Brookfield, IL

Check out these animals eating popcorn on National Popcorn Day at the Brookfield Zoo

Jennifer Geer

Because sometimes you need a break from the news
Zachary the gorilla reaches for popcornBrookfield Zoo

(CHICAGO) You may have missed National Popcorn Day this past Wednesday, January 19th. But zookeepers at the Brookfield Zoo remembered to celebrate. And they did so by letting popcorn rain down on the western lowland gorillas.

The Brookfield Zoo, about a 20-minute drive from Chicago in the suburb of Brookfield, is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Lowland gorillas enjoyed the popcorn

Throughout the day on Wednesday, popcorn burst out of timed feeders (part of the zoo's enrichment program) located in the gorilla's habitat in the Tropic World: Africa building. The gorillas watched the popcorn shower down around them and spent the day foraging for it.

According to a press release, offering treats to the animals, such as popcorn, provides enrichment for the animals by encouraging them to forage for their food.

And lucky for us, the zoo got video of the event, which they posted on their Twitter feed.

Here is Kamba, a western lowland gorilla watching the popcorn as it showers down on her from the feeder as she tries to catch it in her hands.
Kamba the western lowland gorillaBrookfield Zoo
Kamba the western lowland gorillaBrookfield Zoo

Tapirs and chickens also eat popcorn

Other animals that joined the popcorn party include two lowland tapirs (Sonny and Sorghum) and a Polish chicken, Imelda. Rest assured, the zoo only gave the air-popped popcorn to the animals that could safely eat it.

See Sonny the tapir, enjoying his popcorn treat.
Sonny, a lowland tapirBrookfield Zoo
Sonny, a lowland tapirBrookfield Zoo

Here is Imelda, the Polish chicken pecking at her popcorn. Although she appears to be more excited over a mealworm she discovered at the bottom of the pile.
Imelda the Polish chickenBrookfield Zoo

Did you know?

The U.S. is the top producer of popcorn in the world. Americans eat 13 billion quarts of popped corn per year, and it's the official snack of Illinois. Illinois is also one of the top-producing states in the nation.

How about at home? Can pets eat popcorn?

Zoo animals aren't the only ones that can enjoy an occasional popcorn treat. Cats and dogs can eat popcorn providing it is only popcorn. It must not contain any salt, butter, or oil.

The high fats from butter and oils can lead to intestinal issues in both cats and dogs, so make sure if you share your popcorn with your furry friend, it's air-popped. And take care with unpopped kernels, they can get stuck in teeth or cause choking hazards.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

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