Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo spreads across 35 acres of controlled parkland and is one of the oldest zoos in North America. Opened in 1868 the zoo is home to over 1,100 different animals from across 200 species including big cats, gorillas, penguins and polar bears to name a few. Better yet, the zoo is absolutely free and is the largest free-admission zoo in the country!


In 1867 the Lincoln Park Commissioners received two swans as a gift from the New York Park Department. From them on the commissioners continued to receive animals as gifts until they simply had to turn the park into a zoo to house all the animals. In 1874 they purchased their very first animal, a bear cub who was renowned for escaping. Today the zoo has expanded significantly, and there have been no further escapes since!


To see the largest collection of chimpanzees and gorillas in the world head over to the Great Ape House. For a penguin talk and a close up look at the African penguin’s head to the Penguin Cove exhibit. If you’re a big cats fan head over to the Kovler Lion House before venturing off to spot the zoo’s only South American jaguar.

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