Special Events

Cosley Zoo hosts a variety of events every year, including the popular Run for the Animals in June and The Festival of Lights & Christmas Tree Sale in December.

2017 Zoo Calendars

NEW 13 month wall calendar features beautiful images of the zoo’s animals and includes all of the special event dates so you don’t miss them.

Free calendar with $25.00 donation or purchase in the gift shop for $7.95.

Busy Bunny Egg Hunt

Saturday, April 8, 5-6:30P

Cosley Zoo’s Busy Bunny Egg Hunt is a fun family activity you won’t want to miss! This after-hours event will include a visit with the Easter Bunny, an egg hunt for ages 2-10, activities, and animal visits. Participants will also enjoy private after-hours access to the zoo. Online registrations are processed at https://www.eventbrite.com external_link_www

  • Pre-registration required
  • $13.50 ages 2-10; $5 ages 11-Adult; Free for children under 2

Registration is open through April 5 or when filled.

Party for the Planet

Saturday, April 22, 10A-2P

Let’s celebrate the wonders of the natural world and learn how we can help keep it safe. Environmentally friendly organizations and businesses will be on-site to educate us about how little actions can make a big difference in our community. Visit with your favorite Cosley Zoo animals and be part of the largest combined Earth Day celebration in North America along with visitors to over 100 other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

  • No registration required
  • Regular admission rates apply

Endangered Species Day

Saturday, May 20, 10A-2P

Come to Cosley Zoo to discover more about endangered species both in Illinois and from around the world. Learn about Cosley Zoo’s efforts to protect the Illinois endangered Blanding’s Turtle, and how you and your family can make a difference for some of these amazing animals. Live animal interactions will take place throughout the event.

  • No registration required
  • Regular admission rates apply

Run for the Animals

5/10K and Zippity Zoo Run

Saturday, June 3, 7:30A (5/10K start time)

Don’t miss this popular community run that supports Cosley Zoo! The first 2,500 runners receive a long sleeve Tech T-shirt and all are invited to stay for post-race refreshments and an awards ceremony.

The top three male and female finishers in the 5K and 10K races will receive a free pair of shoes compliments of Nike and Dick Pond Athletics. Medals will be given to the top three finishers in each age division.

The ½ mile Zippity Zoo Run, for children ages 5-10, steps off at 8:45 AM. All Zippity Zoo participants receive a shirt and medal.

Strollers are allowed. Anyone participating with a stroller must start in the stroller corral at the rear of the race, regardless of expected pace.

Be sure to stick around and enjoy the Taste of Wheaton festivities.

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

USATF Certification Number: IL14055JW

5K & 10K

Through 5/3 5/4 – 5/29 Packet Pick Up (5/31 & 6/1)
Race Day (6/3)
Individual $30 $35 $40

Zippity Zoo 1/2 Mile

Through 5/29 Packet Pick Up (5/31 & 6/1)
Race Day (6/3)
Individual $15 $20

Sponsorship Opportunities

Contact TJ Hicks at 630.510.5105 or at tjhicks@wheatonparks.org.

Volunteers Needed

Register now as a Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals Volunteer.

Sponsored by:

cosley zoo run sponsors logo

GoGo Squeez
KIND Snacks
Wheaton Center Apartments

CARARace Wheaton

Register in Advance and Save!


Bentley Thursdays

Thursdays, June 15, 22, 29 and July 6, 13 11A-Noon

Look for Cosley Zoo’s mascot, Bentley the Bobcat, during his Thursday morning strolls around the zoo!

  • No registration required
  • Regular admission rates apply

Picnic with the Animals (NEW!)

Friday, June 16, 5:30-8P

Bring your own picnic supper and join us for an evening full of fun. Games, activities, animal visits and after-hours access to the zoo are all included in your fee. The Coyote Café concessions stand and Wild Side Gift Shop will also be open if you wish to purchase food or gifts. This event will be held rain or shine. 50% of proceeds will go to support conservation of the endangered Whooping Crane.

  • Pre-registration is encouraged
  • $20 per family or group up to 5 people
  • Additional family/group members $5 each

Cosley Zoo Uncorked

Thursday, July 20, 5:30-8:00 PM

Looking for a wild night out? We have just the thing! Enjoy a distinctive wine tasting experience, complete with the animals and atmosphere of Cosley Zoo. Join us for wine sampling, hors d’oeuvres, a raffle, giveaways, and more! You must be 21 years or older to attend. Non-refundable payment is required at the time of registration.

