Beanie Baby Days at the Brookfield Zoo
The first Brookfield Zoo Ty Beanie Baby Days Giveaway promotion took place on July 26 and 27, 2003. The first 4,000 children aged 11 years or younger, who entered the zoo on either of those days received a Snocap Beanie Babies arctic fox. Children also received a special commemorative card with Snocap.
The Giveaway weekend became an annual Brookfield tradition until 2009, when Ty announced the program had been discontinued.
Beanie Baby Day “Giveaways” at Brookfield Zoo:
Only the 2003 and 2004 Brookfield Zoo promotions included a commemorative card. Beanie Babies given out during the 2005, 2006, and 2008 zoo events came with an extra commemorative swing tag attached to the Beanie. At the 2007 promotion, Independence (the bear) was given to children but without any distinguishing cards or tags.
During each year's event, the Brookfield Zoo sold additional Beanie Babies at the Ty Super Store along with other unique merchandise to raise funds for the zoo. In addition to the annual giveaways and Beanie sales, the zoo also sold t-shirts, pendants, patches, candy, and pencils to commemorate the Beanie Baby weekends. The annual events included Beanie-themed activities, such as Beanie Baby Bingo.
The six Brookfield Zoo events were the only beanie Baby “giveaways” at any zoo where the Beanie was actually "free" and included with the purchase of a general admission ticket. There were a few subsequent promotions at other zoos, but at those events the exclusive Beanies had to be purchased.
Special thanks to Chris P. from Michigan for permission to use his research and photographs for this article and some of the linked pages. His original article appeared at beaniesource.com (now inactive).