Chicago’s second most popular attraction after Navy Pier, this menagerie is not only one of the oldest zoos in the country but also one of the last not to charge admission. Established in 1868 with just a pair of swans, its age helps to account for how well integrated it is with the surrounding North Side community. While small compared to lots of top US zoos, it is a leading light for ape research, and its park setting, duck ponds, historic café, and landmark red barn endear it to all who visit.

  • 2200 N. Cannon Drive

  • 312 742 2000


  • CTA bus 151; 156

  • Grounds open: 9am–6pm daily

  • Buildings open summer & fall: 10am–5pm daily (summer: to 6:30pm Sat, Sun & hols); winter: 10am–4:30pm daily

  • Adm: free but $2 charge for Endangered Species Carousel

  • Parking: $12

  • DA

Visitor Guide

Stop by the Gateway Pavilion, just inside the east gate, when you arrive at the zoo. There, you can pick up a free visitor guide to find out about feeding times and special events. Staff are on hand here to provide extra information about any new animal arrivals or exhibits. Parking facilities, lockers, strollers, and wheelchairs are also available there.

Lincoln Park Zoo Plan

Check out the Mexican fare year round at the Park Place Café. In summer, grab a pizza at the historic Café Brauer, which also has a beer garden – rare in the usually alcohol-free Chicago parks.

Have any animal-related questions? If so, ask staffers at the “Discovery Carts” located all around the zoo.

Top 10 Exhibits
  1. Polar Bear Pool

    The highlight of this recently remodeled pool is the underwater viewing window through which zoo-goers can spy the beautiful sibling bears pawing their way through the water.

  2. Small Mammal-Reptile House

    Replicating the warm climes of South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia, this exhibit introduces the exotic worlds of animals such as snakes.

  3. Regenstein African Journey

    Elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, and wild dogs are among the many animals to roam this expansive exhibit. Begin your walking adventure and experience total immersion in the sights and sounds of the varied African landscape around you.

  4. Endangered Species Carousel

    Ride a wooden tiger or a bamboo-munching panda on this tent-topped merry-go-round devoted to almost 50 endangered species, many of which are represented in the zoo itself. Admission is charged for this attraction.

  5. Regenstein Center for African Apes

    Simulating the natural habitat of chimps and gorillas, this exhibit offers huge indoor, tri-level spaces rigged with lifelike trees and vines, as well as an outdoor yard for use in summer.

  6. Bird House

    Here, a series of habitats showcase their native bird species. And a walk-through tropical aviary allows you to have a close encounter with 20 exotic and endangered species, such as the African fairy bluebird.

  7. Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo

    Children of all ages can feel “at home in the woods” while visiting animals native to North America, including Black Bears and Spotted Turtles.

  8. Lion House

    This 1912 structure stands out not only for its grand architecture but also the grand inhabitants. Many kinds of big cats, including Siberian Tigers, prowl – and roar – both inside the hall and in outdoor enclosures.

  9. Sea Lion Pool

    Despite the name, harbor and gray seals inhabit this pool. Watch them play at the pool’s edge or through an underground viewing window. Try to catch the 2pm feeding session.

  10. Farm-in-the-Zoo Presented by John Deere

    Keeping city kids in touch with their Midwestern roots, this exhibit offers a daily roster of activities such as goat-milking, cow-feeding, and butter-churning, and the chance to see chicks being born.

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