Last weekend Kiwi and I wrapped up warm and ventured to the west of Chicago. We had heard about free zoo days that take place in winter, January and February, and offer free admission to a huge range of zoos. One of them was the Brookfield zoo. So we thought we’d pop along. I’ve spoken before about my love for zoo’s and how I still haven’t grown out of them so I was pretty excited. We did wonder if all the animals would be hiding from the cold and that they might be fast asleep.
When we set off it was relatively warm, well in comparison to the last few weeks, it was a toasty 0 degrees! But the forecast said no more snow and even some possible sunshine for the afternoon. The drive took us along past Michigan city and through Chicago, its always fun to see the impressive skyline. Once we crossed the state border into Illinois the sky was clear, crisp and blue and it even felt warm in the sunshine.
The zoo was a good inexpensive day out, other than petrol – which is crazy cheap here, we just had to pay $10 for parking. Not that many people had taken up the offer so the zoo was nice and quiet giving us a lot of space and time to wander around. Despite there being plenty of snow on the ground the animals were mostly all active.
The bears, tigers, wolves and polar bear all seemed to love the cold and were trotting around their exhibits. Many of the animals who weren’t fans of the cold had indoor enclosures and were still about – except the lions, they were fast asleep somewhere nice and warm. I was always led to believe that giraffes always stood and couldn’t sit down without getting back up again, well apparently that isn’t true! so I learnt something.
The newer exhibits containing orangutans, gibbons and others primates was impressive, from the outside it looks like a massive barn and inside the animals have lots of space and fun looking things to climb. My favourites were actually the otters, they are always so playful, although I find the giraffes fascinating. Many of the exhibits have indoor areas, the dolphins have a HUGE tank that you can view from the side and have a close up look of them playing.
We really enjoyed getting some fresh air and felt like we’d been on quite a walk by the time we made it all the way around. We had Chicago hot dogs for lunch and stopped at the Cheesecake factory for a little treat. We also popped into Ikea for a few household items. Turns out Ikea in the USA is pretty similar to every other Ikea I’ve ever visited – go figure, they even had meatballs. The only main difference was the sticky buns being the primary food item over the meatballs! So there you have it. Ikea for sticky buns. If you do have a zoo near you keep an eye out for winter deals, many close but the ones that are open offer a low cost day out and beat the crowds. Definitely worth a visit.