Events 2018-05-23T21:13:59+00:00
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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.

Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 5K | 10K | Kids’ ½ Mile

Saturday, June 2 | 7:30A 5K & 10K Start; 8:45A ½ Mile Start

Memorial Park, 208 W. Union, Wheaton

Join more than 2,500 runners for the 37th annual Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals. Runners and spectators are invited to a Party in the Park after party following the races. The party will include an awards presentation with awards given to the top overall male and female runners and age-category winners in the 5K & 10K. All 1/2 mile kids’ race participants will receive a finisher’s medal.

Sign up for Race-Day Updates NEW

Text COSLEY to 50555 for Race Day updates and alerts.

2018 Registration Pricing*

 5K/10K Kids’ 1/2 Mile
Through-May 1  $30  $15
May 2-28  $35  $15
May 30-31 Packet Pick-up  $40  $20
June 2 Race Day  $40  $20

*No refunds.

Please note: Children ages 4 and younger who are participating in the Kids’ 1/2 Mile race must be accompanied by a parent or responsible guardian aged 14+. Parents and guardians do not need to pay for a 1/2 Mile race registration. All children participating in the 1/2 Mile race must be registered and paid.

Packet Pick Up & Race Day Registration


Dates: Wednesday, May 30 & Thursday, May 31
Time: 8A-7P
Location: Wheaton Park District Community Center – Map

Two opportunities prior to race day for picking up race packets and/or registering for the 5K, 10K, or 1/2-Mile run! Taste of Wheaton carnival wristbands will also be available to purchase for $20.


Date: Saturday, June 2
 6:15-7:15A (5K/10K); 6:15-8:30A (1/2 Mile)
Location: Memorial Park – Map

Packet pick up and race registration will be available on the day of the race.

Frequently Asked Questions

Race FAQs (PDF)


Parking is available in the city lot at the corner of Wesley and Hale, one block south of Memorial Park. A limited number of street parking spaces are available.


Interested in volunteering at the race? Visit

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorships are available, for more information contact Carey Moreland at 630.510.4961 or at

Race Results

Race results are typically available at 11A on race day; time may fluctuate based on duration of race.

Course Information

Race Map (PDF)
The course is USATF certified (#IL14055JW)

CARA logo is linked to website (opens in new window)

The Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals is certified by the Chicago Area Runner’s Association.

The 10K course is part of the Chicago Area Runner’s Association Circuit Series.

Thanks to our friends at EZG Manufacturing for creating the Snapchat geofilter for our event!

Sponsored by:

Bear Paddle Swim School Logo

Bentley Thursdays

Thursdays, June 14, 21, 28 and July 5, 12 | 11 am – Noon | Cosley Zoo

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

Friday, June 15 | 5:30 pm – 8 pm | Cosley Zoo

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. This event is held rain or shine.

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

50% of proceeds support conservation of giraffes.

CZ conservation
AZA Saving Species From Extinction

Cosley Zoo Uncorked

It’s wine with a little bit of wild!

Thursday, July 26 | 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm | Cosley Zoo

Enjoy an evening at Cosley Zoo while sampling from a selection of more than 60 wines, listening to live entertainment, mingling with some of the zoo’s animal residents, and entering for a chance to win fantastic raffle prizes.

The first 450 guests will receive a commemorative wine glass.


  • $40 per person
  • $75 per couple

Guests will be able to order wine available for sampling at a discounted price from Famous Liquors. 10% of wine sales will be donated to Cosley Zoo.

Must be 21+ to attend.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Interested in event sponsorship? Contact Carey Moreland at 630.510.4961 or at

Sponsored by

Cosley Classic Aug 2017 event photo taken by Larry Kmiecik

Photo © Kmiecik Imagery

Mike Williams Cosley Classic Golf Outing

Monday, August 6 | Arrowhead Golf Club, 26W151 Butterfield Rd, Wheaton

Get your foursome together for the 35th annual Mike Williams Cosley Classic Golf Outing. Tee-off to support the important work of Cosley Zoo and enjoy a fun-filled afternoon at the beautiful Arrowhead Golf Club.

Outing Features:

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


  • $200 per golfer
  • $750 per foursome
  • $50 dinner-only ticket

Register 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 volunteering for this event?

Please check back for ways to get involved!

Sponsored by:

Cosley Classic Aug 2017 event photo taken by Larry Kmiecik

Pumpkin Fest

October 1 – 31

Taking in the beautiful fall colors at Cosley Zoo is a must do! See the animals in the crisp fall air, listen to the squeals of excitement from the children conquering the straw pyramid 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. Check out the fall merchandise in the Wild Side Gift Shop, too.

  • Regular admission rates apply
  • Fee for rides

Sponsored by

Wheaton Bank & Trust Logo
Cosley Classic Aug 2017 event photo taken by Larry Kmiecik


Don’t miss this fall festival full of Halloween fun!

Friday, October 26 | 5:30 – 7 pm and 7 – 8:30 pm

Come dressed in costume to enjoy loads of activities. Take a stroll through our “not so scary” straw maze and 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. All ages are welcome, most activities are geared for ages 2 and up.

Space is limited, so register early. Non-refundable payment due at the time of registration.

  • Pre-registration is required
  • Fees -$12 ages 3-14; $6 ages 15-Adult; free ages 2 and under
  • Cosley Zoo member fees* – $9 ages 3-14; $5 ages 15-adult; free ages 2 and under

*Corresponding to Membership Plan Benefits

Cosley Classic Aug 2017 event photo taken by Larry Kmiecik

Festival of Lights and Tree Sales

November 23 – December 30 | Cosley Zoo

A winter visit to Cosley Zoo has become a family tradition for many. Make it one of yours! Cosley Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights, 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 (11/23/18) and continue through December 30.

The zoo is open 9A-9P daily; lights come on at 3P.

  • 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
Cosley Classic Aug 2017 event photo taken by Larry Kmiecik

Christmas Tree Lane

November 25 – December 1 | Cosley Zoo

Gather your scout group, friends, coworkers or family members to help decorate Cosley Zoo for the holidays! We provide a lit five foot tree; you provide wildlife-friendly ornaments and imagination. Trees are displayed through December.

Payment due upon reservation.

  • $50 per tree
  • Limit 40 trees
  • Tree decorating to take place November 25-December 1
Cosley Classic Aug 2017 event photo taken by Larry Kmiecik

Santa’s Craft Corner

Saturday Nov. 24, Dec. 1 & 8 | 10 am – 2 pm | Cosley Zoo

Skip the long line at the mall and visit Santa at the zoo. While you are here, make a craft or two and tour the zoo before you go. 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
  • $5 per 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.