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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  • Stephanie C
    Brooklyn Park, Minnesota149 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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, Florida1,194 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    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
  • Nicole The Prof Mom Project
    Toronto, Canada56 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely zoo
    Great zoo! Beautiful zoo, not too big in a great location. We visited a number of years ago and it looks like lots of work has been put into making the zoo even better. We went in the morning and saw the zoo keepers feeding the seals, which was very cute to watch. Love that it’s free. Definitely take advantage when in Chicago
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 4, 2023
  • California Girl
    Georgia50 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Absolutely a must!
    Spectacular! The grounds open at 8am, hardly any animals out. We tried to avoid the hot miserable weather. But the grounds are amazingly gorgeous, clean and every flower, tree, shrub and grass is placed perfectly. And it’s free!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 29, 2023
  • Tracy M
    Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom175 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A small zoo but still a lovely 2-3hr experience
    We are in Chicago for a few days and my daughter chose to visit this zoo. It’s FREE and a wonderful place for locals and visitors alike. It was busy but not too crowded when we visited. We managed to walk around the whole zoo in 2-3hrs, including stopping for a drink. There are plenty of places for picnics and for buying food/drinks (although these are quite pricey). The zoo is mostly on the flat, with small inclines so is easy to walk around. It’s not a full day out, but an enjoyable few hours!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 2, 2023
  • Michael W
    Warwick, Rhode Island39 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great zoo at a great plus.
    Lots of reviews on this one so I'll keep it short. As zoos go I would give it a solid B+. Easy to traverse. Large, diversified, clean, and wait for it ... FREE! Well there is a donation box which you should probably hit up. Dined outdoors at a lovely restaurant whose food is good and cocktails better. This gets the max 5 stars from me. So glad we did this as part of our trip. Also reached it easily from down town via a city bus.
    Visited June 2023
    Written August 16, 2023
  • BrettR
    Mission Viejo, California351 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyable 2 hour visit
    This is a wonderful zoo in the heart of the city. Very well laid out and easy access to all exhibits. Polar Bears, Lions, Gorillas, Zebra, Giraffes, you name it and you will find it. Did I mention the Free Entry. Just walk in! We found street parking a couple of blocks away so we visited the gift shop on our way out. We can always use a hat and t-shirt. The animals are very well taken care of, lots of detail went into the habitat.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 2, 2023
  • Peter H
    Cheshire, United Kingdom144 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic, free zoo
    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.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 6, 2023
  • Eugene T
    5 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I can't believe this was free!
    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!
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written November 29, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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ransom007
Anaheim, CA1,124 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020
The zoo has free admission; however, if you drive, parking in Lincoln Park is $20 or more, depending on the time parked. When I visited an online reservation was required (I did mine in front of the entry and got immediate admission--there is a sign showing how to do it). The zoo has dining and a gift shop. The paths are slightly hilly but well paved. There is a good amount of shade but a summer visit might be uncomfortable. During my visit I saw giraffes, a polar bear, zebras, a takin, peccary, ostrich, cranes, flamingos, and more. COVID-19: The employees were masked and visitors were expected to do the same as well as maintain social distancing. A further precaution was arrows on the ground to guide the flow of traffic. Indoor exhibits, like the bird house, were closed.
Written March 2, 2021
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.

Shanelle
Santa Monica, CA7,379 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Friends
Free zoo in Chicago, great for first time visitors and locals alike. Came here on a Sunday around noon and there was a fair amount of people there visiting the zoo as well as just passing through during their runs/walks. There are donation boxes at the entrances. There’s a carousel ($3 for a single person) and kids’ train available as rides. There are also cafes for light food/drinks in the zoo. We opted for street parking (which took some circling around various blocks) but there’s also a parking lot (which was full). There’s a fair amount of shade but I would recommend wearing your sunnies and some sunscreen since it’s all outdoors, except for the reptile and small mammal exhibit.

It was alarming to see some people taking flash photography in the reptile and small mammal exhibit, but when I informed an employee, unfortunately she seemed rather disinterested and I’m not sure if that situation was resolved. Otherwise, the animals seemed to have a fair bit of room to roam.
Written August 18, 2021
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.

