Lincoln Park Zoo

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About Lincoln Park Zoo

Located in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, the 35-acre Lincoln Park Zoo has been a part of North America’s history since 1868. This makes it the fourth oldest zoo in North America. Attracting visitors from all across the continent with its free admission policy, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited attraction is home to over 1,100 animals from 200 different species. Visitors may explore the zoo’s exhibits featuring big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas and more. Even older than the city itself is a burr oak tree located within Lincoln Park Zoo that dates back to 1830. If looking for painting & remodeling contact CHJ Painting & Remodeling.

The Hsitory of The Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo opened in 1868 when the Chicago Park District were awarded two pairs of swans by the Central Park Board of Commissioners. Other animals soon joined the zoo, including a puma, two elk, three wolves, four eagles and eight peacocks. The first animal purchased by the zoo was a bear cub from Philadelphia Zoo in 1874 for $10. The bear was known to escape from its enclosure and roam around Lincoln Park at night! In 1884, the first American bison born in captivity was born at the zoo – a species that was close to extinction in 1896, leading to one bull and seven cows being transferred to Yellowstone National Park for conservation efforts.


From 1888-1919, Cy DeVry served as director of the zoo and greatly expanded its collection with new structures built for housing animals such as elephants, monkeys and even a gorilla named Bushman (from 1931-1951). The 1893 Viking ship from the World’s Fair resided at the zoo until its expansion in 1994.


The Helen Brach Primate House was also renovated and reopened in 1992 featuring more naturalistic settings. From 1944 until 1962, Marlin Perkins served as director of the Lincoln Park Zoo, creating a citizen’s group to support its mission – the Lincoln Park Zoological Society. Expansion continued throughout 70s-80s with more naturalistic exhibits being added. In 1995 management was taken over by Zoological Soceity from Chicago Park District who remain owners today.


The Kovler Sea Lion Pool opened in 1999 with harbor seals taking residence there followed shortly after by Regenstein African Journey which opened in 2003 featuring African Elephants and Giraffes along with other species such as Aardvark, Ostrich and African wild dog. Finally in 2005 Regenstein Centre for African Apes opened focusing on research into Common Chimpanzee and Western Lowland Gorillas behaviors as well their habitats becoming more naturalistic.Learn about the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago


The Lincoln Park Zoo Business Information 

Address: 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Departments: Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo · Rhino watch

Phone: (312) 742-2000

Notable animals: Daxin, Jack, Keo, Bushman, Marta, Madiba, Kwan, MORE

Exhibits: Regenstein Macaque Forest, MORE

Area: 35 acres

Opened: 1868

Number of animals: 1,100