  • Pre-registration is required by Friday, July 14
  • $40 per person
  • $75 per pair

Cosley Classic Golf Outing

Get your foursome together for the 33rd annual Mike Williams Cosley Classic Golf Outing at Arrowhead Golf Club. Golfers enjoy lunch, a steak dinner, gifts, awards, raffle prizes, and a silent auction. Take your shot at winning a hole-in-one. This is the perfect outing to share with friends and business associates.

The day includes:

  • 18 holes of golf
  • Lunch
  • Steak dinner
  • Raffle
  • Gimmicks on the course
  • Animal visits from Cosley Zoo

$175 per golfer | $700 per foursome | $50 dinner-only ticket

Buy Now

All event proceeds support Cosley Zoo and its mission to promote the understanding of the relationship among humans, animals, and the environment through recreation, education, and wildlife conservation.

Interested in sponsorship?
Contact TJ Hicks at 630.510.5105 or at tjhicks@wheatonparks.org.

Costume Character Day

Thursday, August 10, 10A-12P

Come out to Cosley Zoo and meet Elephant and Piggie, the stars of the popular Mo Willems’ books.

  • No registration required
  • Regular admission rates apply

Pumpkin Fest

October 1-31

Taking in the beautiful fall colors at Cosley Zoo is a must do! Come see the animals in the crisp fall air, listen to the squeals of excitement from the children conquering the straw pyramid or finding their way through the corn stalk tunnel, and take in the thousands of pumpkins scattered on the zoo’s lawn. Children’s rides are also available.

Apples, gourds, pumpkins, cider, cornstalks, and various sizes of straw bales are available to purchase. Be sure and check out the fall merchandise in the Wild Side Gift Shop, too.

  • Regular admission rates apply
  • Fee for rides

Sponsored by:

pumpkin fest sponsors logo


Friday, October 27, 5:30-7P and 7-8:30P

Don’t miss this fall festival full of Halloween fun! Come dressed in costume to enjoy loads of activities. Take a stroll through our “not so scary” straw maze, a gander around the spooky pond path, meet live animals, carve or decorate a pumpkin, play games, enjoy refreshments and make crafts. Stop at various stations along the Trick or Treat Trek to collect your supply of holiday goodies. Space is limited, so register early. Non-refundable payment is due at the time of registration.

  • Pre-registration is required
  • Cosley Zoo member fees – $7 ages 3-14; $4 ages 15-adult; Free ages 2 and under
  • Non-zoo member fees -$10 ages 3-14; $5 ages 15-Adult; Free ages 2 and under

Festival of Lights and Tree Sales

November 24-December 30

A winter visit to Cosley Zoo has become a family tradition for many. Make sure it is one of yours! Cosley Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with 20,000 twinkling lights creating spectacular displays, an amazing selection of Christmas trees for you to purchase, hot chocolate, and holiday gifts. The Festival of Lights and Tree Sales begin the day after Thanksgiving (11/24/17) and continue through December 30. The zoo is open 9A-9P daily; lights come on at 3P. All proceeds support the zoo, its animals, programs and development.

  • Zoo Admissions is free during the Festival of Lights and Tree Sales. Donations are greatly appreciated.
  • Cosley Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
  • Cosley Zoo is open 9A-Noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

Christmas Tree Lane

Gather together your scout group, friends, coworkers or family members to help decorate Cosley Zoo for the holidays! We provide a lit five foot tree and you provide wildlife-friendly ornaments and imagination. Trees are displayed through December. Payment is due upon reservation; trees are limited so call today!

  • $45/tree
  • Limit 35 trees
  • Trees decorating to take place November 26-December 2

Santa’s Craft Corner

Saturday Nov. 25, Dec. 2 & 9, 10A-2P

Skip the long line at the mall and visit Santa at the zoo. While you are here, make a craft or two and be sure and tour the zoo before you go. Your admission includes crafts, refreshments, and of course, a visit with the man in red himself. Santa’s Craft Corner is held in the Kiebler Room, located on the second floor of the large barn.

  • No registration required
  • Admission is $5/family
  • $3 for printed photo with Santa

Interested in sponsoring an event?

Please contact:

Margie Wilhelmi
Director of Marketing

Benefiting Cosley Zoo – Proceeds from all events support Cosley Zoo and its activities, including educational programs and wildlife conservation.