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Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago

4.4
#2 of 35 in Outdoors in Chicago
Founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in America and is celebrated for its commitment to providing free admission. With over 1,000 animals representing over 200 species, it’s easy to see why the zoo is popular among Chicago visitors and natives alike. While it does have a strong family focus, the well-kept landscaping and prime location in the heart of Chicago make visiting this zoo a lovely daytime activity for anyone. The zoo also hosts cultural and educational events. By using our Chicago travel route planner , you can arrange your visit to Lincoln Park Zoo and other attractions in Chicago.
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Lincoln Park Zoo Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
4,914 reviews
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4.6
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  • Went at night to see the light show during christmas. It is beautiful. Closes at 9pm. Lights everywhere. Animals sleeping but still cool. Fui durante la noche. Vi el espectaculos de luces durante navi...  more »
  • Wow - blown away by the zoo lights during the Brew Lights event! We wereimpressed with the beer selections for Brew lights although they were mostly geared for the holidays but we would have enjoyed a...  more »
  • Visit the Zoo is free and an incredible experience, including all views, which made me happier was visiting the building of the birds, there's a part where we can walk through them, without screens, without protection, as if we were in their natural habitat.
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  • I love love love the Lincoln Park zoo. I can spend hours there observing the animals in their natural habitat or just people watch. Either way the zoo always has something going on and is a lot of FREE fun. Also the zoo has some great spots to take great pictures of the lake or the skyline. Last but not least, the petting zoo is great to watch chicks hatch and begin their life. There's something for everyone in there.
  • How on earth is this zoo FREE? This is easily one of the better zoo's I've visited and the staff working at the zoo are very helpful and informative. It's on the smaller side, but I also feel that all of the animals that people expect to see at zoo are there - and they are nice exhibits. Not sure how anyone can give this zoo any less than 5 stars - especially since there is 0 cost for admission... UPDATE: After reading a lot of the negative reviews, I did not experience ANY crowding when I went (early December). In fact, I was surprised by the lack of people there, so maybe my experience would have been worse if I went during a busier time. As for the comments about malnourished animals or mistreatment of animals: I did not see ANY of that and the Zookeepers we spoke with and some of the other staff we overheard speaking to groups of people seemed to have a HUGE heart for the animal's well being. The people who are complaining and believe that the enclosures are too small or the animals are depressed are probably the type of people who don't believe in the existence of zoo's in the first place, so take it with a grain of salt. Most of these animals are saved from less than ideal conditions and CAN NOT be re-integrated back into the wild... they weren't stolen from the grasslands of Africa and placed into these enclosures purely for our enjoyment. These PETA hippies need something better to do with their time.
  • Considering the fact that this zoo is free, you get an awesome light display and they also do a little light show for you in the middle. If you go at night during the Christmas season, you will see a wonderful display and really enjoy your time. The only caveat is that it may be freezing, it was 22 degrees with a 12 degree wind chill so make sure to bundle up! They also sell different treats and hot chocolate to keep you warm.
  • Cane to see the Zoo lights and it gets better each year. This time most of the lights were LED and they looked awesome. The store has plenty of things to take home and the restaurant has plenty of seating to warm up. There was an ice sculpturer and he was great as well. Great experience spending time here.
  • Considering the access to this zoo is completely free I was absolutely astounded by what was on show - we walked up town from the Mile on a whim and decided to visit the zoo just for a short time but we were drawn in and and ended up spending a few hours here. If you are in Chicago for any reason I would heartily recommend a visit to this zoo, whether you have children or not, it's a fantastic collection they have and the scenery of the surrounding park really sets it aside from any zoo I have visited before. My personal favourite was the big cat house - such incredible animals and you can really get a close up view of them. My only comment would be to visit on a day with good weather as we toured on a rainy day so most of the animals were only in the indoor sections of their enclosures. Also, special mention for the polar bear!

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Where to stay in Chicago

The Midwest's major center for business conventions, Chicago boasts many affordable places to stay, with most hotels located around the airport and the city's central business district. To discover the city from a comfortable base within walking distance of most tourist attractions, aim for one of the big chain hotels in the downtown area. If you're traveling on a limited budget and wish to get a deeper sense of Chicago's many diverse neighborhoods, consider staying away from the pricey city center and explore suburbs on a commuter train line for easy city access.
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