Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Founded in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the country's last free-admission zoos. There are over 1,200 animal residents, self-guided tours, and interactive activities with seals, polar bears, and penguins—check the schedule for timings. Don’t miss the Regenstein Center for African Apes—a popular habitat showcasing cheeky chimpanzees and majestic gorillas. Navigating the zoo is a breeze with multiple points of entry and wide paths to boot. Check for early closures before visiting and arrive in the morning to cover the majority of the exhibits. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 2-3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
The area
Address
Neighborhood: North Side
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See what travelers are saying
  • SerenKimbo
    Glasgow, United Kingdom586 contributions
    Good way to spend a day
    Major drawback for me was that there were no paper maps. I understand everything is digital nowadays, but for people caught unawares, aka me, makes it easy to get lost. Time spent was about 5 or 6 hours to take it all in. Some habitats didn't have animals as they were inside, but taking a second look a short time later was a good way to find the others. Check out the barn area to see goats and cows. Staff were very hands off with visitors (again, aka me) so it wasn't too engaging. In the gorilla enclosure and another one (near where the polar bear is, the name escapes me) are one way through the buildings, but they aren't well signposted until you're standing at the wrong door! Also in the gorilla enclosure be aware that some of the gorillas will bang and make themselves seem a danger. Lot of people caught unawares. You can purchase coins here, 4 designs depicting different types of gorillas. At the gift shop they offer you to round up your purchase to the next dollar amount to help the zoo. As expected almost everything is exorbitantly priced (individual post cards .25 cents; pack of postcards makes them work out at .35 cents each). Not everything is clearly marked. Hoodies etc run at around $50-60. They have toys, magnets, tshirts etc. A lot was closed this time of year. No train, only 1 gift shop. Not sure if any eateries were open since I brought a packed lunch. Inside the reptile house there is a video about the zoo which plays for a little bit. Good place to get off your feet and learn about how the zoo has evolved.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written March 11, 2023
  • cazzzie987
    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom268 contributions
    Amazing place that is free to visit!
    I couldn't believe it was free to visit, but it is! Huge areas for the animals and it looks well kept and maintained. Bigger area than it appears, check out the daily shows. Obviously being colder some animals just didn't want to come out and who could blame them?! I would have prefered if they said if things were empty and not to have to walk all the way around to get into a building wouldn't have been nice. I liked the place and if i was a local I would regularly visit
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 25, 2023
  • TheStateOfMe
    London, United Kingdom200 contributions
    One of our favourite Chicago activities - great that it's free to access
    This is one of the best city zoos in the world, and it's fantastic that it can be accessed free. The kids love going back for the cheesy fries at the restaurant, and the somewhat steep prices for food and drinks don't seem too bad when you've not had to pay admission. Easy to get to on the bus.
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 7, 2023
  • Pmce1997
    5 contributions
    Perfect way to spend your afternoon
    Had an absolutely amazing visit with my partner to this zoo. Spacious, open and free! Normally not a huge fan of zoos but the animals seemed to be well looked after and exhibits well maintained. 10/10 would recommend. Barb at the gift shop was an absolute dream as well helping us pick out gifts for friends and family as well as some emergency sun glasses as we were ill prepared for the changeable weather of Chicago.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 20, 2023
  • Panda_Aus
    Sydney, Australia40 contributions
    First time to a free zoo, and super impressed!
    I could not believe this zoo was free, and with it being free I will admit I was sceptical. It was fantastic, I was so pleasantly surprised. Lots of different species, and some really cool ones to boot! We spent a couple of unexpected hours at Lincoln Park Zoo and enjoyed it immensely.
    Visited April 2023
    Written May 9, 2023
  • DDM137
    Columbus, Ohio164 contributions
    Do Not Miss This Adventure
    We had not planned on visiting this Zoo as our home Zoo is quite spectacular. As it turns out, we were so glad we took the time to visit. It was the highlight of our day. The Zoo area is unexpectedly huge and well maintained. There were several docents located throughout the Zoo to answer questions or just discuss the animals. The animals seem comfortable and healthy. The grounds and restrooms are clean and well marked. The staff is friendly and professional. The grounds were in bloom with tulips and other spring flowers which enhanced its beauty. We spent about 2 hours at the zoo. We were there on the perfect day. Lots of fun. A very enjoyable adventure.
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 16, 2023
  • The Big O
    3 contributions
    So happy I visited Lincoln Park Zoo
    My expectations were low--much too low it turns out. Just a great zoo. Surprisingly easy to get to (and now that we know where the parking lot is, it will be easier next time). Love seeing the Chicago skyline in the background. I thought the farm area was disappointing, but I'm over 50 and it wasn't designed for me (it is completely a children's play and learn area). Great living spaces for the animals. This "little" zoo is on a par with much bigger zoos across the country. Just a gem!
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 19, 2023
  • Stephanie C
    Brooklyn Park, Minnesota145 contributions
    Lots to do and see...for FREE!
    We chose to visit this zoo vs. Brookfield zoo because it was free. I expected that we would visit for 2-3 hours and that it would be just ok. We were VERY pleasantly surprised at how much there was to do and see here and ended up spending 5 hours! I think if we lived in the area and visited more often, our visits would be shorter, but we were not disappointed with our decision in the end. I strongly suggest getting there right at open because, as you would guess, it only gets busier as the day goes on. You'll also be more likely to see the animals being active rather than napping in the mid-day sun. We were lucky enough to see the 3 lion cubs come out to play with the rest of the pride and that was a highlight of the trip for us. There are several places to eat, though they are pretty overpriced. You'd be ahead to bring a lunch in. There are many places throughout the zoo, including indoors, that you can eat it. I visited both Chicago area zoos many years ago, and definitely remember the Lincoln Park zoo as being the "lesser" of the 2. That said, if you're on a budget but still want to enjoy seeing animals in very nice enclosures, pick this zoo to visit!
