Saturday, March 25, 2017
Cosley Zoo in Wheaton, IL
With the lovely weather yesterday, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and visit Cosley Zoo in Wheaton. Cosley is a charming little zoo full of native wildlife and domestic farm animals. Due to its nice size, we spent many days there when our daughter was younger. We also love that the zoo focuses on local animals, so truly representing Illinois. A hidden gem!
When we first enter the zoo, we usually make a beeline for the duck ponds. We have a fun time attempting to identify ducks. Placards around the zoo aid in identification.
After communing with the ducks, we enjoy visiting the farm animals in and around the barn. The day of our visit was particularly pleasant, so all of the farm animals were outside.
While we love visiting with farm animals, we are entirely enamored with the native animals at the Cosley Zoo. One of the issues I have with other zoos is a focus on exotics. I appreciate zoos that focus more on native animals because they are often working with local conservation efforts and the animals are suited for the climate. Above you may be able to pick out the two sleeping bobcats. Bobcats are native to Illinois and typically not seen be humans because they are nocturnal and prefer remote areas. Bobcats were a threatened species for a time but their population has rebounded due to conservation efforts.
Other native animals include foxes, raccoons, deer, a coyote and more. The raccoons above were having a nice rest!
The zoo also has a nice aviary with cedar waxwings, cardinals, robins, owls, hawks, kestrels and more. The aviary has been updated in recent years and really looks wonderful!
The lovely, compact zoo is perfect for families with little ones. There is plenty of room for strollers. There also is a nice picnic area. Plus, there is a fun trolley to climb aboard. The zoo also has a gift shop and a seasonal concession stand.
The dream of Cosley Zoo began in 1973 when Paula Jones donated several acres of land to the Wheaton Park District in the memory of Harvey Cosley. Over the years, the zoo has been able to expand to add more exhibits and serve its conservation missions. Cosley Zoo is a member for the Forest Preserves District of DuPage County effort to restore the Blanding's Turtle. Cosley also maintains a Frog Watch Program that engages citizens in monitoring wetland sites for frogs. The Cosley Zoo also is home to several fun events including a holiday light display. The zoo is truly a local treasure to have on your list!