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Phillips Park Zoo, Aurora

(4.3/5 based on 120+ reviews on the web)
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
  • I grew up 10 blocks from here, and so we frequented this free park. It's a good sized park. They have their own greenhouse that supplies the flowers that are in the courtyard. It's a great spot to tak...  more »
  • This a free zoo in the city of Aurora. We went to the zoo while visiting my son at local university. While it certainly can't be confused for the Bronx Zoo. It was a great way to spend a couple hours....  more »
  • We had heard about this zoo on the internet. It has animals, but is small for a zoo. But it is free. It also had a flower garden next to it that was nice. 
Google
  • First and most important: it's a very small zoo. There are not many animals. 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.
  • Cute place. Great for little ones who can't handle the stress of the big zoo. Reptile house is cool.
  • This is the place my family go when there isn't other plan. Very nice free park, easy for kids to waste couple hours of energy.
  • FREE... enough said. Nice place to take the kids. Pretty good park nearby too. The entrance is beautiful.
  • Hey.. Our own local Zoo and it's free what can you say.. They came a long way and still going.. Christmas time it's a tradition for the whole family to see the lights and give a nice donation to help these animals.. Thanks Phillips for wonderfully doing what you're doing..