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
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travellers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience Lincoln Park Zoo and nearby attractions

See what travellers are saying
  • Chris H
    Grand Rapids, Michigan1,282 contributions
    Closed Early, unnecessarily!
    This isn't the easiest review for a couple of reason. To start with I visited in late November, kinda the off-season. So for the most part the animals weren't outdoors. Also I made my plans month previous. I had done research though and it stated that in November the Zoo was open till 5pm. However they closed at 3pm due to a light show till January. I didn't know that and got there a few minutes before 2:30pm expecting 2 1/2 hours. Instead I had 30 minutes. I hurried through and saw the tigers and the Apes, including the great Apes. Plus a Zebra and some deer. That was about it. I saw maybe 30%. All in a rush. There really wasn't a reason they had to close early. Lastly there really weren't very many animals, in a lot of the areas just 1 or 2 animals. I enjoyed the layout of the part of the zoo I saw. Overall a 3 star review. Would have been 4, but the time issue isn't forgivable to me. The lights were set up already, so why did they need to kick people out? However that being said it is a free experience. Would I return? Yes it's free and some very interesting animals to see.
    Visited November 2022
    Travelled solo
    Written 16 December 2022
  • Nelson C
    Salvador, BA1,225 contributions
    Lincoln Park , open air Art place
    A big city can be dangerous only if you don’t choose right! Lincoln park is a paradise for the arts, formal and informal, a tremendous place to be entertained with humans, animals and art everywhere, even in a snack bar. We explored it for two days and could have done more. Next year, I’ll be back, just wait.
    Visited December 2022
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 December 2022
  • MekkTekk
    50 contributions
    A must visit for Chicago
    Cannot believe this Zoo is free! I really appreciate the kind folks who continue to fund this stellar attraction. There are lots of exotic animals and different types of exhibits. It’s very compact for a zoo so it’s easy to see everything in a couple of hours. The setting is amazing with views of the City from the south pond area. I was a little saddened to see the Gorillas behind the glass - they definitely looked dejected and stir-crazy. This is a must visit for Chicago.
    Visited August 2022
    Written 25 December 2022
  • Ellen B
    Hortonville, Wisconsin709 contributions
    Exceptional Zoo
    I recently spent a winter's day afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo with my granddaughter. It was a cold day, but we kept moving and made use of all of the indoor exhibits so did not get chilly. We especially liked the lion exhibit. The male lion was prowling the area right in front of the glass wall, it was thrilling staring into his amber eyes. I could read his thoughts "If it wasn't for this wall . . .guess what. . .you humans are NOT at the top of the food chain!" There was ample viewing space in the lion house, where we were able to view the 5 or so lionesses were lolling about on the rocks. Other highlights were the zebras, several varieties of ducks, geese, monkeys, rhinoceros, and seals. We didn't see the whole shebang as we decided to head home to warm up, but we'll definitely be back! (3 yo granddaughter has short legs!) Snack Bar: We ate at the Park Place Cafe. We only had the French Fries & a popsicle, but I would definitely go back to sample one of the many offerings here. Seating is ample & the variety is great. Their French Fries are delicious! Staff are wonderfully accommodating.
    Visited December 2022
    Written 2 January 2023
  • AndrewWhitby85
    Leeds, United Kingdom176 contributions
    A great little Zoo
    We came here twice within the same vacation. The first time it was OK but many of the exhibits and animals were not on show. Because of that we spent time in the Gorilla house and African Savannah buildings which were nice to walk through. The second visit 5 days later was on s particularly cold snowy day but this time we got to see the Lions and Polar bears which was a real highlight and totally made the second trip worthwhile. The Zoo is free of charge surrounded by beautiful Lincoln Park so I'd definitely recommend at least one visit whilst visiting Chicago. Free Tours by Foot Architecture walking tour. This tour was an excellent introduction to the city of Chicago and it's amazing architecture including the birth of the skyscraper. Although you can appreciate the awesomeness of these buildings just by looking at them getting their history, purpose and aesthetic choices of the architects involved is priceless. Our guide Mitch was knowledgeable, friendly. I would wholeheartedly recommend booking a place onto this tour.
    Visited January 2023
    Written 30 January 2023
  • Rebecca B
    Maidstone, United Kingdom24 contributions
    Great attraction, especially as it's free!
    We went at the beginning of a cold snap when it was snowing so some of the animals were choosing to stay tucked up inside (which is completely understandable!) but we still got to see a lot of animals & the whole facility seemed to be really well set up. The staff we interacted with were friendly & knowledgeable, one even went out of her way to draw our attention to a viewing window we had missed so we could see a snoozing otter (so cute!) It was easy to get to on public transport. Would definitely recommend this zoo to anyone visiting Chicago!
    Visited January 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 31 January 2023
  • 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
    Travelled solo
    Written 11 March 2023
  • cazzzie987
    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom263 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 25 March 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 7 April 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 April 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
5,975 reviews
Excellent
3,658
Very good
1,618
Average
494
Poor
135
Terrible
70

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 29 November 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 28 November 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 19 November 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 6 November 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 27 September 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 4 September 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 4 September 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.

BrettR
Mission Viejo, CA324 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
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.
Written 2 September 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.

Nofrillstraveler
44 contributions
Aug 2023 • Solo
This is one of the cleanest and most well-maintained zoos that I have ever been to. The admission is free, but they do get you for parking. Parking was $30.00 for approximately two hours. Fairly standard for Chicago.
Written 31 August 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.

Mattkur
Chicago, IL129 contributions
Aug 2023 • Family
Lots of area to cover here. Bring your walking shoes. The snow monkeys were active when we were there in the afternoon. The polar bears were staying low and we didn’t catch a glimpse of them.
Written 28 August 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.

Showing results 1-10 of 5,139
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

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

Frequently Asked Questions about Lincoln Park Zoo

According to Tripadvisor travellers, these are the best ways to experience Lincoln Park Zoo: