As part of my birthday celebration, Big A booked us a day trip to the Brookfield Zoo just outside Chicago Proper. As fate would have it, the temperature that day ended up being 37 degrees so we trudged through the zoo on one of the coldest days in Chicago so far this season. I know some of you are cringing at the thought, but this actually wasn’t the coldest that Big A and I have been at the zoo. Once upon a time, we went to the Dallas zoo when it was 27 degrees (unheard of cold in DFW!) So what I’m saying is, we’re winter time zoo experts and below are 5 reasons why you should go to the zoo in the winter if you ever get the chance.
1. It’s cold. This seems blatantly obvious because this is a post about visiting in the winter. But think about it, in the summer you’re wandering around place to place looking for shade, downing water, feeling the sweat roll down your back. In the winter, however, you’re bundled up tight, maybe holding someone you love close as you stroll through the park. Take a moment and grab a hot chocolate or even a coffee and enjoy the opposite of a hot sweaty death.
2. Your experience is different. In the summer, you won’t see grizzlies, polar bears, or wolves frolicking around. Instead you’ll see them and lots of other animals taking a nap in the shade. In the winter however, these animals are in their element and are feeling much more playful. I’ve had some pretty incredible once in a lifetime experiences at the zoo in the winter. This last week, we got up close to a polar bear and got to fully appreciate their size and beauty.
3. The crowds are smaller. Because the zoo is viewed almost exclusively as a summer time activity, visiting the zoo in the winter is a great to avoid large crowds, strollers, and kids (in case that’s not your thing).
4. The crowds are smaller. (You just said that.) I know, but this is a different point. Because the crowds are smaller, your experience will be vastly different. You’ll linger longer, knowing that you aren’t standing in someone’s way. I’ve seen artists sketching animals at the zoo before because there’s so much room and quiet. Additionally, animals will be more reactive. Have you ever been in the reptile house and wondered if all the animals were fake or wondered if they were even in their tanks? I assure you, if you attend the zoo in the winter, this question will be put to rest. Snakes slither, alligators move and look around, even the Komodo dragon goes for a walk. It sounds creepy. It is creepy. It is also, incredible.
5. You’ll feel more relaxed. At this visit to the zoo, I noticed parents feeling more relaxed around their children because the crowds were smaller and they felt no rush from others. If kids wanted to run an exhibit or two ahead, their parents would allow them to go without worry because they could still see them. If the baby needed a quick change or was throwing a fit, parents didn’t feel like they needed to rush to get out of the way. It seemed to be a more peaceful experience for all.
Overall, my vote for zoo visits is definitely winter. I grew up going to the zoo so to be honest, I’ve seen enough lions and rhinos to last me until I make it over to Africa. But that is something to keep in mind if you decide to make the trip in winter, there are animals that you will not see because they can’t be outside below a certain temperature. If you have questions or comments regarding what you’ll see at your zoo in the winter, give them a call. Also feel free to ask here, I’ve been to plenty of them all over.