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Brookfield Zoo in hog heaven over ranking

Thursday, May 06, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
by ANDREW HERRMANN

A new ranking puts Brookfield Zoo in the top five nationally for being "family friendly.''

Child magazine ranked zoos based on a 64-question survey centered on kid-focused criteria, from availability of milk at concession stands, to tables for diaper changing in men's rooms, to employees being available to answer questions.

About 150 zoos were investigated, with responses weighted. Brookfield came in fourth, but, said senior editor Karen Cicero, the top five were within "a hair's difference.''

The top family-friendly zoo was Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Fla., followed by San Diego Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoo, Brookfield and the Phoenix Zoo.

Lincoln Park Zoo was not ranked because officials did not return the survey, said Cicero.

A panel of zoo professionals helped develop the questions and make the rankings, she said.

Brookfield was praised for its Hamill Family Play Zoo and its children's petting zoo. Judges also praised the availability of fruit and vegetables at snack stands, its dozen water fountains built low enough for children and the number of educational programs geared toward kids.

At $8 for adults and $4 for children, with 400 exhibits, Brookfield scored the top possible points awarded for "value,'' said Cicero.

The top 20 zoos are listed at www.child.com.

 

 



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