One of my favorite activities, especially now that the weather is a bit cooler, is walking around Lincoln Park Zoo. This 35 acres of zoo is filled to the brim with cute animals and 1200 acres of green space so it always takes me several hours to get through it all; to top it all off, the whole experience is free. Here are my suggestions for why you should visit Lincoln Park zoo next time you’re in Chicago, Illinois:
Tips for Your Trip to Lincoln Park Zoo
It’s Free admission!
Lincoln Park Zoo remains open and free because of the generosity of its donors. In 1878 Lincoln Park Zoo declared to be free admission forever and their website says they will be until 2050. I recommend donating in whatever ways you can, but know that it is not necessary for your admission to LP Zoo. Because it is open 365 days a year, I do find myself visiting this location more than once annually (as you should!) ; you can check their hours here for any special changes
You should go earlier in the day.
If I were to suggest a time that you visit Lincoln Park zoo, I would say it is best to visit in the morning before the crowds come in; it would be less crowded and easier to find parking by doing so. The zoo is especially busy between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM so if you avoid those times then you can have more space to yourself to admire the animals and greenery. I always recommend checking Popular Times on Google before visiting the location so you can see how crowded it is.
Street parking is free & there is paid parking lot close by.
Street parking in front of Lincoln Park Zoo, as well as the blocks adjacent to it may be free, but there isn’t always space available. Just as I suggested previously, arriving to the zoo earlier means that you’ll have more access to the parking spaces there. Of course there are paid parking lots in the area that are conveniently close; you can see this Lincoln Park Parking Map by the Chicago Park District here.
You should check out my favorite animals.
Two of my favorites at Lincoln Park Zoo are the giraffes and the lions. These cute creatures have the best displays and if you’re a fan, I definitely suggest that you bring your camera for some great photos! Some of the displays may feel hidden because of all the greenery, so I suggest you pick up a map so you know which spots you still haven’t seen; you can find the online and downloadable version of the Lincoln Park Zoo map here.
Remember to pack sunscreen (& apply it)!
Lincoln Park Zoo has an open air design. Although there are buildings that you can enter to further observe some of the exhibits, the majority is outside and in direct sunlight. I always recommend putting on sunblock, but I definitely recommend packing it so that you can reapply halfway through your visit since it does take hours to walk through Lincoln park.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes.
If you’re planning a trip to Lincoln Park zoo then there’s going to be a lot of walking involved. I recommend wearing your most comfortable walking shoes so that you aren’t hurting as you explore Lincoln Park. I do feel like my step count just skyrockets without me noticing because I’m so distracted by all of the displays, but I do notice once it’s time to leave. The trails throughout Lincoln Park Zoo are smooth, make sure to check the accessibility map if that’s some thing that you have to plan ahead for.
Some photos from my visit to Lincoln Park Zoo:
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