Where: 2001 N Clark St, (312) 742-2000
When: Always free. Open year round. Check here for more information. You are required to Book your visit in advance. Reservations are released every Sunday and Thursday at 4 p.m. CST, so be sure to check back if reservations for your desired date aren’t currently available. Most buildings, including animal buildings, will remain closed until further notice.
Gates open: M-F 7AM-6PM and Sat-Sun, Holidays 7AM-7PM. Most buildings open at 10AM.
The zoo is spread out over 35 acres and has 13 habitat buildings, the Farm in the Zoo, 4 facilities buildings, 6 dining options and 3 gift shops. The best way to tackle the zoo is to print out the Visitors Guide and make a plan. Guides are also available at any gate when you enter the zoo.
- There are six entrances/exits called “Gates.”
- Some habitats have activities (listed below). You can get the daily schedule at Gateway Pavilion #27. All activities are subject to cancellation due to animal needs or inclement weather. You can also contact Guest Services directly at 312-742-2355.
- If you get to the zoo before 10AM there is a possibility some animals may be outside.
- The numbers below correspond to the zoo map.
- The zoo encourages picnicking. Many families bring in large rolling coolers. There are many places to picnic listed below.
- Start early. The crowds grow as the day wears on.
3 Regenstein African Journey: Animals indigenous to Africa including hippopotami, giraffes, and crocodiles.
Polar Bear A lone polar bear now resides there. He may or may not emerge.
Penguin Habitats – The new penguins have arrived.
2 McCormick Bird House: Birds from the tropics, seashores, forests, wetlands and savannas.
Activity (check schedule): Free Flight Feeding. View birds from around the world as they flock together during this live feeding.
1 Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit: bald eagle and snowy owls and more.
17 Cafe at Wild Things (organic food) Café at Wild Things Menu
27 Gateway Pavilion: Guest Services. Get the day’s Activity Schedule here. Also they conduct free, guided tours of the zoo’s current sculpture exhibition. Nature in Motion: Sculpture at Lincoln Park Zoo and Sculpture at Lincoln Park Zoo Map. ***Update 1/22/2016The Zoo took these maps off their website.***
4 Regenstein Macaque Forest: Japanese snow monkeys exhibit.
Activity (check for schedule): Snow Monkey Science. Learn how touch-screens will let scientists study how snow monkeys think.
Activity (check schedule): Build Your Own Primate Can you make a monkey that stays warm in the cold—or spots prey at night? From eyes to tail, build your own primate at our special interactive station!
18 Eady Levi’s Landmark Cafe: hot dogs, fries and snacks
25 Lionel Train Adventure – Rides cost $3 per person per ride. Tickets are sold at the station. This is a seasonal attraction that will not operate during winter or inclement weather conditions. Value Ride Passes are available at $12 for 5 rides at the train or carousel.
7 Kovler Sea Lion Pool – Harbor seals. Exhibit includes underwater viewing area.
Activity (check schedule): Seal Training and Feeding Looking to connect to the aquatic world? Watch keepers as they train and care for the zoo’s harbor seals.
8 Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo:– kid-friendly home for North American animals lets visitors see red wolves, black bears, North American river otters and American beavers up close. The Tree Canopy Climbing Adventure lets kids climb into a forest canopy rising 20 feet into the air.
9 Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House: newts, lizards, rattlesnakes, sloths, moles, wallaby and more.
Activity (check schedule): Meet an Animal From nose to tail, scales to fur, the zoo’s ambassador animals offer a hands-on connection with wildlife.
6 Kovler Lion House: Lions, tigers, leopards and other large cats. Sometimes you can hear the lions roaring all the way on Clark Street.
26 AT&T Endangered Species Carousel – Tickets are $3. Value Ride Passes are available at $12 for 5 rides at the train or carousel.
28 Judy Keller Education Center
5 Helen Brach Primate House: moneys and gibbons
29 Tadpole Room: Located on the lower level of the Park Place Cafe where you can eat your picnic lunch indoors.
10 Hope B. McCormick Swan Pond: Ducks and swans
11 Waterfowl Lagoon: flamingos and more.
31 Foreman Pavilion – covered outdoor area for resting and picnicking area.
12 Regenstein Center for African Apes: Chimpanzees and gorillas.
Activity (check schedule): Great Ape Training Session Join us at Regenstein Center for African Apes to see how gorillas and chimpanzees participate in their own care. Get there early. People crowd up to the exhibit and you won’t be able to see anything.
30 Bus Gate (Lockers, picnic area)
Cafe Brauer Gate
13 Antelope & Zebra Area: An assortment of mammals, including camels, zebras, antelope, red kangaroos and more.
Nature Bridge Gate
15 Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo – 14 acres open for walking, picnicking and relaxing in addition to the 35 acre zoo grounds. A natural ecosystem offers a haven for native birds, frogs, fish, turtles, insects and more.
32 People’s Gas Education Pavilion: Designed by Jeannie Gang.
14 Farm-in-the-Zoo – Visitors can take part in seasonal gardening demonstrations, see cows, sheep, chickens, pigs and ponies, greet the goats in the goat contact yard and enjoy interactive learning stations in the Main Barn.
