What’s New2018-10-03T15:15:56+00:00
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What’s New

September 2018

35th annual Cosley Classic Golf Outing

The 35th annual Mike Williams Cosley Classic Golf Outing, presented by Martin Whalen Office Solutions, was indeed a wild day of golf and more for everyone that came out to support the Cosley Foundation.

Cosley Classic 2018

172 golfers were greeted that morning by one of Cosley Zoo’s animal ambassadors, Gretchen the Norwegian Fjord horse. While she was enjoying the bright sun that came out just in time for the event, golfers enjoyed 18 holes at one of the area’s top courses, Arrowhead Golf Club.

A snake, turtle, hedgehog and more mingled with guests during cocktail hour followed by a delectable steak dinner as well as a raffle and silent auction.

More than $40,000 was raised for the Cosley Foundation, a charitable 501(c)(3) organization that supports ongoing exhibit development and animal care at Cosley Zoo. Since its inception, the Cosley Foundation has consistently raised $150,000 to $200,000 annually. The foundation has sponsored the building of the Vern Kiebler Learning Center, a 66,000-gallon duck pond, an amphitheater, a veterinary clinic, exhibits for bobcats, red fox, coyote, raccoons, rabbits, white-tailed deer, birds of prey, pigs, and chickens. They also supported the construction of the new Animal Care Center that opened in the fall of 2017.

In addition to raising funds for the zoo, the golf outing marks the annual award for the presentation of the Michael T. Williams Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship awards $2,000 each year to past or present Cosley Zoo interns or Junior Zookeepers based on their pursuit or plans to pursue a college degree in a field of study that demonstrates a commitment to conservation and the natural world. Because of so many qualified applicants this year, three recipients were awarded the scholarship.

Scholarship recipient Faith Lagunas joined the Cosley Zoo team in the summer of 2016 as an Education Intern. Since her internship, Lagunas has continued to be involved with the zoo in the roles of summer camp staff, concessions attendant and currently as a seasonal educator all while getting her Associate of Arts degree from the College of DuPage. This fall Lagunas will continue her education at Northern Illinois University majoring in Environmental Studies. Her career goal is to be a director of a zoo or nature centers education department.

Fellow recipient Sarah Habeck started at Cosley Zoo as a Summer Teen volunteer in 2016. She then joined the Junior Zookeeper program. Originally wanting to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, the experiences she gained from the Junior Zookeeper program made her realize that she wanted to focus on conservation instead. Habeck will be a freshman at Vanderbilt University this fall where she will begin working towards a bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology.

Two-time recipient Caroline Fisher is a student at Indiana University studying animal behavior. Her dream is to continue working in the zoo field, and ultimately become a zookeeper for elephants or great apes. Fisher has spent countless hours at Cosley Zoo cleaning exhibits, working events and conducting educational programs, all to promote the importance of wildlife conservation.

“Due to the generosity of Williams Architects, for the past eight years Cosley Zoo has been fortunate to be able to advance the careers of promising college students through the Michael T. Williams Memorial Scholarship,” Zoo Director Sue Wahlgren said. “There is nothing quite as rewarding as having the opportunity to assist past Junior Zookeepers and interns in their quest to fulfill their commitment to the care and conservation of animals or education of the public.”

Next year’s Mike Williams Cosley Classic Golf Outing will be held on Monday, August 5, 2019.

July 2018

Cosley Zoo celebrates International Save the Vaquita Day

Cosley Zoo staff members and volunteers spent July 7th, International Save the Vaquita Day, educating visitors about this critically endangered porpoise, whose population currently numbers fewer than 20. As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Public Engagement Team for this species, Cosley Zoo is dedicated to spreading the word about the plight of the vaquita. Visit vivavaquita.org to learn about how you can help.

May 2018

Nubian goat kid born

Buttercup, one of Cosley Zoo’s Nubian goats, gave birth to a male kid on Thursday, May 17th. Buttercup and her kid, Charlie, can be visited in the Vern Kiebler Learning Center (big red barn) on your next visit to Cosley Zoo.

Cosley Zoo debuts duck and chicken feeding punch cards

Cosley Zoo now offers duck and chicken feeding punch cards for sale. Purchase ten duck or chicken feedings and receive two free! Punch cards are available for sale for $20 each in the Wild Side Gift Shop. Please visit our Daily Activities page for duck feeding dates and times.

November 2017

Cosley Zoo welcomes White-tailed Deer Darla

Cosley Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of a new white-tailed deer, “Darla”. Darla came to Cosley Zoo from a wildlife rehabilitator who cared for her when she was very young. Because she was in human care for a prolonged period of time, Darla was unable to be released into the wild. Darla is three months old, and still exhibits the white spots which white-tailed deer have as young fawns. These spots assist in camouflaging the youngster, who spends most of his or her first months hiding on the ground from predators. Over time, the spots slowly disappear. Darla joins eleven-year-old Stella and nine-year old Lucy to make a herd of three.

