From 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays now through August 12, guests of all ages can enjoy a variety of live music and roaming kids’ entertainment, as well as enhanced dining experiences, a beer and wine garden, animal encounters, and a spectacular laser light show closing out each evening at Summer Nights. We found it to be a relaxing time to go to the zoo. Some of the animals were napping at the end of their day, but others were enjoying the weather as it cooled off before dusk.
Several animal exhibits and other in-park attractions (some require separate admission) are open until 8:30 pm. These include Butterflies!, The Carousel, Clouded Leopard Rain Forest, Dolphin Underwater Viewing, The Fragile Desert, Hamill Family Wild Encounters, Pinniped Point, The Swamp, and the zoo’s summer exhibit, Dinos & Dragons.
The stage is near the dolphins (in the East Mall), along with a beer garden and many options for food. Restaurants open late during the festivities include the Beer Garden, Castaway Grill, South Snacks, BZ Red Hots, and All American Popcorn. We ended up eating dinner there and sat at one of the picnic tables while enjoying the acoustic opening band.
The kids craft when we were there was crayon rubbings and there were also opportunities to pay for henna, face painting, and caricatures. We also stopped by the Animal Ambassador area a couple times and were able to pet a snake and learn about ducks. The kids entertainment stage was set up under a nice tree for shade.
General Schedule for Each Friday and Saturday
4:00-6:00 p.m. – Opening act on the Main Stage
4:00-8:30 p.m. – Kid Crafts
5:00-6:30 p.m. – Animal Ambassador
5:30 p.m. – Rhino Zoo Chat
6:00 p.m. – Dolphins in Action
6:00 p.m. – Kid’s Entertainment on the Kid’s Stage presented by JULIE, Inc.
6:30 p.m. – Giraffe Zoo Chat
7:00 p.m. – Headliners on the Main Stage
9:00 p.m. – Laser light show at the Main Stage
It looked like people started setting up lawn chairs and blankets between 5:30 and 6:00 pm to get ready for the headlining band.
Schedule by Day
July 28, 2017
Opening Act: Makena Hartlin
Kids Entertainment: Juggling Show
Headliner: Brass Buckle Band (Country)
Brass Buckle Band is Chicagoland’s premier country-rock band! Young, highly energetic, and very talented, this group of musicians has been compared to the likes of major touring acts such as Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Toby Keith, and many others. Brass Buckle Band is not just any live concert; it is a live musical experience!
July 29, 2017
Opening Act: Mark Konzen
Kids Entertainment: Juggling Circus Show
Headliner: One Moment From Glory (Rock/Pop Covers)
One Moment From Glory (or OMFG) is a Chicago-based Top 40 cover band that always brings the party. Formed in 2011, OMFG has been getting the crowd dancing and partying with their unforgettable, high-energy performances.
August 4, 2017
Opening Act: Mike Hayes
Kids Entertainment: Puppet Show
Headliner: Hello Weekend (Top 40)
Hello Weekend takes audiences to a whole new level, not only with their incomparable style and sound but also by performing today’s biggest chart-topping hits and recreating them flawlessly. Be it Pitbull, Bieber, Rihanna, Gaga, the newest song out, or that one song that you can’t seem to get out of your head, Hello Weekend will definitely have you singing along and wanting more. One of the newest cover bands to hit Chicago, Hello Weekend has had the opportunity to perform at some of the city’s greatest stages (House of Blues, Cubby Bear, etc.).
August 5, 2017
Opening Act: DJ
Kids Entertainment: Safari Show
Headliner: House Party DJ (Tim Spinnin’ Schommer)
House Party brings to the zoo acclaimed Chicagoland award-winning DJs who will have the crowd on their feet dancing to tunes all night long.
August 11, 2017
Opening Act: Tim Flynn
Kids Entertainment: Variety Show
Headliner: Hi Infidelity (Classic Rock)
Hi Infidelity rocks the hits from the ‘80s and today: Journey, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, and Boston, to name a few, along with some Buckcherry, Daughtry, Maroon 5, and even Bruno Mars, among today’s hits. The band was voted as the Best Rock Cover Band and Best Male Vocalist multiple times, and Bobby Scumaci has been voted Best Keyboardist in a local magazine’s Annual Readers Poll. A Hi Fi show is a total concert experience; the band prides itself on recreating the songs as you know them and boasts the best harmonies around.
August 12, 2017
Opening Act: Amy Yore
Kids Entertainment: Variety Show
Headliner: Dishwalla (Alternative/Rock)
Dishwalla is a platinum-selling, award-winning alternative rock band with a career spanning more than two decades. After taking a break for several years, the band reformed in 2008 with original members Rodney Browning Cravens on guitar, Scot Alexander on bass, George Pendergast on drums, Jim Wood on keyboards, and Justin Fox as lead vocalist.
Summer Nights is included with the purchase of general admission: $19.85 for adults and $14.50 for children ages 3 to 11 and seniors 65 and over. Parking is $12. Guests who arrive after 4:00 p.m. for Summer Nights will receive $2 off admission and $6 off parking. Special value pricing also includes a choice of one free attraction: Butterflies!, The Carousel, Dolphins In Action (6:00 p.m.), Hamill Family Play Zoo (closes at 6:00 p.m.), Hamill Family Wild Encounters, or Dinos & Dragons. Discounted zoo admission tickets may also be purchased at any Chicagoland Meijer store throughout the year.
This post is sponsored by Brookfield Zoo.