Contacting the Zoo
For a recording of general Lincoln Park Zoo information, including directions and hours, call 312-742-2000.
Lincoln Park Zoo’s main entrance and paid parking lot are located at the east side of the zoo. There are 19 accessible parking spaces along Cannon Drive. The lot does fill up on summer weekends.
Wheelchairs are available at Gateway Pavilion for temporary use by guests within the zoo. Loans are first come, first served. A refundable deposit of $20, or a driver’s license or state ID, is required.
All public buildings at the zoo have at least one wheelchair-accessible entrance. All of the animal encounter programs at the Farm-in-the-Zoo are wheelchair-accessible. The Lionel Train Adventure ride features a wheelchair-accessible caboose.
Restrooms are available at Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House, Pritzker Family Children's Zoo, Park Place Café via a ramp, Farm-in-the-Zoo Main Barn, Foreman Pavilion (open seasonally) and Café at Wild Things (open seasonally) via a ramp. Buildings open at 10 a.m. Foreman Pavilion opens at 9 a.m.
Service animals are allowed. A service animal is defined as a domestic dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual. Pets, exotic species, therapy or emotional-support animals are not permitted at Lincoln Park Zoo. In addition to the provisions about service dogs, miniature horses are also recognized under the law as animals that work or perform tasks for peoples with disabilities. The same Service Animal rules apply to miniature horses.
Guests that have service animals are asked to start their zoo visit at Gateway Pavilion, located at the zoo’s East Gate, to alert staff. Guests are allowed in all public areas of the zoo. Their service animals are allowed access to most public, non-animal areas of the zoo including: McCormick Bird House, outdoor Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit, Kovler Sea Lion Pool, Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo, Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House Gallery (east end of building), Regenstein Center for African Apes, Hope B. McCormick Swan Pond and Waterfowl Lagoon, Antelope & Zebra Area, Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo and the Main Barn at the Farm-in-the-Zoo.
Because we want all guests to enjoy all areas of the zoo, if you would like to visit an area where service animals are not allowed, we are happy to provide the following: a guided walk-through of the area by a volunteer while another member of your party supervises your service animal. Please complete the Accommodation Request Form to request this service.
Due to the natural predator/prey instinct of animals, some zoo animals may react quickly or violently to the presence of a service animal. If you notice a zoo animal becoming distressed or overly aggressive by the presence of your service animal, please leave the area immediately. Service animals may also be temporarily restricted from specific public areas due to zoo animal concerns (new births or hatchings, nesting or breeding).
If at any time the sight, sound or scent of a service animal upsets zoo animals, causing them to become dangerous to themselves or others, the service animal will need to be removed from that area. Service animals must be in their official roles, under control with leash or harness, at all times.
We appreciate your understanding.
Park Place Café, the zoo’s food-court, is accessible and open year round. Park Place Café is located just south of the Kovler Lion House.
Open seasonally, the Patio at Café Brauer, Safari Café and Café at Wild Things (via ramp) also are accessible.
The zoo’s two gift shops, Wild Things! (on the main mall) and the Safari Shop (located in the Lion House), are accessible. Staff are available for assistance.
Guests with Personal Mobility Devices
Lincoln Park Zoo permits the use of wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices by individuals with mobility disabilities. Guests are encouraged to start their visit at Gateway Pavilion.
Due to the volume of pedestrian traffic and for the safety of all guests and staff at the zoo, the zoo requires the other power-driven mobility device to be set on the lowest setting. Typically this is a “walk” setting.
Due to the health and safety of zoo guests and staff and the nature of the facility, other power-driven mobility devices with combustible engines, golf carts, ATV vehicles and the like are not allowed on zoo grounds.
Please be aware many areas of the zoo contain narrow walkways, branches, doorways and/or uneven terrain. Please use caution when operating electronic mobility devices and wheelchairs at all times.
Guests Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and/or Real Time Captioning are available for the deaf and hearing-impaired for zoo classes and programs. Printed scripts for our seal training and feeding and ape training are available upon request. For these services, please complete the Accommodation Request Form and send to the zoo at least 14 business days in advance of your visit.
Guests Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
Guests who are visually impaired can request the services of a sighted guide (a zoo volunteer) who will accompany the guest on a tour of Regenstein African Journey. The tour will highlight sensory objects including animal sculptures. For this service, please complete the Accommodation Request Form and send to the zoo at least 14 business days in advance of your visit.
Tactile Reference Guide
Many exhibits have tactile elements to enhance the experience. Below is a list of these tactile features:
Regenstein African Journey
- Life-sized rhino sign
- Hippo statues
- Polar bear outline and paw next to underwater viewing window (will be under construction September 2014–2016)
Kovler Sea Lion Pool
- Relief artwork of seal to sea lion comparison
Kovler Lion House
- Tiger radio collar (outside yard)
- Lion paw replica (outside yard)
Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo
- Wolf cutouts
- “Howling tubes”
- Log next to the glass wall where the black bears can sleep on the other side
Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House
- Auditorium video about Lincoln Park Zoo
- Baobab tree (simulates a common habitat in Africa for some animals)
Regenstein Center for African Apes
- Gorilla statues outside along path
- Gorilla face sculptures inside building (tactile and sound elements)
- Rubber dirt activity
- Edible Garden (when in season)
- Tornado and bee interpretives
Guests with Developmental and Learning Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Lincoln Park Zoo has partnered with The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) and Have Dreams to develop social guides designed to help children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special needs smoothly navigate the zoo. These guides describe a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives and common responses.
Sensory Information for Zoo Animal Buildings
To assist parents and care givers, below are “things to know” about the sensory experiences in each animal building:
- McCormick Bird House is quiet and serene and not as frequently visited. The free flight exhibit does have birds that might fly close to a guest.
- Regenstein African Journey has low lighting. The first room does have free flight birds. Some of the floors are “squishy".
- Kovler Lion House is loud and echoes. On busy days it becomes very crowded.
- Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House is fairly sensory neutral. Some animals reside behind glass and some behind mesh. There are no real loud noises or smells except at a small alcove near the bat exhibit where there are sounds and sights of a thunderstorm.
- Helen Brach Primate House is dark and fairly sensory neutral. It has an open floor plan and all the animals are behind glass, so it is an easily visited exhibit.
- Regenstein Center for African Apes has great animal viewing, but be advised there are primate-face interpretives that make loud noises when touched by guests. It could be alarming for a person who may become upset at loud and sudden noises. Please note that some species may behave in unique ways that may be surprising to guests, including pounding on the glass at guests, chasing each other or displaying fecal matter on the windows.
- The Farm-in-the Zoo is a great place for guests to greet the animals up-close. There are scheduled cow feeding times (seasonal) and a yard for guests to greet the goats. There are odors at the farm, and the goats will easily approach guests in the yard.
The zoo is typically busy from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. during the summer, especially on weekends. For a less hectic visit and with possibly better animal viewing, early mornings, weekdays and the fall and winter seasons are good times to visit the zoo.