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 23, 2023
  • Famsol67
    231 contributions
    Not huge but well worth a visit.
    We travelled from Central Chicago by bus. The 151 runs along the Magnificent Mile and drops you at the gates of the Zoo. Don't get off until the announcement of the Zoo. You can see the zoo through the fencing on the right but the entrance is a bit further along. The lions are in a good sized enclosure. When we were thee they were against the thick glass. As such visitors were about three inches from a pride of lions as they rested. Wow !! The Gorilla house is split between the Silverback male and his ladies and their children on one side and the males without brides on the other side. They are so impressive and not shy. They were within a foot of the glass and looking directly at people as they stared back. We were not there long as the whole Zoo was closed at 3pm for a wedding ! I saw a fair part of the Zoo. It is free to enter which is a bonus. This is a good option for a fair weather trip out of the immediate centre of Chicago without being a major trip - maybe 20 minutes onthe 151 bus along Lake Shore Drive heading north.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 26, 2023
  • JackofPBFL
    Palm Bay, Florida1,270 contributions
    Nice small zoo
    This is a nice small zoo in the city. There are not as many species that you would expect to see in a zoo. They have done a particularly good job on the Lion and Gorilla habitats. Admission is free but parking is $30-$40.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written June 30, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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jronkowski
Chicago, IL202 contributions
Oct 2023 • Solo
This is a great FREE zoo in Lincoln park . The food , snacks , and parking are expensive . Bring your own food and drink and take Convienent public transportation. Nearby north pond with birds , Peggy Notebaart nature museum , and free Caldwell lily ponds . There are all sorts of gardens and green areas nearby.
Written February 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pam T
Mansfield, OH283 contributions
Jan 2024 • Solo
Winter cold was present but there was SO much to do! I loved walking amongst the animals and going into habitat buildings. This place is a real gem. If I lived in the area I would come here to walk and just be with the wildlife. I hope to return when warmer out to see the difference. Parking was not too hard to find. I parked along the roadway (Sunday) and walked right in. FREE! There was a nice gift shop and a place for food and drinks. No food to feed the animals that I could find. Understood. Real gem. What an awesome place to all who love animals or just to walk.
Written January 31, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin B
Mount Juliet, TN2,315 contributions
May 2023 • Friends
This was a very fun activity for our group to do when we were in town for a conference last year, particularly since admission is free. Despite being free, the zoo does not feel like a place that's underfunded and it looked like all of the animals were well-cared for and healthy. We particularly loved the gorilla exhibit and the polar bear as we love gorillas and we had never seen a polar bear in real life before. It's a really nice place to visit and I would recommend it!
Written December 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Eugene T
3 contributions
Nov 2023 • Solo
I can't believe this was free. What an amazing experience. A short visit since I was only in Chicago for a day, but the variety of animals and the cleanliness of the place really blew me away given there was no charge to enter. I live near Busch Gardens in Tampa and would say this tops it. Thanks Chicago!
Written November 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Yahel
8 contributions
Nov 2023 • Friends
The ticket is free! And there are a lot of different animals. Highly recommended and you can visit in whatever season.
Written November 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lisa G
1 contribution
Nov 2023 • Family
I went to the Lincoln park zoo light latenite We didn't know we had to pay pay $10 for myself n 1 year old grandson and the person that we were approaching this too. He was very rude and distresspectful to me and my family that I had to talk to the supervisor the service was really poor the people thre need to learn how to talk to people and Have compassion It was the worst night of my life. And I've been coming to the lights for many years. Sin my kids were lil n now , I bring my grandson there for the first time. And we had to pay so much money just to see the lights plus Your staff was very rude and the respectful.
And I will not go there again thank you

Written November 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter H
Cheshire, UK143 contributions
Oct 2023 • Family
Brilliant zoo and firmly up there with the best I've visited anywhere in the world, which makes it all the more impressive that it is free entry and open 365 days a year. Highlights are the gorilla and lion enclosures - the latter in particular allows you to get up close like no other zoo with multiple viewing locations. The zoo is also in a beautiful park setting with lots of places to sit and easy to get to by bus from Downtown.
Written November 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jezzmond
130 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
What can I say, A zoo in a park with free admission 😳 this would normally be unheard of, this is a awesome zoo with so many animals and such a ease of getting around, anybody visiting Chicago must go
Written September 27, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TIffany
Pekin, IL79 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
I was disappointed.
I have been to St. Louis zoo many times and absolutely love their zoo. I thought this one would be similar. Nope!
It’s very little, the exhibits are small and outdated. Not much to see or do in this little zoo.
If it wasn’t for all the floral grounds along the walk paths I’d probably have just left. So if you like to take a nice little stroll while your in Chicago then this would be a good place but otherwise we found it a waste of our time.
Written September 4, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JaninePor
Boston, MA64 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
Love the lions and the Pygmy hippopotamus. Lots to see, easy to get to by bus. Bring your lunch and spend the day.
Written September 4, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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LINCOLN PARK ZOO: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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