Brookfield Zoo Opens New Nature Area for Families

Flower-shaped percussion instruments allow zoogoers to use their imaginations.

Brookfield Zoo has unveiled a new nature oasis that includes more opportunities for nature play.

One side of the Hamill Family Nature Plaza is all about relaxation, with seating and more than 10,000 perennial plants and nearly 670 trees and shrubs that will be in full bloom by next summer. Oversized chimes and flower-shaped percussion instruments allow families to create beautiful sounds together while a nest offers a fun place to climb in and pretend to be a bird.

The other side of the plaza is all about discovery. Among the offerings are a water interpretation garden, a science discovery garden with bench seating for zoo education programming and a sensory garden that features accessible spaces, raised garden beds and planting spaces for all abilities.

Also new is the Peacock Café and Grill, featuring a menu themed around sustainable dining. Options include locally grown produce, ice cream made with sustainably sourced palm oil, grass-fed beef burgers, antibiotic-free chicken and sustainably harvested Antarctic salmon. For parents, the zoo’s beer, Hair of the Frog, is on tap.

The Hamill Family Nature Plaza sits at the south end of the park on the former Baboon Island site.

If you go


Hamill Family Nature Plaza at Brookfield Zoo


8400 31st St., Brookfield


For more info and tickets, visit


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Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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