Revolutionary Zoo Experiences for Families

On June 14, 2001, Brookfield Zoo opened the Hamill Family Play Zoo, a revolutionary new concept in zoo experiences for families. The Play Zoo is a unique adventure where children and their families can play and interact with animals, plants, and people to help develop caring attitudes toward the natural world.
Hamill Family Play Zoo at Brookfield ZooIn this technological age, where children have frequent exposure to computers and television, the Play Zoo is an effort to bring them back to a simpler world and help parents and other caregivers rediscover the magic and importance of playing in nature. Parents are encouraged to incorporate these activities in their daily family lives.

Children need to touch, explore, build, and do. The Play Zoo lets them touch animals, build habitats, paint murals, examine animal X-rays, plant gardens, dress up as a bird, discover insects, and more. The primary goal is to foster feelings of love and caring toward nature by doing, rather than communicating scientific concepts or facts. Brookfield Zoo wants kids to feel connected with nature and have fun doing it!

The two-acre Hamill Family Play Zoo consists of three major areas: Zoo Within a Zoo, Zoo at Home, and the Play Gardens. The innovative exhibit features approximately 300 individual animals representing 58 species. Support areas in the Hamill Family Play Zoo include a Quiet Room for feeding a baby or calming a child, restroom facilities geared toward the needs of families, stroller parking, and considerable off-exhibit space for the many animals that are continuously rotated throughout the Play Zoo sections.

Find out more about Hamill Family Play Zoo and other exhibits at Brookfield Zoo.