The Main Barn is filled with interactive exhibits for guests of all ages. Eggsplore the Nest invites guests to experience “hatching out” of an oversized egg. The Farming & Weather station lets guests experience the rush of a tornado, the crackle of lightning and the rumble of thunder.
Activity (check schedule): Edible Garden Learn where your food comes from! Volunteers from Chicago’s Green City Market share the latest garden activities—and goodies—in the heart of the Farm-in-the-Zoo.
Activity (check schedule): Cow Milking See how a typical family farm combines rural life with modern technology to milk its Holstein dairy cows.
Zoo architecture (There used to be a page on the Zoo website with great info about the architecture but the Zoo has removed it).
2 McCormick Bird House – Designed by the zoo’s first director, Cyrus DeVry, and opened in 1904, this home for winged residents features 10 habitats that replicate the dense jungles, sandy coasts, running streams and grassy plains of the birds’ native homes. The tropical Free Flight Area enables guests to walk among fluttering birds. The McCormick Bird House was last renovated in 1991, a three-year, $2.8 million process.
18 Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café – This little building was originally built to display animals, but by 1899 the zoo began serving refreshments out of it. (There are stalls at the ground level, perhaps for hoofed animals, and smaller enclosures above for birds.) The Landmark Café, named in tribute to the matriarch of the restaurateur Levy family, has undergone a series of renovations. In 1988 its Victorian stained-glass windows were restored and the copper cupola topping the building was refurbished. The café was again refurbished in 1999, and a bright-red roof was added. While classic fare like popcorn is served, Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café also dishes out hot dogs and French fries.
5 Helen Brach Primate House – Originally built in 1927 as a small-mammal house, the Helen Brach Primate House is considered one of the major landmark buildings on zoo grounds. A two-year renovation was completed in 1992 at a cost of more than $2 million, creating more naturalistic exhibits with vines, trees and murals depicting the howler monkeys’, pied tamarins’ and white-cheeked gibbons’ native habitats. The oak tree across from the outdoor gibbon exhibit is two centuries old, making it one of the eldest oaks in the state.
7 Kovler Sea Lion Pool – This pool was built to accommodate Lincoln Park Zoo’s first pair of sea lions, which arrived in 1879. A 200,000 gallon saltwater habitat, the pool features a pupping cove where animals can go to give birth. In the late 1990s, more than 4,000 Lincoln Park neighbors and friends contributed $1.4 million to the Kovler Sea Lion Pool’s renovation, improving among other things the underwater-viewing area where guests can marvel at the aquatic acrobatics of the seals that currently reside here.
19 Park Pavilion / Park Place Café – Now housing the zoo’s main restaurant, Park Place Café, Park Pavilion served as the city’s first aquarium from 1923–1937. It was transformed into the Reptile House, then closed again in 1994 for renovation, reopening as Park Pavilion in 1998. This building’s historic facade, which includes stone carvings of aquatic life, was preserved during the renovation. Also during the renovation, workers uncovered an intact snake skeleton and a time capsule from the 1930s that included coins, medals and printed materials. Former Zoo Director Marlin Perkins had his office in the basement of the building. Perkins’ popular television program, Zoo Parade, was actually filmed in a studio that is now the café’s kitchen.
6 Kovler Lion House – This landmark, designed by Prairie School architect Dwight Perkins, featured two dozen exhibits when it was built in 1912. The interior of the Kovler Lion House was renovated in 1990, reducing the exhibits to 10 to create larger spaces for the residents. The building’s historic significance ensured the Great Hall was preserved during renovations. South outdoor exhibits were expanded in 2007, affording more space for the cats and red panda to prowl.
20 Café Brauer – Also designed by Dwight Perkins in 1908 and originally known as the South Pond Refectory, Café Brauer is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1987, The Lincoln Park Zoological Society became responsible for a full-scale restoration of Café Brauer, most of which hadn’t been used since the late 1930s. Many original details, including the entire tile roof, were re-created or restored, which attracts wedding parties who marvel at the beauty of this treasured building.
Carlson Cottage (not labeled on zoo map, located just south of Cafe Brauer) – Designed by Joseph Lyman Silsbee in 1888, Carlson Cottage is one of the oldest buildings still standing at Lincoln Park Zoo. Its name is derived from the caretakers of the graveyard that once lay just steps from the building. This small, ornate building just south of Café Brauer was originally designed as a “comfort station,” a fancy name for a public restroom. The building was renovated in 2008, earning a Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence. Today the building serves as headquarters for the zoo’s volunteer gardeners, who lend their time to beautify the landscape that surrounds the cottage.
Getting there and away:
- Buses #151 and #156 stop at the zoo’s West Gate (Stockton & Dickens) and near the Farm-in-the-Zoo (Stockton & Armitage)
- Bicycle racks are located near the East Gate, West Gate, Café Brauer and Lincoln Park Conservatory with additional racks along Cannon Drive and Stockton Drive.
- Parking is $20-$35.