Lincoln Park Zoo has always been a place of pride, both for our iconic lions and the generations of visitors who’ve enjoyed free, open access to the wonders of wildlife. Now we’re excited to announce a new vision for the zoo with our $125 million Pride of Chicago campaign.
Free, open and amazing 365 days a year, Lincoln Park Zoo introduces millions of annual guests to the wonders of wildlife. World-class care, global conservation projects and award-winning education programs all reflect the successes of Chicago’s free zoo. We’re proud of these accomplishments, but Lincoln Park Zoo has even bigger plans ahead, setting new standards for our wildlife, our guests and the city we love.
Derived from the Board of Trustees’ long-term strategic vision, this campaign aims to:
Transform the zoo’s physical landscape: Renew facilities, exhibits and green spaces so that the physical setting matches the quality of our expertise in animal care, conservation science and horticulture.
Transform the visitor experience: Apply the most current scientific understanding of animal care to the design of new habitats and use new communication technologies to further engage, educate and inform the public.
Transform the zoo’s financial foundation: Expand our base of donor support, create new sources of revenue and increase contributions from the community through investments in capital, endowment and annual giving.
At Lincoln Park Zoo, we have the privilege of working with animals and sharing their wonders. We have the privilege, too, of rededicating ourselves to our vital mission: connecting people with nature by providing a free, family-oriented wildlife experience. At every important stage of the zoo’s development through its 148-year history, philanthropy has made progress possible, and the same is true today. To date, the Pride of Chicago campaign has raised more than $85 million, breaking ground on three new exhibits, the first of which—Regenstein Macaque Forest—opened in spring 2015
As we embark on the final phase of the campaign, support from the Chicago community is vital for Lincoln Park Zoo, which has been privately managed since 1995. Please join us as we look to the future. With your help, Lincoln Park Zoo will be one of the city’s greatest treasures for decades to come. With your help, Lincoln Park Zoo will continue to be the Pride of Chicago.
As we launch The Pride of Chicago campaign, a $125 million effort to transform Lincoln Park Zoo, this special video shares everything that makes the zoo a place of pride
Pride in Progress
This $125 million campaign will transform one of Chicago’s best-loved destinations. Our innovative plans include immersive, state-of-the-art animal habitats and an enhanced visitor experience that will promote Lincoln Park Zoo’s mission of conservation, learning and care—and maintain the zoo as the Pride of Chicago for generations to come.
Kovler Lion House
A destination for generations of visitors, the Kovler Lion House is home to echoing roars and amazing memories. The Pride of Chicago campaign will transform this historic habitat at the heart of the zoo, preserving the building’s landmark character while creating new, naturalistic habitats sure to inspire connections with the zoo’s animals—and commitments toward saving them.
Imagine walking down the zoo’s Main Mall as a pride of lions roams an African savanna spanning the entire north side of the Kovler Lion House. Cubs play in the grass and females sun themselves on the rocks as the majestic male stands watch, his mane reflecting his dominance.
Inside the Lion House, the sights and sounds of Africa will surround you as educators, researchers and rich media features showcase the zoo’s efforts to protect the people, pets and predators of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park…one of many zoo initiatives improving animal welfare and wildlife conservation around the globe.
Located near the zoo’s East Gate, our new Visitor Center will offer 3.5 million annual visitors a dynamic introduction to the world of wildlife. This vital, open space will guide guests of all backgrounds as they launch unforgettable visits to Chicago’s free zoo. Integrated technology and eager hosts will highlight daily activities, new arrivals and the breadth of the Lincoln Park Zoo’s mission of conservation, learning and care.
As Lincoln Park Zoo launches innovative initiatives to engage youth and communities in conservation, a dedicated space is needed to anchor these new programs and research their effectiveness. The Learning Center will serve as a laboratory for advancing informal education, offering a model for cultural institutions across the United States. Featuring open work areas and a high-tech learning lab, it will be a nexus of activity, giving students the resources they need to build the skills, knowledge and confidence to become future leaders.
Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove
Opening in fall 2016, the Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove will offer a lively living space for a cozy colony of African penguins. Guests will feel like they’re part of the flock as they enjoy up-close views of aquatic adaptations and noisy displays. The Penguin Cove is specially built to meet this endangered species’ needs, from beach to nest box, even as Lincoln Park Zoo works with other institutions across the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to keep African penguins safe from extinction.
Walter Family Arctic Tundra
The state-of-the-art Walter Family Arctic Tundra will provide a safe space for a species living on the edge: polar bears. Incorporating our latest knowledge about these powerful predators, the immersive habitat includes a number of features to encourage natural behaviors and ensure top-notch comfort and care. Ample tundra space will give the bears plenty of room to roam even as cool pools and a frosty ice cave ensure year-round comfort. The Arctic Tundra is even designed to be divided into two separate habitats…a necessary feature for hoped-for new arrivals down the road.
Kovler Seal Pool
For more than 135 years, seals have welcomed guests to the zoo, providing an engaging introduction to Lincoln Park Zoo’s world of wildlife. We’re now renewing this classic habitat by reshaping the rocky landing in the heart of the habitat. Beyond offering the marine mammals a place to rest and soak up sun, this “seal beach” provides a perfect platform to share daily operant-conditioning sessions with guests. Artificial kelp and extra lighting will enhance the underwater viewing experience, offering guests a glimpse at another world beneath the surface.
Regenstein Macaque Forest
Lincoln Park Zoo’s newest habitat, Regenstein Macaque Forest opened in April 2015, offering a state-of-the-art home for a troop of Japanese macaques. The original eight-member troop has grown to 12 with four new arrivals, all the result of breeding recommendations from the Japanese Macaque Species Survival Plan®. The $15.5 million habitat features tall trees to climb and a central hot spring to splash in, even as two built-in touch-screen computer stations let zoo scientists learn more about how this complex species sees the world around them.
Sponsored by iconic model train company Lionel Trains, this ride for kids near the zoo’s West Gate opened in October 2014. Departing from its brick station, the train rolls past forest and canyon scenery, crossing a country bridge before returning to the station. Its five cars can carry 28 passengers—plus the conductor, of course—and includes a coal car and wheelchair-accessible caboose.
A 2015 restoration of the zoo’s Main Mall reflects the landscape’s Victorian roots while gracefully introducing guests to the zoo’s gardens. A central alleé features dual rows of planters with flowering perennials, leafy elms and globed lampposts. West of Wild Things! Gift Shop, a redesigned garden and stairwell complements that building’s aesthetic while evoking green spaces throughout the zoo, all part of Lincoln Park Zoo’s landscape master plan.
Show Your Pride
What makes you proud to support Lincoln Park Zoo? Share your favorite zoo story or photo with #PrideOfChicago! You can also email your zoo pride to firstname.lastname@example.org.