The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago (Illinois), founded in 1868, is one of the oldest zoological gardens in the United States. Over 1,100 animals from around 200 different species are housed on its 14 hectares. In addition to its biodiversity, the zoo is also known for an ancient oak of the genus “Quercus macrocarpa,” which is dated to 1830, three years older than the city of Chicago.
Among the city residents on Lake Michigan, The Lincoln Park Zoo is especially popular because it is one of the few zoos in the USA, located in public areas that do not require entry or with easy access for visitors. As early as the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the facility made various headlines thanks to its pioneering work in zoological matters. The first bison was born in captivity here, and the primate house, which opened in 1927, housed the gorilla “Bushman” (1931–1951), the only gorilla in a North American zoo at the time. The former director of the zoo, Marlin Perkins, played a decisive role in the incredible popularity of the public from near and far, especially in the 1940s to 1960s.
Lincoln Park Zoo is a favorite with visitors and locals alike, and for a good reason. Easily accessible by bus in 20 minutes from downtown, it is free, very large, and offers magnificent views of Chicago’s skyscrapers in addition to the animal attractions, very well presented.
Where to eat near the Chicago zoo
If you’re hungry after exploring the zoo’s attractions, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from within a mile of excellent international and casual American cuisine.
Here, you’ll be pampered with homemade dishes that Time Out Chicago calls “top-notch bites.” In the bright dining room with wooden tables, you can enjoy veal carpaccio with Parmesan, spaghetti carbonara with bacon and bell pepper, and tuna on cherry tomatoes. The restaurant also offers three-course tasting menus and a selection of fresh ice cream.
Named one of Travel and Leisure’s 50 Best New Restaurants in America, Perennial Chicago serves classic American cuisine with creative twists. Try the sweet potato soup with smoked paprika, the Nantucket cod with beets and spinach, or the prime rib with melted leeks and dumplings. The modern and elegant dining room is available for private parties.
Sushi O Sushi
Zoo visitors looking for a lively night out can head to Sushi O Sushi, which serves traditional Japanese cuisine in a sleek, modern lounge. Enjoy a crispy yellowtail volcano roll with pickled radish or fried rice with your choice of chicken, shrimp, or veggies.
The team behind this wedge game has spent the last decade serving dishes from the Lincoln Park community around the world, from clams to Thai curries and chicken nachos with tinga, Greek lamb meatballs, and ahi tuna tataki. Despite this-worldliness, the menu exhibits a Midwestern feel to the core.
Quality Crab & Oyster Bah
Oyster lovers are in good hands at this luxurious fish shack, the perfect haven for anything related to the shell. The menu goes beyond seafood and ranges from a Pokémon tasting to crispy cod tacos, fish and chips, and fried chicken. Their Bloody Mary, a tasty version of a shrimp cocktail and a sip of beer, is worth it. There is also a takeaway menu from Seaside’s, the virtual inn that shares the same kitchen.
Things to do in and around the Chicago zoo
It could be a luxury hotel, a famous restaurant or airport, a known busy station, a historical museum, or other tourist attractions. The Chicago zoo is filled with things and places you should see.
- Malott Family Penguin Encounter
- Lionel Train Adventure
- AT&T Endangered Species Carousel
Early Childhood Activities
- Sing Along with Mr. Singer
Kids can sing, dance, and clap their hands with Chicago’s lovely Mr. Singer as he performs original songs while the wee ones sing and dance along with him. This joyful jamboree features animal songs and dances, and every show features a “kid’s choice” and an “adult’s choice,” so you can ask for your favorite sing-along song.
- Play Days at the Farm
- Edible Gardens
How to get to the Chicago Zoo
You might be wondering how you can get to Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, United States?
You can get to the Lincoln Park Zoo by taking a line 22 bus or taking direct buses or direct trains.
The most affordable way to get from Chicago to Lincoln Park Zoo is to take line 22 bus, which costs $3 and takes 30 min while the quickest way to get from Chicago to Lincoln Park Zoo is to take a taxi which will cost approximately $13 - $17 and takes 6 min.
There are also direct buses that depart from Dearborn & Ida B Wells Drive and arrive at Clark & Webster. Services depart every 10 minutes and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 25 min.
There are also direct trains departing from Harold Washington Library and arriving at Sedgwick. Services depart every 10 minutes, and they also operate every day. The journey is expected to take approximately 13 min.
The distance between Downtown Chicago and Lincoln Park Zoo is 5 km.