Lincoln Park Zoo | Lincoln Park Conservatory

Within Lincoln Park you can find two great free Chicago attractions: Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Founded in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo is the oldest free public zoo in the country. The zoo is known for its vast array of animals on display. Nearby is the Lincoln Park Conservatory, founded in the 1890s, with its beautifully landscaped gardens, wide walking paths, and plenty of shade trees interspersed throughout. This is definitely a warm and inviting atmosphere to spend a vacation enjoying and learning everything you could about all of nature’s wildlife that surrounds us.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln ParkConsidered to be one of the most beautiful zoos in the country, the Lincoln Park Zoo is an easy place to lose a day. Throughout the Park you’ll find lagoons and mature trees artfully landscaped in a way that allows for a tranquil atmosphere and an up close and personal look at nature’s wildlife. There are a number of different ways you can enjoy your stay at this Chicago Zoo.  And admission is FREE.

Lincoln Park Zoo Hours, Operating Times and Location

  • November – March: 10:00 am until 4:30 pm (gates are open 7 am until 5 pm)
  • April – May:  10 am until 5 pm (gates are open 7 am until 6 pm)
  • May 24–September 1: Weekdays 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m.–6 p.m.), Weekends 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m.–7 p.m.)
  • September–October: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m.–6 p.m.)

The zoo is subject to early closure due to bad weather, so do check their website for updates before going.  Lincoln Park Zoo is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago at 2001 N Clark St.  Use our Google map for directions to the zoo.  The zoo is serviced by Chicago Transit Authority.  Bus #151 stops right at the entrance, while the #22 and #36 stop two very short blocks away.  The Zoo is open all year and admission to the zoo is free. However, expect to pay a minimum of $20.00 for parking during the off-season and even more during peak season.

Things to Do at Lincoln Park Zoo

  • Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo

This family-friendly walking exhibit allows visitors of all ages to observe red wolves, black bears, river otters and beavers in a naturally wooded area. Children will really enjoy watching these animals interact with each other in much the same way they would in the wild. All the exhibits are completely kid-friendly and allows everyone to get nose to nose with creatures that would otherwise be off-limits.

Indoors they can see all kinds of reptiles and insects at their eye level and explore their natural habitat without fear. Afterwards they can explore the upper canopy at the Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure.

  • Regenstein African Journey

ALincoln Parkt the Regenstein African Journey Exhibit, you can experience the true sights and sounds of Africa. Observe the dwarf crocodiles and pygmy hippos as they move about their rain forest pools right next to the dry thorn forest that serves as home for meerkats and lovebirds. Wander outside and see the towering giraffes, warthogs, and African wild dogs roaming the Savanna.

You’ll also get to see apes, chimpanzees, and gorillas climbing through trees and digging through the mulch as they interact in indoor and outdoor habitats created to match their natural living environment.

  • Nature Boardwalk Exhibits

If you arrive early, you can get the most out of a walk along the Nature Boardwalk! Take in the beautiful view of the distant Chicago skyline while at the same time learn how this redeveloped ecosystem has become a home to all types of native birds, frogs, fish and insects.

This man-made outdoor classroom has served to educate many people young and old about how nature works and what wildlife has to teach us all. Throughout the day, you’ll find different walking exhibits that will teach you valuable lessons.

The Feathered Friends exhibit starts at 9AM where you can learn about different birds, their habits and contributions to our lives. Guides will teach you the tricks to successful bird watching techniques so that you can continue to observe these feathered friends even after your day at the zoo.

  • At 10AM and 1PM you’ll get to observe the natural habitat for pond plants and animals. This walking exhibit will explain how these creatures function on a daily basis and how their ecosystem benefits local wildlife.
  • At 11AM and 2PM you get a true history lesson about how this famous Chicago site was developed and gradually transformed into one of the nation’s most beautiful outdoor classrooms. Learn how they took a stretch of urban land and turned it into an oasis in the middle of a big city.
  • Finally at 3PM you get a taste of the Fishy Fun exhibit. Children will love watching the different varieties of colorful fish as they play and splash in the water. Watch their eyes light up when they learn of the roles that fish play in the Nature Boardwalk Ecology.

Check out this video showing the baby gorillas.

  • The Judy Keller Education Center

Over the years the education staff of the Judy Keller Education Center has developed many different programs that were designed to appeal to the zoo’s most diverse audiences. They are constantly working to enhance the existing programs and create new ones. So every year there will always be something new and informative to look forward to.

Conservation Camp usually launches in mid-June and by the end of summer more than 500 campers will have had the opportunity to explore every corner of the zoo. This and a number of other interactive programs developed by the education staff will allow for more than enough learning experiences while studying the many exhibits found at the Lincoln Park Zoo.


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Lincoln Park Conservatory

Lincoln Park Conservatory Hours, Operating Times and Location

Lincoln Park Conservatory is open Daily 9am-5pm.

The conservatory is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago at 2001 N Clark St.  Use our Google map for directions to the conservatory  The conservatory is serviced by Chicago Transit Authority.  Bus #151 stops right at the entrance, while the #22 and #36 stop two very short blocks away.  The conservatory is open all year and admission t is free. However, expect to pay a minimum of $20.00 for parking during the off-season and even more during peak season.

Lincoln ParkThings to do at the Lincoln Park Conservatory

  • Great Garden

The formal garden is the oldest public garden in Chicago. Here you will find the Eli Bates Fountain.  It is a beautiful fountain nicked Storks at Play. It was designed by famous sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Two pieces of art can be found in the garden as well. A monument to German poet Friedrich Schiller and one to William Shakespeare

The actual conservatory is a large Victorian glass building with four halls.

  • The Palm House
  • Fernery
  • Tropical Room
  • Orchid Room

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