Announcing Our Next Exhibit

The rich social interactions of Japanese macaques will be at the heart of Lincoln Park Zoo's next great exhibit, Regenstein Macaque Forest.

The rich social interactions of Japanese macaques will be at the heart of Lincoln Park Zoo's next great exhibit, Regenstein Macaque Forest.

Regenstein Macaque Forest—Coming Soon

Some animals are solitary. But the species at the center of the zoo’s next great exhibit are social, delightfully so.

Japanese macaques call, chase, play and groom one another to maintain deep social bonds. These fabled snow monkeys are active in every season, climbing rich green trees and exploring crisp snowdrifts.

The exhibit they’ll call home—Regenstein Macaque Forest—will combine the natural and the state of the art. Green vines will camouflage walls, immersing visitors in the forest scene before them. Digital signage and a built-in research station will connect guests with the latest wild information, reinforcing the connection between Lincoln Park Zoo’s and the grand world of wildlife around us.

Look for Regenstein Macaque Forest to open soon.

Rendering of Lincoln Park Zoo's next great exhibit, Regenstein Macaque Forest, which will combine the natural with the state of the art.

Regenstein Macaque Forest will combine the natural with the state of the art.

View the Full Rendering

What's Planned?

Cooler By the Dozen

The new Japanese macaque troop will instantly be one of the zoo’s signature social groups. Its 10–15 members will offer a constantly changing dynamic, full of rich observations—and research.

Open to the Sky

The outdoor exhibit will feature open views from ground to treetops, giving these active animals room to chase and climb.

Hot and Heated

A central hot spring will offer the snow monkeys a visually stunning winter warm-up similar to the ones the species share in the wild.

Kids will enjoy an exciting ride on the Lionel Train Adventure.

Reimagining the West Entrance

Regenstein Macaque Forest won’t be the only transformation. The area around the new exhibit will be reimagined as well, providing extra space to relax—and play.

Get Ready to Ride

Thanks to our friends at Lionel Trains, a zoo ride on the rails will be more fun than ever! The Lionel Train Adventure will take little ones through a dynamic landscape—and offer exclusive views of Regenstein Macaque Forest.

A Green Hideaway

The eating area around Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café will be reenvisioned to offer garden views and room for relaxation. This new plaza will offer a fitting frame for a venue that’s refreshed zoo guests since 1899.

Dual Welcome

A new information kiosk near the West Gate will share everything Chicago’s free zoo has to offer with guests arriving via Stockton Drive. It’s a perfect place to highlight the zoo’s amazing animals, daily activities and commitment to conservation.


Originally published in Summer 2013 Lincoln Park Zoo magazine


Is it true that macaques are one of the few species that shares their sense of color recognition with humans? That is, they sense and interpret the color spectrum in the same way that we do?

Great question! Research Scientist Katherine Cronin, Ph.D., replies, "Macaques do in fact have trichromatic vision, just  like we do, and can see the same color spectrum as us. However, they may find certain colors more attractive than others – red seems to be an especially important color for Japanese macaques, as it signals their fertility (look at those rumps and faces!)."

Is there a regular schedule when the macaques are allowed into the booths to solve memory tasks? Where would I find this?

Great question! We have Snow Monkey Science sessions scheduled at 11:40 a.m. daily, although it's always up to the snow monkeys whether or not they want to go into the booth. See our full daily activities schedule!

Can you tell me where the macaques came from (aside from Japan). More specifically, were they captured from the wild?

Our Japanese macaque troop came to us from the Japan Monkey Centre, a zoo in Inuyama, Japan.

Is the Macaque exhibit be open now?

J.H., we're putting the finishing touches on Regenstein Macaque Forest and hope to have a firm opening date to announce soon! You can see our latest update here.

Will the Macaque exhibit be open in time for Zoolights?

Great question, Kim! We don't have a fixed date yet, but we can say that we're working hard to open Regenstein Macaque Forest as soon as possible. We're very excited about this new exhibit and will share updates about its opening as soon as we can.

