Home State Summer Fun–Week 1–Brown’s Oakridge Zoo


So one of my challenges for this summer is to visit some place in IL that is fun for the kids and I each week. I am going to be writing about our IL adventures. I will admit that I would love for our IL adventures to be in Chicago for the entire summer but since I am not rich I am going to have to find ways to be creative and really am excited about trying some new places in the state.

Brown's Zoo 2

Brown's Zoo 3

This week we checked out Brown’s Oakridge Zoo in Smithfield, IL. I will admit that I was not the most excited when I thought about. In general I have a lot of anxiety at zoos because I feel bad for animals not being able to run and play in the wild. The thing is that I learned so much by talking with the curator of Brown’s Oakridge Zoo that I really learned about how most of the animals that they have are rescues. In fact if it were not for them, many of these animals would have died. Plus I could really see the love that they share for the animals in that they honestly feel like all of these “wild” animals are members of their family.

Brown's Zoo 4

Brown's Zoo 5

We got to see all of the wildlife and check out the animals that they had there first going on a guided tour of the zoo. It was really awesome to hear the stories about each animal, where they came from, and how Brown’s Oakridge Zoo had honestly helped them to have a better life. They also discussed their plans for new pens for some of the animals so that they have more room for them.
It was very refreshing to see a zoo where the animals are spoiled and well cared for.

Brown's Zoo 6

(This is my friend’s daughter, Olivia.  Actually it is Althea’s best friend and she was pretty disappointed that she did not get to go with us but she was off having fun with grandma when we went.)

Brown's Zoo 7

However the best thing about the entire tour was getting to see the tiger cub at the end and being able to feed the cub. The kids were able to hold her if they wanted to but my kids (of course) were a little timid and nervous around her. However I did get some beautiful pictures of all us with her.

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Brown's Zoo 9

Plus since my older two were not with us for this adventure I decided that I would definitely have to go back and recreate the experience with them. Both of them would really love it and would be happy to actually feed the tiger cub so it is something that I am excited to do with them.

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Brown's Zoo 11

I will give Brown’s Oakridge Zoo a 5 star rating on my 5 star scale. If you know me and my love for things to be free then you will understand how truly amazing it is that I would give any zoo a 5 star rating. However I have to say, way to go Brown’s Oakridge Zoo for some amazing memories and for offering me a great place to take my family close to home where I feel comfortable with them seeing animals caged and learning about them.  Plus it was a very affordable attraction and adventure for us.  The cost was just $3 for a child 3-13, free for children 2 & under, $6 for an adult, and $20 for unlimited use of your camera for pictures with the cubs.  We had a couple other families with us so we were able to even split this cost and all use the same camera.