ good time—even the scaredy (big) cats—at Brookfield Zoo’s annual Boo! at the Zoo. The fun-filled Halloween celebration, featuring a corn maze, special Zoo Chats, haunted hayrides, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, and a costume parade and contest, takes place on Saturdays and Sundays, October 19-20 and October 26-27, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

A Halloween event would not be complete without creepy critters. Staff will be sharing interesting facts about some of the animals during special Zoo Chats throughout each weekend. Guests can flap over to Australia House to learn about the Rodrigues fruit bats at 11:30 a.m., scuttle to The Swamp at 12:30 p.m. to learn about spiders, and then have a hoot of a time at Hamill Family Play Zoo for an owl Zoo Chat at 1:00 p.m. (weather permitting). Afterwards, creep over to Feathers and Scales at 2:00 p.m. to learn about scorpions, slither to Reptiles and Birds for a snake Zoo Chat at 2:30 p.m., and howl at the Zoo Chat about the Mexican gray wolves at 3:00 p.m. at Great Bear Wilderness.

Zookeepers will also give tasty, nutritious pumpkins to some of the animals at 11:00 a.m. each day so they can share in the Halloween fun. The rhinos will get pumpkins on October 19; the orangutans on October 20; the sloth bears, polar bears, and grizzly bears on October 26; and the lions on October 27.

On the West Mall, ghosts and goblins of all ages can cheer for the pumpkin or cheer on the “Pumpkin Smasher,” who will be crushing the orange gourds into hundreds of pieces every hour on the hour starting at 11:00 a.m. Professional pumpkin carver Steve Dahlke, who will use a variety of tools to create masterpieces out of gigantic pumpkins, will be carving 1,000-pound jack-o’-lanterns. During his demonstrations, guests can pick up some tips on carving their own pumpkins.

If they dare, families can try to find their way out of the 7,000-square-foot Dino Track corn maze located on the East Mall. While there, guests can enter a drawing during the first weekend for the chance to win a seven-night grand prize trip with airfare for two to Montego Bay, Jamaica courtesy of the Jamaica Tourist Board, Sunset Beach, and Apple Vacations. (The winner will be announced on Sunday, Oct. 20 and does not have to be present to win.)

At 1:00 p.m. each day, the zoo’s ever-popular Boo! at the Zoo costume parade kicks off just north of The Carousel. Prior to the parade on October 19, members of "Danceassociation" Dance Class will be performing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The following weekend, on October 27, dancers from DLD Dance Center of Downers Grove also will be performing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” as well as “Monster” and “Ghost.”

Joining in the Halloween festivities will be several local groups that will be leading the costume parade, including members of the S.T.A.T. of Illinois Baton/Dance Team on October 19, cheerleaders from Evergreen Park Community High School on October 20, the Riverside-Brookfield High School Poms on October 26, and members of the Silver Knights Baton Corps and DLD Dance Center on October 27.

Afterwards, guests of all ages can show off their Halloween attire in the Costume Showcase beginning at 1:30 p.m. on the East Mall. Judges will choose winners in four categories: scariest, best animal theme, most original, and best group theme. Prizes are courtesy of Radio Flyer and Jamaica Tourist Board.

Families looking for not-too-scary thrills can take a haunted hayride, take a spin on the “Haunted Carousel,” build a scarecrow at Hamill Family Play Zoo, decorate spooky cookies, or carve jack-o’-lanterns to take home (additional fees apply for all). Pumpkin patches located on the North, South, and West Malls will be available for photo opportunities so guests can remember their Halloween visit.

Zoogoers can visit Dinosaurs Alive! one last time before the prehistoric creatures go extinct on October 27. The exhibit of epic proportions, presented by Dominick’s, features 24 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, including Styracosaurus, Tuojiangosaurus, and Pachycephalosaurus, as well as some with feathers, such as Microraptor and Gigantoraptor.

Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $15 for adults and $10.50 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Parking is $10. For further information about Boo! at the Zoo activities, visit www.CZS.org/Events or call (708) 688-8000. Boo! at the Zoo is presented by Bright Start® College Savings Program and sponsored by American Airlines.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.

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