By Jennifer Young

When most of us think about zoos, we think of hot summer days and maybe even hot summer smells. While most zoos shutter when cold weather hits, Brookfield Zoo heats up the wintery weather with a wide array of activities for people of all ages. Whether you’re looking for something to do with friends, your significant other, or with the kids, you’ll want to check out the happenings at Brookfield Zoo.

Reindeer Run, November 29th

During various November events at the zoo like the Corporate Tree Trimming, the zoo takes on a festive look. At the Reindeer Run, you can sign up–or cheer on friends–to run the two-mile course set amidst the dazzling holiday lights and decorations. After the run, participants get to enjoy music, food, drinks, and best of all–visits with special animal ambassadors. The race is billed as non-competitive and all ages are welcome. It will also be held in rain or snow so be sure to dress accordingly. For more details, click this link .

Lights & Lagers, December 6th

If drinking and mingling with zoo animals sounds exciting to you, you might want to consider attending this 21-and-over event . The zoo’s reindeer will be in attendance! Various breweries from the Chicago area will be presenting samples for attendees to enjoy. Interestly, the zoo is planning to set up tasting stations around the park, such as the Seven Seas Underwater Viewing or the Swan Pavilion’s Holly Jolly Theater. Some of the breweries planning to participate in this event include New Belgium, Finch Beer Company, Revolution, and Miller Coors.

Breakfast with Santa, December 7, 8, and 14th

Attend a Breakfast with Santa event at the zoo’s Discovery Center and then enjoy spending the rest of the day enjoying the zoo’s festive decorations. This children’s event will feature live music performances by Banjo Buddies, a delicious kid-friendly buffet, and a visit with Santa Claus. Other costumed characters will also be in attendance.

Santa’s Holiday Jazz Brunch, December 15th and 22nd

The Brookfield Zoo is hosting a brand-new event this season that will feature live jazz performances complemented by an all-you-can-eat brunch that will include champagne poured tableside. Both adults and children may attend. Be sure to nab a photo with Santa!

Holiday Magic

Throughout late November and most of December, the zoo will feature Holiday Magic, an annual zoo lights festival that features more than a million twinkling holiday lights, ice carvers, zoo chats, and even ice skating. A family-friendly event, Holiday Magic also includes other events like cupcake and cookie decorating, magician performances, and special light shows. Both Santa and Mrs. Claus will make appearances, and there will also be holiday carolers and dancers performing at the zoo’s Holly Jolly Theater. The Chicago Wolves Ice Rink is a major winter draw at the zoo and many come just to skate amidst the beautiful larger-than-life light displays.

Be sure to visit the zoo’s events pages to find out specific details. Some events require a reservation. Pricing information for members and non-members can also be found at each event’s specific landing page. If you’re looking for something a little different to do this holiday season, consider attending one of these fun zoo events.