Big Cats - Brookfield Zoo

Big cats include the lions and tigers at Brookfield Zoo. Most are in open enclosures, without bars between you and the animals, although the leopards can jump far enough that netting is required to prevent their escape.

You can reach the Big Cats by heading southeast from the carousel or northeast from the Roosevelt fountain, or going northwest from BZ Red Hots or the dolphins. There is a main walkway that has, from West to East, lions, tigers, sloth bears, and snow leopards. There’s an additional viewing area walking around to the right of the snow leopards. Walking around to the left of the lions also has an additional viewing area for them, and leads you to the Amir leopards, which tend to be among the more active and interesting of the cats. For both sets of leopards, remember to look up along rocks to try to find them.

This area tends to be popular with kids, although most of the time there isn’t much activity to see. Animals are particularly inactive when it’s very hot or once it starts to get cold—in both extremes they may be moved off exhibit, in fact. There’s a small window towards the side of the lion and snow leopard enclosures, and if you’re very lucky you may get a view up close of them, but for the most part the best views are from the main walkway that goes by the animals.

The best nearby bathrooms are at BZ Red Hots, which you’ll find by walking East along the main Big Cats path