THINGS2LIVE4
Rocky River, OH2,080 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Solo
Twice during my visit to Chicago I came here. The Holiday Zoo Lights are AWESOME. One of my favorite parts was the indoor bird rainforest building. It was snowing and about 20 degrees outside when I came here on 12-31-19 around noon. It’s neat going from a cold Chicago morning to an indoor rainforest. An employee driving a GMC plow was doing a GREAT job plowing the walkways. An employee in the gift shop was really nice and gave me a map. There was also a really nice employee by the monkeys helping children learn about primates. I usually don’t comment on employees, but the workers were doing an OUTSTANDING job keeping the place open after a semi-major snow fall. My photo shows a zoo employee touching the glass giving the monkey a high five. She was giving a presentation for children. Visitors are not allowed to touch bang on the glass.
Written January 2, 2020
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.

siv2015
86 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
Having been to so many zoos across the country - Dallas, Bronx, San Diego, DC etc, this is relatively small and didn't cut it for me. Not many animals to see. The bathrooms was stinky (ended up not using it). The polar bear was no where to be seen..seriously?! We spent less than 2 hrs here. Parking is free for the first 30 mins and then $25 for up to 2 hrs. So while they don't charge you for tickets - you end up paying for parking. I would not recommend this for zoo lovers like me who don't miss visiting a zoo in a new city. If your kids have not been to one maybe a good starter for them.
Written July 6, 2021
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.

Lori T
Dawsonville, GA2,579 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Friends
We have really enjoyed visiting Lincoln Park Zoo in the past, but not much of interest to see today. Due to covid restrictions, free entrance tickets must be reserved in advance, so we took the 4:00 entrance time. The one high point of the visit is that we saw 3 wolves actively moving about their exhibits. We even heard them howling back as a fire truck siren drove past. Unfortunately, not a single animal exhibit building was open. Many of the buildings are under construction and the animals have been moved to other zoos. On the south side of the zoo we saw a few zebras, 2 camels, and an ostrich. On the north side of the zoo, we saw only a sleeping polar bear. It was also a hassle to wear a mask throughout the zoo even though we were entirely outside and crowds were small. It was a depressing environment. I recommend not visiting until tthe buildings reopen and animals return.
Written May 15, 2021
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.

NBentley2014
Covington, KY559 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Friends
The Lincoln Park Zoo has thoughtful exhibits and is beautifully landscaped, making it a flowering, wildlife-filled oasis in the middle of one of the country’s biggest cities. The zoo has done an amazing job guiding visitors through all of the exhibits without getting jammed up by using directional arrows and clear signage. Best of all, it’s free! They are limiting the number of visitors due to COVID-19 and requiring reservations to help manage numbers. You can find the reservation link on the zoo’s website.
Written August 23, 2020
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.

Sagamoredad
Fort Worth, TX203 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
Wow! We're from Dallas / Fort Worth and a Zoo experience there for eight would bust $200. This Zoo is free and as nice as any you'll find. Fantastic architecture, amazing gardens, great views of the city and of course, the animals were the star of the show. I can't recommend this highly enough. One small feedback item, signs are few and far between. Parking was hard to find and getting around in the Zoo was a bit confusing. Still, a perfect experience.
Written October 18, 2021
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.

dmwgator69
Graceville, FL23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Family
What an awesome zoo. Especially considering it’s city owned and free. Went late afternoon after Christmas. It snowed as we visited animals and then saw the zoo lights. Setting is beautiful at night with city in background. Short hike to many quality restaurants after visit. Do not miss this gem. You will want to make a donation.
Written January 3, 2020
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.

109marlab
Williamsburg, VA19 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022 • Family
The ZooLights festival at the Lincoln Park Zoo is quite spectacular. You must buy timed entry tickets on-line. The $5 entrance fee and the amazing number of holiday lights on display make it a great option for families. Although you will pay for parking and “ride” tickets.
The only reason I did not give it a 5 star is that driving and parking can be a bit of a challenge. We found a space underground nearby at History Museum ($32) Also, leave time to get through the security check (took us 20 minutes) at the entrance.
While you buy your entry Tickets online, tickets for the Ferris Wheel, Train and Carousel are separate. Tip: to avoid the long line for “ride” tickets at the Ferris wheel, buy your tickets at one of the other ticket booths. Views from the Ferris Wheel are fantastic.
It’s a lot of walking, but totally worth it!
Written November 28, 2022
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.

RainbowsNTulips
Wisconsin29 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Family
The zoo is awesome and landscape is beautiful. It requires a reservation. Be sure to view the website for requirements and plan accordingly. Some areas are not operational but that’s to be expected with the current health crisis. Other areas are functional and well worth the experience. We parked in the Zoo parking which has fees associated with it but the cost definitely offsets the free admission. Save yourself some time and Google the zoo’s parking versus the zoo’s address it will save you immensely!!!! We brought in snacks so i can’t attest to the cafe cost. We will definitely visit again. 🐒 🦅
Written April 12, 2021
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 (2024)

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