Lincoln Park Zoo: An Educational Experience
The Lincoln Park Zoo is an educational experience for every member of the family. Chicago is proud to boast one of the very few remaining free zoos in the nation. The zoo is located minutes from downtown Chicago, off Lakeshore Drive at the Fullerton Parkway Exit. The attraction welcomes visitors 365 days of the year. Hours and parking information are available on the website.
History: The Lincoln Park Zoo began from humble beginnings with the donation of a pair of swans in 1868 from the New York Central Park Commissioners. A bear cub was added in 1874 and an enclosure for the bear constructed in 1879. A sea lion pool was added 10 years later and a small mammal house. An eagle exhibit and cafe were completed near the end of the century. A bird house, aquarium, reptile house, primate house and children’s zoo were added in later years. The Blum-Kovler Penguin and Seabird House opened in 1981. The Conservation Center was completed in 1998. The Regenstein African Journey was constructed in 2003 and opened the following year. In 2010 the Nature Boardwalk was completed among a naturalistic pond habitat. In addition to new construction projects, the zoo has experienced numerous renovations over the years.
Amphibians, Birds and Mammals: The zoo features animal species from all across the globe. Amphibians include the American toads, dyeing poison arrow frogs, Emperor Newts, mudpuppies, the Solomon Island leaf frogs and many others. Abdim’s storks, bald eagles, barn owls, blue crowned motmots, Himalayan monols, Inca terns, laughing kookaburras, trumpeter swans and wood ducks are just a few of the birds that can be seen at the zoo. The mammal section includes African lions, alpacas, Asian small clawed otters, Baringo giraffes, black bears, black howler monkeys, eastern black rhinoceros, gorillas, jaguars and pumas just to name a few.
Exhibits: The Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo is a favorite among children of all ages. Visitors enjoy watching the interesting animal behaviors of the American beavers, black bears and red wolves housed in the children’s section. Animals from the continent of Africa may be viewed at the Regenstein African Journey. The McCormick Bird House presents a colorful spectacle for the eyes and nature’s orchestra for the ears. Approximately 10 species of primates may be viewed at Helen Brach Primate House. Visitors delight at the antics of the Harbor seals at the Kovler Sea Lion Pool. Domestic cows, goats, pigs, chickens and other livestock reside at Farm-in-the-Zoo.
Conclusion: The zoo is a free learning environment for children and adults. The animals read about in books may be viewed up close in habitats resembling the natural surroundings from the continent of origination by zoo visitors. The Lincoln Park Zoo is an educational experience for everyone that visits and a jewel for Chicago.
(Photo is courtesy of Lincoln Park - 003 as uploaded by Charles Carper at Flickr’s Creative Commons.)