BrookfieldZooWant to meet some real Bears and Cubs this summer? The Brookfield Zoo makes it easy to enjoy learning more about the animals of Great Bear Wilderness and their endangered habitats while meeting with Chicago professional sports team players and mascots as well. As part of its Real Fan Days, visitors at Brookfield Zoo will get to meet their favorite players in person, test their skill at sports games, and enjoy themed entertainment as part of the zoo’s seven-weekend series.

Afterward, visitors can check out the Great Bear Wildnerness exhibit where they can see bears, bulls, bison, wolves, and hawks. Hard-core fans who wear the featured team’s apparel can enjoy a 20 percent discount off zoo admission.

Real Fan Days kicks off on Friday, July 8, at 11:30 a.m. on the zoo’s West Mall with festivities and a tournament featuring mascots from the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, Fire, White Sox, Blackhawks, and Wolves and members of Brookfield Zoo’s own mascot team.

Want to make sure you plan a visit while your favorite team is there? Here is the weekend line up:
Chicago Bulls on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10
Chicago Bears on Saturday, July 16, and Sunday, July 17
Chicago Cubs on Saturday, July 23, and Sunday, July 24
Chicago Fire on Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31
Chicago White Sox on Saturday, August 13, and Sunday, August 14
Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28
Chicago Wolves on Saturday, September 3, and Sunday, September 4


During each Real Fan Days weekend, the West Mall will be transformed into a sports festival reflecting the featured team’s sport and will feature player and mascot appearances, as well as additional activities, including:

– Inflatable sports centers and skill games that will allow visitors to test their own athletic prowess.
– A broadcast karaoke booth where fans can test their broadcasting abilities by trying their hand announcing memorable team moments. For example, Chicago Bulls fans will be able to announce the starting lineup, Chicago Cubs fans will be able to lead singing during the seventh inning stretch, and Bears fans will be able to do play-by-play commentary for historic games.
– A scavenger hunt will educate children about the team’s players and zoo animals and compare sport skills to iconic team animals within the zoo. Anyone who finishes the hunt can enter into a drawing for tickets to a game.
– Zoo Chats will also allow guests to learn about the animal that corresponds with that weekend’s featured team.
– A memorabilia museum will tell the history of the featured team and its fans.
– Customized activities will be tailored to team fans. For example, Chicago Cubs fans and their children will be able to make miniature “W” flags with staff from Hamill Family Play Zoo.

Great Bear Wilderness, sponsored by Dominick’s, is a 7.5-acre exhibit that opened in May of 2010 and is home to the iconic North American animals most commonly associated with Chicago sports teams: grizzly BEARS, bison BULLS, and Mexican gray WOLVES.

Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $13.50 for adults and $9.50 for children three to 11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are free. Parking is $9.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. Open every day of the year, Brookfield Zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.

Will you be visiting the REAL Chicago Bulls and Bear at Brookfield Zoo this summer?


Megy Karydes is professional writer and founder of World Shoppe, a fair trade importing business that works directly with women artisans in South Africa. She loves visiting zoos all over the country with her two little monkeys and she definitely has the Brookfield Zoo on her to do list this summer.