Cosley Zoo is Celebrating 50 Years!

Join us as we celebrate all year long with special events, the zoo’s first-ever GALA and anniversary merchandise!

Cosley Zoo has accomplished much since opening as Cosley Children’s Park and Museum in 1974. As the zoo grew, the name changed in 1976 to Cosley Animal Farm and Museum. In 1987, the Vern Kiebler Learning Center was built and, in 1999, the park took on its current name, Cosley Zoo.

Cosley Zoo continues to evolve and improve its exhibits, programs, and conservation efforts. In 2000, Cosley Zoo became accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Then in 2001, began initiatives to save Blanding’s turtles, an Illinois endangered species, with more than 4,000 turtles reared and released back into the wild to date!

Many natural wildlife habitats were added in 1993 and 1997. Additional parking was constructed in 2009, a bobcat exhibit debuted in 2012, and in 2017 a new quarantine facility opened for welcoming new animals to the zoo. In 2022, two Canada lynx arrived and are thriving in their new exhibit.

Look for new signs to be placed throughout the zoo in 2024, giving visitors a glance at the milestones Cosley Zoo has attained over the past 50 years.

Join us on Saturday, August 17 for a celebration of the first day that Cosley opened back in 1974.

The day’s events will include:

  • Swag bags for the first 100 visitors
  • Refreshments
  • History Chats
  • Craft Station
  • Scavenger Hunt

…and much more anniversary fun!! Stay tuned for a complete schedule for the day!

You can actively join in the celebration by sharing photos of yourself and your family at Cosley Zoo for our special photo project.

Be sure to circle September 7, 2024, on your calendar for our first-ever Zoo Gala! Gala Details

Cosley Zoo Entrance, ThenCosley Zoo Entrance, Now
Vern Kiebler Barn, ThenVern Kiebler Barn, Now

Sponsorship Opportunities

Partner with us as Cosley Zoo celebrates 50 years!

Contact us at [email protected] for more information and to secure your spot.

Share Your Cosley Zoo Stories

As you visit the zoo this year, we hope that you will help us celebrate by sharing your precious memories and photos taken throughout the years at Cosley Zoo.

Things You Can Share:

  • Then and Now: Re-create a photo from the past
  • Share photos from the past
  • Tell us your family’s stories from visiting Cosley Zoo over the years
  • Why do you love Cosley Zoo?

Photo Submission Guidelines:

  • Photos may be submitted until May 31, 2024, and may be featured on Cosley Zoo’s social media or website.
  • Please provide details for your photos, including the year and subject matter. A story along with the photo is appreciated!
  • Photos should be in JPG, JPEG, TIF, or PSD format, at 300 dpi resolution.
  • Any photos submitted will only be used for the purpose of our anniversary celebrations.

Celebrate #CosleyZoo50 in 2024

Follow along and share with us as we celebrate 50 years!

The History of Cosley Zoo

A timeline of significant achievements.

Cosley Zoo opens as Cosley Children’s Park and Museum in 1974.  As the zoo adds exhibits and amenities, the name changes to Cosley Animal Farm and Museum before changing in 1999 to Cosley Zoo.