|The Brookfield Zoo is a zoo located in the Chicago suburb of Brookfield, Illinois. The zoo covers an area of 200 acres (809,000 m▓) and houses over 400 species of animals.|
Brookfield Zoo opened on July 1, 1934 and quickly gained international recognition for using moats and ditches, instead of cages, to separate animals from visitors. The zoo was also the first in America to exhibit giant pandas, one of which has been taxidermied and put on display in Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. In 1960, Brookfield Zoo built the nation's first fully-indoor dolphin exhbit, and in the 1980s the zoo introduced Tropic World, the first fully-indoor rain forest simulation.
Perhaps the most famous resident of Brookfield Zoo was Ziggy, a 6.5 ton bull elephant that was kept in an indoor enclosure for nearly thirty years after it attacked its trainer in 1941. During the 1960s and 1970s, Ziggy attained a cult following in the Chicago area, and the elephant was finally released in 1973 amid much fanfare. Unfortunately, the elephant fell into his exhibit's moat in March 1975 and died seven months later.
Another resident that achieved legendary status was Binti Jua, a female gorilla. In 1996, a young boy fell into the gorilla exhibit of Tropic World, and Binti Jua carefully cradled the boy and brought him to her trainers. Binti Jua is still on exhibit at Brookfield Zoo and is very popular among guests.