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Brandywine Zoo Hosts Halloween Activities for the Whole Family

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Photo courtesy of the Delaware Zoological Society

The popular and family-friendly Boo at the Zoo event returns to the Brandywine Zoo this October, and a new Halloween event for adults begins.

The Brandywine Zoo is preparing for a spooky good time this Halloween.  

Boo at the Zoo returns from Oct. 21-23 for families to enjoy. Plus, a new adults-only Brandywine Zoo Halloween event, Spirits at the Zoo, invites the 21-and-over crowd to imbibe on Oct. 28.  

Boo at the Zoo has been a part of the Brandywine Zoo’s programming for at least 20 years, says Mark Shafer, executive director of the Delaware Zoological Society.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the zoo began hosting the event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. instead of during the evening hours. The time change was well received and will continue this year. 

“We switched to a daytime event two years ago and we had greater attendance, even during COVID-19,” says Shafer. “We had close to 2,800 people over the three days, which was an all-time record. So we’re keeping with that format this year and expect another series of sellouts. I think the daytime format is something that the visitors enjoy. I know the staff enjoys seeing the kids out there and it’s a great time.”  

Boo at the Zoo invites the whole family for a “merry not scary event.” Wear your favorite costume and enjoy animal encounters with trick-or-treat stations throughout the zoo.

“Be prepared parents, there will be plenty [of candy] on hand,” Shafer quips.  

Brandywine Zoo halloween

Shafer says Boo at the Zoo continues to be successful because of its safe, family-friendly environment.  

“I think the combination of getting candy, seeing the really fun, festive Halloween decorations we have around here, along with the animal encounters, it just makes for a really nice time,” he adds.  

Children under three years old are free along with zoo members. Tickets for non-members are $9 per person in advance and $10 at the door. While non-zoo members must register online for the event, Shafer recommends everyone reserve their tickets in advance online in case of sell-outs.  

Later in the month, adults can celebrate Halloween without the kids at the zoo’s newest event, Spirits at the Zoo. On Oct. 28 from 5:30-8 p.m., guests 21 and older can enjoy an evening of spooky cocktails and liquid libations, light bites, animal encounters, and live entertainment. Costumes are encouraged. 

Shafer says the new event was inspired by requests from zoo guests and seeing other zoos create similar programming. The Sip and Stroll summer event has shown success, so it felt natural to create something for the fall.  

Entertainment for the new Brandywine Zoo Halloween event will consist of local theater groups dressed in costume to perform among the guests and live music. Plus, there will be plenty of animal encounters.  

“I think the adults love [animal encounters] every bit as much [as the kids]. They ask some really, really good questions. It really challenged the keepers, who were very knowledgeable. So the keepers enjoy it as well,” he adds.  

Tickets, which are $10 for non-members and $5 for Delaware Zoological Society members, include admission and live entertainment. Drink tickets will be sold at the event for $6. 

If the event sees success, Shafer says it’s likely Spirits at the Zoo will become a part of the zoo’s regular Halloween programming.  

“Every year we try and learn a little bit more from any event that we’ve done,” he says.  

Brandywine Zoo | 1001 North Park Drive, Wilmington | 571-7788

Related: Here’s Everything to Do Around Delaware This Month

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