Cosley Zoo in Wheaton offers an October-long celebration of the season that won’t frighten the little ones. For Pumpkin Fest, the zoo's front lawn will be bursting with the bounty of the season: pumpkins, gourds, straw bales, apples and other fall produce.
Proceeds from purchases of produce and other seasonal merchandise (available in the Wild Side Gift Shop) will benefit the continued development of Cosley Zoo. Entrance to Pumpkin Fest is included in zoo admission.
Kids can scale a straw pyramid and wind their way through a corn stalk tunnel. Tami Romejko, education supervisor, explains that the decision to make a tunnel, rather than a maze, is “more friendly for kids 6 and under because they won’t get lost or scared.”
Each Saturday in October will feature a special Pumpkin Fest event. On Oct. 12, guests will receive zoo treats and milk by 1871 Dairy. On Oct. 19, it's Cosley’s Mascot Day, when Casper the Friendly Ghost will make an appearance (the first 200 kids receive a Casper mask), along with Bentley the Bobcat and Ozzie from the Kane County Cougars. On Oct. 26, it's Sponsor Boonanza, featuring special giveaways and prizes from Community Bank, Healthsource, and Dr. David Allen.
In addition to Pumpkin Fest, Cosley Zoo presents Spooktacular on Friday, Oct. 25, an evening designed for even the youngest guests. Encouraged to come in costume, participants can take part in a variety of activities: making crafts, walking around a spooky pond path or a “not-so-scary” straw maze, trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving. Cosley Zoo staff will be in costume as they help kids with their activities and introduce them to live animals.
Spooktacular tickets cost $10 for ages 3 to 14, and $5 for ages 15 to adult. It's free for ages 2 and younger.
To register for Spooktacular, call 630-665-5534 before Oct. 21.
For more information about Pumpkin Fest and Spooktacular, including the special weekend events, visit cosleyzoo.org. Cosley Zoo is at 1356 North Gary Ave.