Ice Age Giants are Unleashed at the Brookfield Zoo

April 1, 2022

About 20,000 years ago, Earth was in the midst of the last major ice age. During that time, our human ancestors were living alongside enormous animals that roamed the Earth for millions of years. These were the Ice Age Giants who died off in a mass extinction about 10,000 years ago.

This summer, Brookfield Zoo and Dino Don, Inc., are unleashing more than 20 life-sized, animatronic re-creations of these giants that lived in North America and Eurasia during the Ice Age. They include the following giants:

  • Mastodon (18 feet long)
  • Woolly mammoth (15 feet tall)
  • Giant ground sloths (20 feet long)
  • Giant rodent (10 feet long)
  • Short-faced bear (11 feet long)
  • Giant ape (10 feet tall)
  • Saber-toothed cat (5 feet long)
  • Giant bird (12 feet tall)

Adding to the life-like effect, parts of the animals—including the head, eyes, mouth and tail—move as they did in real life. The display’s creator, Don Lessem, CEO of Dino Don, Inc., has been digging, reconstructing, writing about and robotizing dinosaurs and other creatures for the past for 30 years. Junior paleontologists can be like Don and dig for fossils in a 64-square-foot dig pit.

The Ice Age Giants exhibit is open now and runs through October 30 at the Brookfield Zoo (8400 W 31st St., Brookfield, IL.) The exhibit is free with a general admission ticket to the zoo. Zoo general admission is free for children 2 years old and under and for active, reservist, and retired members of the military.