The economic and educational impact of Brookfield Zoo

Although the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo is known throughout the world as a leader in animal welfare and conservation, this venerable institution also serves as a potent economic engine, top tourism attraction and award-winning educational institution. Brookfield Zoo helps drive the region’s economy and is Illinois’ most popular cultural attraction.*

In May of 2010, the Chicago Zoological Society opened Great Bear Wilderness, a new blockbuster exhibit that allows guests to go eye to eye with polar and grizzly bears, bison, eagles and Mexican grey wolves. Construction of this $27 million animal-centric exhibit leveraged $48 million in economic activity and created 350 much-needed construction jobs at a time in which unemployment in the state of Illinois exceeded 10 percent. This massive construction project at Brookfield Zoo underscores the critical role that Chicago-area cultural institutions play as drivers of our region’s economy and employers of area workers.

  • $150 million in economic activity generated annually
  • 2,000 jobs supported
  • 2.2 million annual guests
  • 108,000 member households representing more than 550,000 people
  • 580 volunteers

To learn more about Brookfield Zoo’s contributions to the economic and cultural well-being of the Village of Brookfield click here.
To learn more about Brookfield Zoo’s partnership with the villages of Riverside and Brookfield click here.


Polar Bear at Brookfield Zoo

As part of the Chicago Zoological Society’s mission, we work each day to ensure that the conservation movement reaches out to and hears from every person and community at every income level and ability. In support of this, we partner with organizations that serve people with disabilities, Veterans, the unemployed and underemployed, victims of domestic violence, adults with mental illness, and more.

2010 Brookfield Zoo Complimentary Admission Tickets
  • Underserved Communities: 73,888
    (includes 3,191 attributed to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County
  • Employees/Family Members: 27,085
  • Marketing/Promotions: 17,261
  • Donors/Prospects: 8,966 
    (includes 1,520 provided to charitable organizations for use as raffle donations)
  • Active Military/Families: 3,462
  • Miscellaneous: 1,116
TOTAL: 131,778

*Brookfield Zoo is the most popular cultural attraction in the state of Illinois that actively monitors its attendance.