If you’ve ever wanted to mingle with penguins or see a giraffe up close, now is your chance! The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is giving zoogoers the opportunity to meet their favorite feathered and lanky friends at its new Penguin Encounter and Giraffe Feeding programs. We had the pleasure of feeding the giraffes and it was a special experience! In the Habitat Africa area of the zoo, we normally aren’t able to see the giraffes that close up, so to be able to look at their sweet faces and feed them greens is pretty amazing. Keep reading to find out how you can meet penguins and feed giraffes!
For $10, you can purchase a tasty treat for the reticulated giraffes and feed these magnificent creatures. During the feeding time, an animal care specialist is on hand to answer questions and share information about the zoo’s giraffe herd. This encounter is offered daily on a first-come, first-served basis from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or until greens are gone (weather dependent). This new opportunity is being offered now through Labor Day.
You can also waddle over to The Living Coast and participate in a Penguin Encounter, which is offered daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
The approximately 45-minute session begins with a member of the animal care staff sharing fun facts about the zoo’s resident Humboldt penguins and communicating how to safely interact with the penguin during the encounter. Penguins, like people, have distinct personalities and interests that guests get to see firsthand. During the program, penguins are free to roam and waddle up to anyone they choose – and while one animal may be camera-shy, another individual may enjoy a good selfie or two.
Staff members talk about the conservation work the Chicago Zoological Society is doing in Punta San Juan, Peru, to help preserve the habitat and abundant wildlife, including Humboldt penguins that live along the South American coastline. Before bidding farewell to their newfound friend, check out the color of the band on the penguin’s wing so you can identify it on your next visit to the zoo!
Penguin Encounters, which cost $40 per person, are offered year-round. Space is limited to 20 participants. Reservations are required and can be made online at CZS.org/Penguins or in Coast Gift Shop next to the exhibit. Participants must be at least 5 years old, and an adult must accompany children between ages 5 and 18.