Lincoln Park Zoo

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Lincoln Park Zoo
Zoo entrance
Date opened 1868[1]
Location 2204 N. Cannon Dr, Chicago, Illinois, USA (312) 742-2000
Coordinates 41°55′17″N 87°38′02″W / 41.921375°N 87.633841°W / 41.921375; -87.633841Coordinates: 41°55′17″N 87°38′02″W / 41.921375°N 87.633841°W / 41.921375; -87.633841
Land area 35 acres (14 ha)
Number of animals ~1,100[2]
Number of species ~200[2]
Memberships AZA[3]
Major exhibits Farm-in-the-Zoo, Helen Brach Primate House, Kovler Lion House, Kovler Sea Lion Pool, McCormick Bird House, Nature Boardwalk, Pritzker Family Children's Zoo, Regenstein African Journey, Regenstein Center for African Apes, Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House[4]

Lincoln Park Zoo is a free 35-acre (14 ha) zoo located in Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois. The zoo was founded in 1868, making it one of the oldest zoos in the U.S. It is also one of a few free admission zoos in the United States.[5] The zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Lincoln Park Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals. The zoo's exhibits include big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species totalling about 1,100 animals from some 200 species. Also located in Lincoln Park Zoo is a burr oak tree which dates to 1830, three years before the city was founded. Lincoln Park Zoo is one of four zoos in the Chicago area, the others being the Brookfield Zoo, and the minor Phillips Park and Cosley Zoos.


Photochrom of the bear pit of the Lincoln Park Zoo, ca. 1897-1901
Nature Boardwalk
Video of Anana the polar bear swimming.

The zoo was founded in 1868, when the Lincoln Park Commissioners were given a gift of a pair of swans by Central Park's Board of Commissioners in New York City [6] In 1874, the swans were joined by a bear cub from the Philadelphia Zoo the first animal purchased for the zoo. The bear became quite adept at escaping from its home and could frequently be found roaming Lincoln Park at night.[7] The first bison ever born in captivity was born in Lincoln Park. A new Lion House opened in 1912 (it was later renovated and reopened in 1990). The Primate House opened in 1927, and was known for housing a popular gorilla called Bushman (1931–1951).[8] (The Primate House was later renovated and reopened in 1992.)

Marlin Perkins, who gained fame as the host of the television program Zoo Parade and later, Wild Kingdom, was director of the zoo from 1944 until 1962. He created and recruited a citizens group to support the Zoo's mission, the Lincoln Park Zoological Society. The facility underwent a dramatic transformation in the 1970s and 1980s, with the additions of many new, naturalistic exhibits. In 1995, the Zoological Society assumed management of the zoo from the Chicago Park District, which remains the owner.[8] Zoo administration is currently housed in the nearby building previously used by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, which moved to a new facility in 1999.

In 2010, Lincoln Park Zoo transformed the adjacent South Pond to create Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, a pond habitat that features native plants and wildlife.[9]


The zoo's exhibits include big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species totalling nearly 1,100 animals.[2] Wildlife species native to the Midwest are exhibited within the Pritzker Family Children's Zoo within Lincoln Park Zoo. Black bears, red wolves and beavers roam outdoor exhibits, while American kestrels and Great Plains ratsnakes reside indoors. The Children's Zoo also features an indoor climbing structure for children designed by Tom Luckey. Nearby, the Farm-in-the-Zoo Presented by John Deere exhibits pigs, cows, horses and other domestic animals. Visitors can pet goats, feed cows and roam vegetable gardens. Each day, the cows are milked in public and staff is on hand to explain other elements of farm life. Regenstein Center for African Apes is home to Keo, the oldest male chimpanzee in a North American zoo.

Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House[edit]

The Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House is a 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m2) indoor exhibit that opened in 1997 and houses small animals in two main areas: the Gallery and the Ecosystem. The Gallery begins with a large room ringed with terrariums exhibiting reptiles and amphibians like axolotls, green tree pythons, poison dart frogs, and Sistrurus catenatus. The next part of the Gallery features dwarf mongoose, naked mole rats, Straw-coloured fruit bat and other small mammals in and around a man-made baobab tree trunk. The building continues in the Ecosystem, a geodesic dome 45 feet (14 m) in height that simulates the world's tropical rainforests. The Ecosystem begins with a series of stream exhibits for dwarf caiman, dwarf crocodiles, and oriental small-clawed otters, continues with mixed-species exhibits for arboreal species like tamarins, two-toed sloth, and white-faced saki monkey, and ends with exhibits for ground-dwelling Parma wallaby and Patagonian cavy.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Proud History". Lincoln Park Zoo (Lincoln Park Zoo): 5. Spring 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Lincoln Park Zoo Fact Sheet". Lincoln Park Zoo. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  3. ^ "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". AZA. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "Animal Houses". Lincoln Park Zoo. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Zoo Timeline". Lincoln Park Zoo. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Zoo Timeline (01/30/11)
  8. ^ a b "Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "Built to Be Natural". Lincoln Park Zoo (Lincoln Park Zoo): 2–4. Spring 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House". Lincoln Park Zoo. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Travel around the world in one special place: Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House". Lincoln Park Zoo. Archived from the original on November 26, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]