Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Founded in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the country's last free-admission zoos. There are over 1,200 animal residents, self-guided tours, and interactive activities with seals, polar bears, and penguins—check the schedule for timings. Don’t miss the Regenstein Center for African Apes—a popular habitat showcasing cheeky chimpanzees and majestic gorillas. Navigating the zoo is a breeze with multiple points of entry and wide paths to boot. Check for early closures before visiting and arrive in the morning to cover the majority of the exhibits. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 2-3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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  • Stephanie C
    Brooklyn Park, Minnesota149 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lots to do and see...for FREE!
    We chose to visit this zoo vs. Brookfield zoo because it was free. I expected that we would visit for 2-3 hours and that it would be just ok. We were VERY pleasantly surprised at how much there was to do and see here and ended up spending 5 hours! I think if we lived in the area and visited more often, our visits would be shorter, but we were not disappointed with our decision in the end. I strongly suggest getting there right at open because, as you would guess, it only gets busier as the day goes on. You'll also be more likely to see the animals being active rather than napping in the mid-day sun. We were lucky enough to see the 3 lion cubs come out to play with the rest of the pride and that was a highlight of the trip for us. There are several places to eat, though they are pretty overpriced. You'd be ahead to bring a lunch in. There are many places throughout the zoo, including indoors, that you can eat it. I visited both Chicago area zoos many years ago, and definitely remember the Lincoln Park zoo as being the "lesser" of the 2. That said, if you're on a budget but still want to enjoy seeing animals in very nice enclosures, pick this zoo to visit!
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 23 June 2023
  • Famsol67
    233 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Not huge but well worth a visit.
    We travelled from Central Chicago by bus. The 151 runs along the Magnificent Mile and drops you at the gates of the Zoo. Don't get off until the announcement of the Zoo. You can see the zoo through the fencing on the right but the entrance is a bit further along. The lions are in a good sized enclosure. When we were thee they were against the thick glass. As such visitors were about three inches from a pride of lions as they rested. Wow !! The Gorilla house is split between the Silverback male and his ladies and their children on one side and the males without brides on the other side. They are so impressive and not shy. They were within a foot of the glass and looking directly at people as they stared back. We were not there long as the whole Zoo was closed at 3pm for a wedding ! I saw a fair part of the Zoo. It is free to enter which is a bonus. This is a good option for a fair weather trip out of the immediate centre of Chicago without being a major trip - maybe 20 minutes onthe 151 bus along Lake Shore Drive heading north.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 26 June 2023
  • JackofPBFL
    Palm Bay, Florida1,188 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice small zoo
    This is a nice small zoo in the city. There are not as many species that you would expect to see in a zoo. They have done a particularly good job on the Lion and Gorilla habitats. Admission is free but parking is $30-$40.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 30 June 2023
  • Nicole The Prof Mom Project
    Toronto, Canada56 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely zoo
    Great zoo! Beautiful zoo, not too big in a great location. We visited a number of years ago and it looks like lots of work has been put into making the zoo even better. We went in the morning and saw the zoo keepers feeding the seals, which was very cute to watch. Love that it’s free. Definitely take advantage when in Chicago
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 4 July 2023
  • California Girl
    Georgia50 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Absolutely a must!
    Spectacular! The grounds open at 8am, hardly any animals out. We tried to avoid the hot miserable weather. But the grounds are amazingly gorgeous, clean and every flower, tree, shrub and grass is placed perfectly. And it’s free!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 29 July 2023
  • Tracy M
    Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom175 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A small zoo but still a lovely 2-3hr experience
    We are in Chicago for a few days and my daughter chose to visit this zoo. It’s FREE and a wonderful place for locals and visitors alike. It was busy but not too crowded when we visited. We managed to walk around the whole zoo in 2-3hrs, including stopping for a drink. There are plenty of places for picnics and for buying food/drinks (although these are quite pricey). The zoo is mostly on the flat, with small inclines so is easy to walk around. It’s not a full day out, but an enjoyable few hours!
