I want to make the Christmas season as magical as possible for our girls, so the Holiday Magic Experience at Brookfield Zoo was on my bucket list. We had skipped last year because A was only 8 months old, making this was our first time with our two girls. We had a blast, but I’ll admit it’s a workout to go anywhere with two kids. It’s totally worth the 45-minute drive to Brookfield, though.
Activities at Holiday Magic Experience include a 41-foot Christmas tree, zoo chats, musical trees, photo opportunities, and Santa and Mrs. Claus meet-and-greets. While we didn’t take part in all activities because we were already worn out, we did enjoy our family walk around the zoo for about an hour and 45 minutes. Events like this are harder now that A doesn’t want to stay in her stroller. When she walks she tends to fall often, and she refuses to hold my hands. When we try to carry her in our arms she screams “Walk!” One hack to keep the little ones entertained in their stroller: light-up toys. That’s what we discovered on this visit.
My favorite part of our visit was strolling through the lighted arch that was synchronized to holiday music and the neighboring trees. It’s so fun! (You can see it in our video below.) I am also a fan of photo opps like a sleigh and polar bears.
Stuff we didn’t experience on this trip: ice carvers and ice skating. We might go back at some point this month if time allows, because with two little ones it can be difficult to do everything. While walking around we did see the wolves, which were active, and a polar bear who decided to go No. 2 in front of everyone. That seemed like a message for all of us.
Along the pathways you’ll see trees decorated by various groups, families and companies. I love the different themes for each tree. It’s a festive way to spend a weekend night in December if you’re in the Chicago area.
We are members, so admission to the Holiday Magic Experience was free for us. Regular tickets are:
- Adults $21.95 ($20.95 online)
- Seniors 65 and over: $15.95 ($14.95 online)
- Children 3 to 11: $15.95 ($14.95 online)
Dates are Saturdays and Sundays Dec. 14-15, 21-22, and Thursday-Tuesday Dec. 26-31. The holiday festivities start around 4:30 and the zoo closes at 9 p.m. Parking can take a bit so arrive early!