Cosley Zoo

Looking for a low key way to introduce your child to the zoo?  Then look no further than Cosley Zoo! This small but well maintained and fun zoo is a great way to get up close and personal with animals, as compared to other zoos like Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoo, and a fraction of the cost.


This 5 acre zoo includes both farm and native animals and focuses its work on education the community about these animals.  The native habitats created for the animals are well kept and many of them are just plain lush and gorgeous all year round.

There are 20 exhibits at the Cosely Zoo, featuring over 150 animals so that you can happily spend a few hours there exploring all there is to see.  There is also an interactive sandbox open seasonally, which is always a hit with kids (not so much with parents, but oh well, it’s fun to get messy).

My boys love visiting the water exhibit at the Cosley Zoo, walking over all of bridges and watching the ducks, geese, and other water features.  You can feed the ducks for $1 per serving from 10-10:30 and 3-3:30.

Another fun exhibit is the “hands on” train.  Within this redesigned train car, there are lots of puzzles and other manipulative toys to play with that feature animals and other nature elements.


With Cosley Zoo’s dedication to education, they have many different events and activities available for adults, children, and groups to learn about all of the animals showcased at the zoo, including backpacking programs, behind the scene tours and chicken feeding.

There are also different programs that you can sign up for through the Wheaton Park District, ranging from story times to camps and even learning how to complete zookeeper tasks.


Food and Refreshments

One of my absolute favorite parts about the zoo is that it is on such a small and contained scale that it is a breeze taking both of my boys there at once—without any help.  A great way to keep things more manageable is by packing a lunch, especially since there are great picnicking spots throughout the zoo.  There is also a café that serves kid friendly fare if you simply want to sit back and relax instead of preparing food for your trip.

Oh, and we highly recommend the ice cream bars and popcorn.  Because what is a zoo visit without a little treat?


Non residents are charged $5 for admission, $4 for seniors, and children under 17 are free, no matter where they live.


If you are looking for other animal activities, simply search “nature” or “zoo” in the search box.

Have fun exploring!
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  1. MJ says

    I really love a small zoo. Our local zoo is big but it is set up in a way that small children can enjoy smaller portions including an area all for themselves including a splash pad. This zoo looks perfect for the littlest explorers and animal lovers.

    • amandasimkin says

      The Brookfield Zoo, where we frequent the most, has a splash pad which is awesome for hot days. It’s just annoying that my boys want to get wet on cold days, too!

  2. Danielle K says

    I actually really love visiting small zoos. The big ones are great, but it’s nice to not be somewhere so crowded and to spend more time watching each of the animals. If I’m ever in the area, I’ll be sure to take my son there.

  3. Kita says

    Love the zoo the one here in Atlanta I hate though so huge and so not organized I feel like a maze so I stopped but there is a smaller petting zoo that my kids and I love to go to that is smaller and quieter.

  4. rochkirstin says

    Visiting the zoo with kids is not only a fun adventure but also something educational. Some things just can’t be learned only through books. Seeing animals and interacting with them plus the different programs this zoo offers sound really great!

  5. Uplifting Families says

    I love going to the zoo but it is huge and takes forever. This zoo looks like a perfect alternative because it’s smaller.

    My youngest enjoyed going to the zoo because he got the chance to see live animals and tell us what they were. We had practiced learning animal names before his zoo trip.

    • amandasimkin says

      I love prepping my boys with vocabulary and other facts before we go somewhere new…learning at its finest!

  6. Tammilee Tips says

    I love to visit new zoos when we travel. This looks like a fun zoo to visit and explore for the day. I love the petting zoo part of the zoo, that is always so much fun with kids.

  7. Sage says

    I adore animals, and I’m not a fan of zoos or aquariums and would never visit one because they make me sad for the animals.

    Cute animals though, and very reasonable admission prices. It looks like a nice day out for families, I just hope the animals are treated well.

  8. Melissa says

    I have never been there before but it sure looks like a great place to visit next time we head back to Chicago. I especially would like to get a closer look at that cow, how pretty! Looks like you had a great time!

  9. Tiffany says

    OMgoodness the fox! I think I would have loved this as much as my Kiddies would. What a fun day and experienve. Getting to learn about the animals and having fun all at the same time.

  10. HauteFrugalista says

    your kiddies are so cute!! I love zoos! they are a great way to teach them about animals, wildlife and value our nature. Theyre a cool way to spend time outdoors without having to get muddy! haha
    Dee T

  11. Christy Hoover says

    This would be such a great idea for my little one as he is beginning to identify with animals and wildlife. This is definitely a perfect day for our family to go out for a day trip.

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