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 2 August 2023
  • Michael W
    Warwick, Rhode Island39 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great zoo at a great plus.
    Lots of reviews on this one so I'll keep it short. As zoos go I would give it a solid B+. Easy to traverse. Large, diversified, clean, and wait for it ... FREE! Well there is a donation box which you should probably hit up. Dined outdoors at a lovely restaurant whose food is good and cocktails better. This gets the max 5 stars from me. So glad we did this as part of our trip. Also reached it easily from down town via a city bus.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 16 August 2023
  • BrettR
    Mission Viejo, California350 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyable 2 hour visit
    This is a wonderful zoo in the heart of the city. Very well laid out and easy access to all exhibits. Polar Bears, Lions, Gorillas, Zebra, Giraffes, you name it and you will find it. Did I mention the Free Entry. Just walk in! We found street parking a couple of blocks away so we visited the gift shop on our way out. We can always use a hat and t-shirt. The animals are very well taken care of, lots of detail went into the habitat.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 September 2023
  • Peter H
    Cheshire, United Kingdom144 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic, free zoo
    Brilliant zoo and firmly up there with the best I've visited anywhere in the world, which makes it all the more impressive that it is free entry and open 365 days a year. Highlights are the gorilla and lion enclosures - the latter in particular allows you to get up close like no other zoo with multiple viewing locations. The zoo is also in a beautiful park setting with lots of places to sit and easy to get to by bus from Downtown.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 6 November 2023
  • Eugene T
    5 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I can't believe this was free!
    I can't believe this was free. What an amazing experience. A short visit since I was only in Chicago for a day, but the variety of animals and the cleanliness of the place really blew me away given there was no charge to enter. I live near Busch Gardens in Tampa and would say this tops it. Thanks Chicago!
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 29 November 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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hockeyaw19
Marlborough, MA648 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Business
Killed an hour or so here before a business meeting on a Thursday and was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Some excellent exhibits, active animals, and clean bathrooms. I entered right at opening and had most of the place to myself. Field trips started to trickle in as the day went on but I got to see most of the zoo in an hour and a half. Admission was free but donations are appreciated.
Written 8 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,315 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Solo
My wife and I are very fortunate. For more than 40 years, we have lived in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. Every day, weather permitting, we enjoy a stroll through Lincoln Park, the city's largest public park, that includes an obligatory visit to Lincoln Park Zoo. Located at 2204 North Cannon Drive, west of Du Sable Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan, south of Fullerton Avenue, it opened in 1868 and is the fourth oldest zoo in North America and one of the few free admission zoos in North America. The 35-acre property is home to 1,100 animals from 200 species, including big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, seals, monkeys, reptiles, swans, flamingos and giraffes. Remember Marlin Perkins, the director of Lincoln Park Zoo from 1944 to 1962? He hosted the popular TV programs Zoo Parade and Wild Kingdom an gave wide-spread exposure to the zoo. The zoo features many exhibits, including Farm-in-the Zoo, the primate house, the children's zoo, wildlife center, seal pool, bird house, small mammal and reptile house, the center for African apes and the large mammal house. Perhaps the two most popular exhibits are the seal pool and Farm-in-the-Zoo. The seal pool, one of the oldest exhibits in the zoo, was established in 1879 and renovated in 1999. It features three main viewing areas, including an underwater viewing gallery. Training shows are presented twice a day. Farm-in-the-Zoo was designed to give Chicago kids a chance to experience a bit of the country in the city. Cows, pigs and horses are on display and visitors can pet and feed the animals. Each day cows are milked in public and the staff explains elements of farm life. The elephants are gone but we are always in awe of the polar bears, lions and tigers.