October 2017

Cosley Zoo welcomes Cora the llama

Please help us welcome Cora the llama, the newest member of our Cosley Zoo family! Cora is 16 months old and came to Cosley Zoo from a llama breeder in Wisconsin. Zookeepers report that she is spunky, but also easygoing and adjusting well to her new home and roommate, Franklin, and she makes the keepers laugh daily at her silly antics. Cora is ready to meet Cosley Zoo visitors, and we hope that you will be able to plan a trip to see her soon!

Cosley Zoo debuts Coyote Connection program

Cosley Zoo’s Wiley the coyote is ready to take center stage as “Coyote Connection” is introduced to daily programming.

The program will invite participants to go behind the scenes with zookeepers to get an up-close and personal look into Wiley’s life and observe a coyote training session. Guests will also learn about the important role coyotes play in the environment and how humans and coyotes can safely coexist.


This 30-minute, interactive experience is similar to the Bobcats Backstage program that began in 2013 and has since received exceptionally high reviews.

“Cosley Zoo’s mission is ‘To create connections between people and animals that inspire lifelong conservation of the natural world.’  The Coyote Connection program does exactly that by providing our visitors with an opportunity to have an up-close visit with a coyote and learn more about this animal’s importance in our ecosystem from our expert zookeeper staff,” said Cosley Zoo Education Supervisor Natasha Fischer.

Zookeeper Heather Johnson proposed the idea after learning about a similar interactive exhibit at a different zoo. “My first thought was this would be a really great experience for guests and they will see how cool coyotes are,” she said. “As I began doing research for the program content, I began to learn even more about how essential coyotes are to the ecosystem and how many people have a negative perception of them.  This behind-the-scenes opportunity will showcase how important coyotes are and why we need to coexist with them.”

This will be a year-round addition to the zoo’s daily events, taking place at 1-1:30 p.m. Check-in will be at 12:45 p.m.

“Coyote Connection” is $12 per person, with Wild Bunch Plus and Keeper Club members receiving a 10% discount. Reservations can be made onsite at the zoo or by calling the Wild Side Gift Shop at 630-665-5534. The program is first-come, first-serve with a limit of six people per session. For more information, visit cosleyzoo.org.

July 2017

Cosley Zoo sends junior zookeepers to Teen Conservation Leadership Conference

The Teen Conservation Leadership Conference (TCLC) is an event open for teens from all over the Chicagoland area, created by teens, for teens. This three day conference took place July 11 – July 13 and featured presentations on a variety of topics, ranging from animal care to subjects in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, from both industry experts and teen participants of the Chicago Zoological Society’s King Conservation Science (KCSS) program.

Cosley Zoo Jr. Zookeeper's attend Teen Conference

Cosley Zoo sent 10 teen junior zookeepers to the conference at the Illinois Institute of Technology for the first two days of the conference and Brookfield Zoo for the third. Five of the 10 junior zookeepers presented at the conference along-side Jackie Karnstedt, Cosley Zoo Educator and Teen Specialist.

The Junior Zookeepers (JZ) program is for teens in 7th through 12th grades that have an interest in animals, biology, and conservation. Program participants learn about animal care, zoo education, and guest services through hands-on learning opportunities as well as volunteer to help with zoo special events, animal care, and educational programs. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2017/2018 program year.

“This was such a cool opportunity for our junior zookeepers,” said Karnstedt. “Not only does it give them the chance to learn about conservation careers, volunteer, and internship opportunities, they also get insight into what it’s like to be on a college campus, and develop networking skills by talking with various college and university representatives and other conference attendees. To have all of this information available in a single place is amazing! ”

In addition to the presentations at the conference, there was an Expo showcasing colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations that focus on STEM and conservation topics. KCSS is a program dedicated to conservation leadership and college readiness for high school students from all over the Chicagoland area. The keynote speakers included Susan Korn, Vice President of Nuclear Project Management and Chad Pregracke , 2013 CNN Hero of the Year and founder and president of Living Lands & Waters.

“My favorite part of the conference was listening to the many different presentations and learning about all the unique STEM careers,” said junior zookeeper Ethan Wallace. “Since going to conference, I learned how to become more environmentally conscious in my everyday life. The most impactful take-away was the littlest things we do to think of the environment can create meaningful impacts.”

For more information about the conference, visit czs.org/teenconference or to learn more about the Cosley Zoo Junior Zookeeper program, visit cosleyzoo.org.

June 2017

Family Nature Club Debuts

Looking to get your family out to play in nature? Not sure where to start? Join our Family Nature Club to explore and discover the wonders of nature.

Why Play in Nature?