Kids always love to go to the zoo and the zoo needs to have an attractive zoo exhibit to make to it attractive. The planned exhibit sounds great, cant wait to go there when it is finished.

Glad to hear the enthusiasm--we're excited for Regenstein Macaque Forest as well!

I am very excited about this new exhibit! As someone who works with Macaque monkeys, I am glad the public will be able to see and learn about them. What precautions will the zoo be taking to protect the keepers from possible Herpes B virus infection? Just curious.....

Glad to hear you're excited--we are too! Regarding your question, Lincoln Park Zoo staff always use personal protection equipment (PPE) when in proximity to nonhuman primates in order to reduce the risk of zoonotic disease exposure.  

We are very excited for the arrival of the new exhibit! We come to the zoo frequently and always love going to the monkey/ape exhibits. We have seen groups of Japanese macaque's at other zoo's such as Cincinnati and can't wait to have them join our local zoo! We recently noticed you also added lemurs which we also love. We hope eventually additional species of gibbon's may someday join the LP zoo as well!

Thanks for your comment--and your enthusiasm! We're very excited for the macaques as well.

I think the zoo has enough monkeys / apes. I rather see something bigger than just monkeys like more tigers / lions / leopards / panthers / warthogs / bears / elephants, etc. It's good to see something come out of the penguin house that is not being used, but to me you are focusing too much on monkeys / apes. You have 2 big buildings of just them.

Thanks for the feedback! We're excited to welcome Japanese macaques--we think their social displays and cold-weather activity will excited visitors in all seasons. We're always thinking of other areas to improve the zoo, though, and we appreciate your thoughts.

Though people seem to be in an uproar about losing the penguin house- I can't help but be ecstatic to see a completely new species come to the beloved Lincoln Park Zoo!
Don't worry everyone, the penguins will be back! Till then, enjoy the social entertainment that will come with watching a dozen or so Japanese Macaque's play and tussle around this - what seems to be a beautful blueprint of the up and coming exhibit!

We're excited too, Ryan! Thanks for the message.

I am very excited about the new snow monkey exhibit, but I really am looking forward to the return of penguins to Lincoln Park Zoo. This was the only place to see these beautiful birds for FREE. Not everyone can afford the admission price to Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo, especially for families. I realize the penguin building was old, but why didn't the zoo just build another newer penguin exhibit in it's place?

We love penguins too, but in considering what to do with the space, a Japanese macaque social group seemed like the most exciting--and educational--opportunity.

This active species will be outdoors all year, interacting with special exhibit enrichment including hot springs. Our educators can interpret their rich social behaviors for visitors even as researchers learn from them via a built-in research program paralleling the groundbreaking work being done at Regenstein Center for African Apes.

We do still plan to bring back penguins at a future date. The richness of the natural world means that any exhibit-design decisions involve some tough choices!

Thank you for this explanation. I hope the return of the penguins will be soon. My family along with others really loved seeing the penguins at Lincoln Park Zoo. They are extremely popular animals, but I guess you already know that.

No problem--we can certainly understand the interest and enthusiasm!

I am very angry that the penguins have been taken away. The Lincoln Park Zoo is the only place in the state where African Americans can view penguins and learn about them. I am angry that you have decided to take this educational opportunity away from minority students in the Chicago Public School system. Penguins are very popular for the African American community and you have decided to take this from us. I am going to contact Rainbow Push and the NAACP and complain.

We understand your feelings about penguins--we love them too! While penguins aren't part of the planning for Regenstein Macaque Forest, we do plan to bring them back to the zoo in the future. In the meantime, the Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield are wonderful places for everyone to see penguins.

Fabulous, and very exciting!

What currently exists in the space designated for the new exhibit? Are we talking about the natural-looking area on the westernmost part of the zoo grounds that extends north of the former penguin house?

Regenstein Macaque Forest will pretty much replace the closed Kovler Penguin-Seabird House, although the construction will probably include some of the natural-looking area you mention. We're excited too!

Are the Penguins coming back?

Tom, we still plan to bring penguins back in the future, but it won't be part of this project!

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