Written 30 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GLars
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA476 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
The zoo grounds were in full bloom and with a 70-degree day everything looked great. Just walking the zoo itself with the plantings was a good experience. Throw in a zoo and you have a nice outing. To those not familiar with Chicago it lies near the lake just north of Michigan avenue, so it is definitely in the city. We got there not too long after it opened and parked out front on the east side of the zoo. It was very convenient to the zoo. I have gone to this zoo since I was child and have seen it change over the past 60 years. The older zoo buildings where the animals were housed for so many years have been repurposed and not necessarily for the better. The cat house is vast empty expanse looking into the outside lion enclosure. What's the point? The day we visited the aviary was closed - no reason given. The children's zoo was under renovation and when we went into it was saw exactly one animal - a tortoise. The rest was murals, empty cages and a climbing apparatus for kids that was fun to watch. It was a zoo exhibit in its own right. Many enclosures were empty with the animals choosing to stay inside. A modern zoo wants to give animals more enrichment but if they want to spend all their time inside a concrete box that's okay... As a consequence, there's lots of large empty exhibits. This is not specific to Lincoln Park as many other zoos are the same. We wanted to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory which in next door but that is now closed every Monday and Tuesday. It has always been open for every prior visit in my life but no longer. There was a lot of school groups there on a Monday morning but I like kids so it didn't bug me. The only large "typical" zoo animals we saw were polar bears, zebras and a side view of a lion seen through blurry plexiglass. The reason it's a 4 star review is that I think too many things were closed during our visit and not enough animals out in the exhibit area.
Written 23 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bobbie W
Warwick, RI1,697 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
The Lincoln Park Zoo is quite beautiful. Unfortunately, many of the animals weren’t seen. Either they were sleeping or hiding inside. What we did see was great. I especially enjoyed watching the flamingos being fed. It was very hot and sunny. Next time, I’ll be sure to bring a thermos of water because most drinks were expensive.
Written 18 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MinneSorta Nice
Minnesota16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
The zoo employees we came across were all courteous and helpful. Bring your walking shoes! There are plenty of places to take a seat if you need a break.
Written 18 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sue P
London, UK273 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Quite good for a free zoo but many of the animals were off exhibit, part of the zoo was closed off and some of the animals we did see were pacing and seemed stressed. However, other parts of the zoo were great especially the gorillas and lions. Be warned the merchandise is exceptionally expensive.
Written 3 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sara A
Kihei, Hawaii19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Solo
The zoo lights were a truly magical experience! The way that the entire zoo was lit up was incredible. I found the singing porta potties to be hilarious and the entire experience to be a highlight of my trip. I recommend stoping by the fires to warm up and make sure to go into the tiger building - they were sleeping right by the windows!!!
Written 7 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jronkowski
Chicago, IL203 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
This is a great FREE zoo in Lincoln park . The food , snacks , and parking are expensive . Bring your own food and drink and take Convienent public transportation. Nearby north pond with birds , Peggy Notebaart nature museum , and free Caldwell lily ponds . There are all sorts of gardens and green areas nearby.
Written 20 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pam T
Mansfield, OH293 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Solo
Winter cold was present but there was SO much to do! I loved walking amongst the animals and going into habitat buildings. This place is a real gem. If I lived in the area I would come here to walk and just be with the wildlife. I hope to return when warmer out to see the difference. Parking was not too hard to find. I parked along the roadway (Sunday) and walked right in. FREE! There was a nice gift shop and a place for food and drinks. No food to feed the animals that I could find. Understood. Real gem. What an awesome place to all who love animals or just to walk.
Written 31 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin B
Mount Juliet, TN3,621 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Friends
This was a very fun activity for our group to do when we were in town for a conference last year, particularly since admission is free. Despite being free, the zoo does not feel like a place that's underfunded and it looked like all of the animals were well-cared for and healthy. We particularly loved the gorilla exhibit and the polar bear as we love gorillas and we had never seen a polar bear in real life before. It's a really nice place to visit and I would recommend it!
Written 19 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Lincoln Park Zoo - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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