Boo at the Zoo! Fall Fun at Brookfield Zoo

Our family was invited for a day at Boo at the Zoo this weekend. While we frequently go to the zoo, this was our first time experiencing Brookfield Zoo’s special fall festivities. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday with our 6, 4 and nearly 1-year olds! We enjoyed seeing the animals with the added pumpkin-spiced touch that we love about fall in the Midwest.

Tips for Visiting Boo at the Zoo

Get there early! Brookfield Zoo opens at 10:00 am. We were in line when the gates opened and it was already packed. However, even though there were tons of guests at the zoo, it never felt overly crowded and the staff did an amazing job moving people along throughout activities. Obviously, the weather is a big factor with outdoor activities, and we had a beautiful 60-degree day. If the weather is expected to be nice, plan ahead and get there as early as possible.

Check the schedule ahead of time! While some Boo at the Zoo activities go throughout the day, others happen at special times. We trick-or-treated at the candy stations, walked the corn maze, saw rhinos eating pumpkins (this was the highlight of the day for my 4-year old), and a pumpkin smash. My 6-year old enjoyed the trick-or-treating at the candy stations throughout the zoo. Don’t worry, bags are provided if you forget one and you don’t have to be in costume to enjoy the sweet treats! The corn maze is open all day and was the perfect level of difficulty: enough that we were stumped, but not so stumped that we were overly frustrated.

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For the most part, Boo at the Zoo is not scary. However, we don’t recommend the Haunted Hayride for young children. My 4 and 6-year olds spook easily and were pretty nervous during the ride even though it is advertised as not being too scary. If your children are younger, I’d spend time doing other special events like the Halloween craft or carousel.

Dress up in costumes! We’ve been struggling with indecisiveness in our house, so we just went in Halloween clothes. Tons of children and adults were in costumes, and it definitely added to the excitement of the day. There’s also a costume parade at 1:00 pm, and a costume dance party at 1:30 pm: a perfect time to give your costume a test-drive before the big day! Please note that guests over the age of 13 are not permitted in the zoo wearing full-body costumes with their head covered at any time.

Hours for Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo runs on select Saturdays and Sundays in October from 10:00 am – 5:30 pm. There’s one more weekend left in 2019!

Activities Included and Not Included in General Admission

There is no additional cost to park or get into the zoo on “Boo at the Zoo” days. Regular admission or memberships will get you into nearly all of the fun, such as trick-or-treating at the candy stations, watching professional pumpkin carvers, going through the corn maze, watching the pumpkin smasher, some zoo chats, and enjoying the animals eating pumpkins.

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Some of the activities require additional fees, such as the Halloween craft, zoo chats, and pumpkins to the animals at Hamill Family Play Zoo, spooky treat decorating, and haunted hayride, and member attraction tickets cannot be used for all of them.


For more Halloween fun, check out our list of Halloween family-friendly events. Also, our fall guide is full of ideas of outdoor fun to enjoy before the cold weather comes in!

About the Author

Katie Mayle
Katie is a mother of two girls and a baby boy (ages 5 1/2, 4, and 6 months), and has lived in the Chicagoland for her entire life. A Joliet native, she and her husband moved back to his hometown of Naperville after the birth of their second daughter. The girls keep her family very active, and she is grateful for the countless indoor and outdoor opportunities available to families in the western suburbs. She looks forward to sharing family-friendly fun with the parents of young children.

1 Comment on "Boo at the Zoo! Fall Fun at Brookfield Zoo"

  1. Maureen Chytracek | October 22, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Reply

    Nice job Katie explaining and informing us about Boo at the Zoo!!

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