It encourages families to spend quality time together and helps strengthen family bonds
It fosters an appreciation for nature and the desire to preserve it
It supports child development (intellectual, emotional, social, physical)
It encourages creativity and problem solving
It enhances cognitive ability
It increases physical activity

Families are invited to join zoo staff for nature activities at the zoo or excursions to local natural areas.

All families are welcome. We’d like to extend a special invitation to families with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other similar conditions who’d like to spend more time together and experience the benefits of nature play.

Summer Family Nature Club Schedule
Sunday, June 11 10-11A at Cosley Zoo
Sunday, June 25 10-11A at Cosley Zoo
Sunday, July 9 10-11A at Lincoln Marsh Natural Area
Sunday, July 23 10-11A at Lincoln Marsh Natural Area
Sunday, August 13 10-11A location TBA

Cosley Zoo is proud to offer this amazing opportunity free of charge thanks to funding by the Disney Conservation Fund, through a collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Cosley Zoo welcomes Diedra, Guernsey dairy cow

Deidra is almost three years old and came to Cosley Zoo from a cattle breeder who specializes in Guernseys. This breed is known for producing a high-quality milk containing above-average levels of butterfat and protein. Be sure to stop by and visit Deidra!

March 2017

Cosley Zoo welcomes Buttercup, the Nubian Goat

Please help us welcome Buttercup, our newest Nubian Goat! Buttercup came to Cosley Zoo from a farm in central Illinois, where she was formerly a show goat. This four-year old doe (female goat) is easily distinguished from her new herd-mates by the large white patches on either side of her body. She is very friendly and often comes right up to the fence to greet visitors. We are excited that Buttercup has joined our zoo family.

January 2017

Cosley Zoo welcomes Franklin the llama

The newest member of Cosley Zoo’s “herd” is Franklin, a seven-month-old cria (young llama) who came to Cosley Zoo from a llama breeder in Iowa. He is settling in nicely to his new home. Visitors can see Franklin either in his barn stall or in the domestic animal yards just north of the barn.


September 2016

Cosley Zoo receives Nature Play grant

Cosley Zoo has been awarded a $5,000 “Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo & Aquarium” grant from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) with support from the Disney Conservation Fund. These grants are presented to AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to encourage family nature play and conservation education. Cosley Zoo will use the grant for its new “Nature Play for All” project, helping individuals and families on the autism spectrum receive the benefits of nature play.

Cosley Zoo Welcomes New Animals

New to Cosley Zoo this fall are an Eastern Chipmunk, a Nine-banded Armadillo, and a French Lop Rabbit!

Alvin the Chipmunk comes to Cosley Zoo from Oakbrook Terrace Park District’s Lakeview Nature Center. Alvin has impaired vision, but has been adeptly maneuvering around in his new surroundings. Look for Alvin in the Wild Side Gift Shop.

Dig, the Nine-banded Armadillo, came to Cosley Zoo from Arkansas in July. Dig resides behind the scenes, and will be a future animal ambassador for the zoo.

Belle, a French Lop Rabbit, is another future animal ambassador. The French Lop is the largest breed of lop rabbit, weighing 10-14 pounds as an adult. Look for Belle in the rabbit yard or the rabbit building.

August 2016

Coins for Conservation

Cosley Zoo’s conservation efforts don’t stop at our own five shady acres.

As one of the 233 accredited facilities of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), Cosley Zoo contributes to AZA SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction), an initiative that’s part of AZA’s 2,700-plus field conservation projects in over 115 countries.

AZA SAFE focuses on ten endangered species, and starting August 17, 2016, you can donate directly to three of them at the Coins for Conservation kiosk just past the zoo’s entrance.

Support the cheetah, whooping crane, and vaquita, and help save a local species, too: the Blanding’s Turtle. Your donations go to work across the globe and right here in DuPage County.

Turn that change in your pocket into change in the world!


April 2016

Barnyard Bedtime Stories

Cosley Zoo’s education staff introduced “Barnyard Bedtime Stories”, a new program for families. Participants wear their pajamas and bring their teddy bears to keep them company as they hear animal-themed stories, make a craft, have a snack, and say goodnight to the farm animals before going home to sleep. We plan to offer this program periodically throughout the year, so be sure to check the Wheaton Park District program guide for information on our next session.

March 2016

Meet our New Birds

Cosley Zoo welcomes some new arrivals to our aviary (bird habitat) this year! A House Finch and an American Robin joined the exhibit in mid-March. The Robin and Finch have been busy the past few weeks exploring their new home. Both of these birds sustained wing injuries in the wild and were brought to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. As a result of their injuries they have limited flight capability which means they are unable to survive in the wild. However, they are a perfect fit for Cosley Zoo where we will provide them with a lifelong home.

Male House Finches have a bright reddish orange color on their head, throat, and chest while the females have no red. Male and female Robins look very similar, with the exception of the male’s head being a little bit darker in color.


American Robin


House Finch