Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N Clark St Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Varies seasonally so check website (Summer Weekdays 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m.–6 p.m.) Summer Weekends 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m.–7 p.m.)
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Explore Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago's free world-class urban zoo!
This urban zoo is nestled between the Lincoln Park neighborhood and the lakeshore, and it is a great FREE option – actually it is one of the few free zoos in North America! It’s easy to stroll through and some of the exhibits feel quite ‘close-up’ so you are able to see the animals well. We entered the main entrance off Lakeshore on the east side (near the carousel – carousel tix are $3) and were immediately greeted by a seal exhibit that was having a training/education session at 10 AM on a Sunday. The staff told the audience a bit about the seals while trainers took the seals through some exercises and tricks. There was plenty of stadium seating surrounding to see and rest a bit while learning about the seals.
The choo-choo train – for younger kids – is located directly across from the seals and requires $3 tickets for a couple of loops (my 5-year-old enjoyed it).
There is a children’s zoo on the west side of the 30-acre property. Walking into that section, we saw a red wolf, a black bear, as well as an indoor section with some frogs and turtles PLUS a large climbing apparatus for younger kids (note: there are restrooms in this building).
Other sections we liked included the southern outdoor loop exhibiting alpaca, ostrich, takin, camels, and ending with gorillas. There’s also an indoor reptile and small mammal section – my favorite there was the sloth!
Other amenities include picnic tables on the east side and strollers for hire.