Tropic World (Primate House) - Brookfield Zoo

Tropic World is divided into three sections with apes from three different continents: South America, Asia, and Africa, in that order. I think Asia has the best layout, with really open views, while the best attraction, the gorillas, are in Africa.

Tropic World involves long walks and strollers have to remain outside (though assistive mobility devices may be brought in). There is a long path just to get into the building, and the exit drops you off at a totally different area, so you’ll have a walk back to retrieve a stroller outside.

For bathrooms, if you go back out the entrance, you’re close to the pretty good South Gate bathrooms. If you go out the exit on the far side, the closest bathrooms are by the entrance to the Great Bear Wilderness: walk towards the bison and take a right when you get there, then your first left. The bathrooms are near the African painted dogs.


South America

South America is fine, but not as nice as the next two rooms. Look out into the habitat for the spider monkeys and for the beautiful anteater. Also watch the ropes going over the walking path—a small golden tamarin will sometimes climb along it. You may also be able to spot the sloth who lives just below eye level in the tree that the rope above the path connects to—though even an encouraging zookeeper with food can only get her to do so much.


Asia is my favorite room in Tropic World. The lookout immediately inside the door is great for kids of all ages to watch the white-cheeked gibbons. The gibbons are often very active, fighting over food and chasing each other, doing amazing leaps through the trees. Look into the water below, and especially towards the right, for the Asian otters who often swim or rest on the small island there. On the right is a little area for the beautiful orangutans.


Last is Africa, best known for the gorillas. The first habitat is excellent as well, with colobus, guenon, swamp monkey, and mangabeys. Not quite as active as the gibbons in the last room, they can still put on a show, especially the guenon. Where the path splits, the lower path is crowded and harder to get through, but provides a much better view. Last are the gorillas. There are likely several in the central island, and you get the best view when you walk up initially. You can exit immediately to your right, or go on the bridge to your left to see a little more of the gorillas (though the full loop is no longer available, to provide more privacy for the gorillas).

When you exit, you’ll be facing North, near the West side of the building. If you left a stroller at the entrance, head to your right to collect it. Otherwise, you may want to go straight ahead to the rhinos, or ahead and slightly to the left to see Habitat Africa or the Great Bear Wilderness.