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Phillips Park Zoo, Aurora

(130 reviews on the web)
Zoo / Aquarium Nature / Park
Phillips Park Zoo is located on the grounds of Phillips Park, in Aurora, Illinois, USA. It was originally established in 1915, and is still open year-round with no admission charge. It was once home to exotic animals such as giraffes and monkeys, but the zoo's focus changed to native animals after Brookfield Zoo was opened in 1934.HistoryAfter Phillips Park Zoo was established in 1915, a bird house was built in 1916. By 1920, the zoo had 5 black bears, 10 monkeys, 6 elk, 3 buffalo, 2 foxes, 1 wolf, and 1 deer, in addition to hundreds of birds. Unfortunately, a hailstorm destroyed the original bird house in 1933. After the loss of the bird house and Brookfield Zoo opening in 1934, the Phillips Park Zoo refocused on displaying native animals. In 1937, mastodon bones and tusks, which were found in the park, were on display at the zoo causing it to also be known as a museum. Only two major projects took place in the zoo history between 1937 to the 1980s. In 1950, a barn was built. Then in 1964, a water wheel was added to the zoo. Swans and other farmyard animals now have their exhibits around these original structures. From the 1980s to present time, the zoo has created new exhibit areas and added additional animals. The latest of these additions was the cougar exhibit which opened in 2005. Extensive work has also been done on the exhibits for otters, wolves, elks, and remodeling the reptile house. Animal additions included two bald eagles named Kenai and Denali, and Chopper the Caiman.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We love this park and zoo. This time of year there is a tram ride that runs Wed. - Sun. starting at 11:30 that gives a great tour of the whole park and there is a splash pad for kids 12 and under. The...  more »
  • This place is a little gem in aurora. Lots of fun for the little ones. The visitor center has mastodon bones that were dug up in the near by lake. The tram takes you on a tour of the area and tell som...  more »
  • Don't expect to be wowed. It, of course, can't compete with the larger zoos. That being said, it's local (at least for us). For younger children, it's an enjoyable half-day activity, the there's a nic...  more »
Google
  • Nice little zoo with plenty of picnic and playing area in the surrounding woods. If you are planning a family reunion or a party and you want to have it at an outdoor space, this would be a great consideration especially if you have lots of children who will attend. The staff is informative and very helpful. The grounds are clean and well kept. Some of the animal displays are a little sad (especially the alligators) but most are small and appropriate.
  • A nice spot to bring the family to or to take pictures. They have a beautiful sunken garden and my niece did her prom pics here. And my kids loved the train ride. There's so much for the family to do here.
  • This is a very small free zoo. Good for a half hour or maybe an hour. Some of the cages for the larger animals have viewing glass so you don't have to look through the fences. But some do not have glass. The eagles and peacocks must be viewed through the fence(s). Too bad since I'm an American Eagle bird fan. But it's still a fun zoo to visit.
  • First and most important: it's a very small zoo. There are not many animals there like at a typical zoo. There is free admission and free parking. The animals are in good shape and are those that they take in that were hurt or injured and no longer able to survive in the wild on their own. I give them credit for that. They have a cougar, two eagles, some owls, a hawk, falcon, turkey, goat, otter, two alligators, and an iguana, tortoise, a bunch of snakes and turtles and fish in the reptile house. You might just need an hour to see them all, or up to two if you walk slowly. It's stroller friendly and the zoo is kept in good shape. There is a visitor center next to it with a sunken garden that is worth seeing, so you can see all of that in one trip and it would be a least 2-3 hours worth to see.
  • My son and I both visited this zoo for the first time yesterday. We were surprised by the amount of animals on display. Looked like a section was blocked off near the birds for renovations. If a small cover meant making this place pop again we would have no problem helping. Wish I had the means to donate. Wonderful, peaceful place, polite staff. Will recommend and return regularly.