Zoos Reopen: What you Need to Know


This information is being provided as a resource for our readers. Ultimately it is up to you what you and your family will do and if you choose to go out. If you have a fever or are feeling ill, please stay home and contact a medical professional. 

As Illinois moves into Phase 4 areas zoos have announced their reopening plans. We’ve gathered all the details you need for the two regional Illinois Zoos as well as the closest Southern Wisconsin Zoos. As with most activities this summer the mandates and restrictions are ever-changing so please check with the location before heading out.

illinois zoo reopening

Illinois Zoos Reopening

Illinois Phase 4 Guidelines for Zoos allow them to reopen at 25% occupancy. Hands-on exhibits and touch screens should be removed or closed. Indoor exhibits should be closed. We looked at each zoo’s statements.

brookfield zoo reopening

Brookfield Zoo Reopening

Brookfield Zoo will reopen for members on July 1 and for the general public starting on July 8. The zoo has created a Know Before You Go resource page that explains all the enhanced protocols and procedures that are in place. Some of the changes in place are:

  • A reserved timed-ticketing system to limit guest capacity. All admission tickets and parking will need to be secured before arriving. No tickets will be sold on-site. All tickets are nonrefundable and no rain checks will be made.
  • The zoo will be cashless. Only credit card transactions will be allowed at food stands carts and merchandise kiosks.
  • All guests ages 2 and over must wear face coverings when entering the zoo. Once inside, face coverings should be worn if not able to maintain a social distance of at least six feet from staff and guests who are not members of the same family. This includes when making transactions at food, beverage, and merchandise kiosks and while inside bathrooms.
  • All indoor spaces – animal buildings, restaurants, and gift shops, will remain closed.
  • Play areas, splash pads, water misters, drinking fountains, The Carousel, Motor Safari train rides, Butterflies!, and the Hamill Family Play Zoo goat yard will be closed.
  • Paper maps will not be distributed.

In addition to the outdoor animal exhibits, Brookfield Zoo will be hosting Dinos Everywhere! More than 40 life-like, animatronic dinosaurs are placed around the park with trivia and selfie stations for all dino-loving visitors. Dinos Everywhere! is included in the general zoo admission.

lincoln park zoo
L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

Lincoln Park Zoo Reopening

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is and will remain a FREE zoo (read Loralie’s review). However, to limit capacity and support social distancing efforts, the Lincoln Park Zoo will now require free admission reservations. For the re-opening most buildings, including animal buildings, will remain closed. The train and carousel, as well as daily programs, are currently suspended.

racine zoo
© M. Haak | Little Lake County.com | 2018

Racine Zoo – Outdoor Walking Safari

The Racine Zoo is a favorite of ours, especially if you have young children, read why in Melissa’s review. The zoo has reopened as a walking safari experience that will take guests on a modified pathway (one direction) through the campus.

  • All visitors are required to wear a mask
  • You will be able to visit all their animal friends indoors and outdoors except certain parts of Cat Canyon, including the lynx.
  • The playground will remain closed.
  • The train will be open.
  • Drinking fountains are closed.
  • Giraffe Encounters will resume on June 20, the Aviary is open but the Barnyard safari will be closed.
Milwaukee Zoo
Milwaukee Zoo

Milwaukee County Zoo Reopening

The Milwaukee Zoo partially re-opened on June 13. Daily admission and parking is available with reservations online only. No on-site sales. The final daily entry is at 1:30 p.m.

  • All guests ages 3 and older are required to wear a mask.
  • The Goat Yard, Sky Adventure Zip Line, Ropes Course, Pony Rides, Playgrounds, Giraffe feedings, Animal in Action Talks and Animal feedings are closed.
  • All indoor buildings and water fountains will remain closed.

While it’s not the zoo experience many of us are used to, it’s one more opportunity for us to get out and give our children a normal summer experience.

Have you been, or will you go to the newly reopened zoos? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Zoos Reopen: What you Need to Know
About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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