2023 Zoo Gifting Guide

December 6, 2023

The holiday season is full of festive sights and sounds, along with get-togethers that bring families together. But the season includes its stresses as well, like trying to get the best gifts for everyone on your list and figuring out how to host the perfect holiday party.

If you know a zoo fan, make your shopping decisions easy: get them a present through Lincoln Park Zoo! By doing so, you’re providing a gift that gives back. You can pick from experiential gifts or physical ones. Here are some ways you can brighten a loved one’s life while supporting the zoo and the animals that reside here.

Browse the Gift Shop

Right now, the Lincoln Park Zoo Gift Shop is full of items that will delight animal lovers of every age, from stickers that would make great stocking stuffers to T-shirts, mugs, and toys. There are even ZooLights-friendly items, like Santa hats with giraffe ears, strings of lights you can wear, and red panda-themed headbands that light up.

Shop for sloth-shaped handbags, books, or Beelove gift sets that feature local honey from zoo partners at the North Lawndale Employment Network. Or pick up this year’s ornaments: a brass ornament featuring giraffes, a glass globe ornament featuring the bur oak and the Chicago skyline, and a porcelain ornament featuring a hand-drawn illustration of the three lion cubs born in January 2023.

Take Them to ZooLights!

Bring your family to the zoo to see the holiday lights! Create your own intergenerational, seasonal tradition and make some memories at this urban oasis in the heart of Chicago. ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ is one of the city’s favorite destinations during the holidays.

If you have friends coming in from out of town, you’ll definitely want to show them this place, impress them with the great conservation work the zoo does, and check out the view of the Chicago skyline from the south end of the grounds. Just remember to buy your tickets ahead of time so that you’re sure to get in quickly without the inconvenience of standing in line in the cold.

Give the Gift of Membership

Membership at Lincoln Park Zoo includes exciting, exclusive perks that your recipient can take advantage of all year long, starting at $69 for an individual membership. All memberships include discounted or free parking, access to the Member Lounge, invitations to members-only events, deals on tickets for attractions such as the Endangered Species Carousel and Lionel Train Adventure, and discounts on events, camps, items at the Gift Shop, stroller rentals, and food at zoo restaurants. You also get free or discounted admission to more than 100 Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions nationwide.

Plus, with a Safari-level membership, you get unlimited free parking. In other words, when you buy a membership gift for someone, your gift recipient is getting a year’s worth of discounted or free experiences at Lincoln Park Zoo, and you’re paying one reasonable price to give them all that access.

Image by Cassy Kutilek

Adopt an Animal

If someone in your circle has a favorite animal, why not get them an Adopt package? Lincoln Park Zoo allows you to symbolically adopt an animal, so you can choose from one of our holiday featured Adopts (the pygmy hippo, Canada lynx, or red wolf) or pick your person’s favorite animal from 21 other options.

When you get an Adopt plush package for $65, your gift recipient receives the plush, a personalized certificate, a fact sheet, a photo, and a magnetic photo frame. You can purchase Adopt packages (without the plush) starting at $40 either online or at the Member Center in Searle Visitor Center.

Not sure which animal to symbolically adopt this holiday season? Find one that matches your personality, or that of a loved one. Take the quiz and find out which species suits you!

Provide for Animals from the Wish List

The Wish List features items that specific zoo animals need. So, if you know your friend has a specific affinity for an individual here, you can help provide for that animal on your friend’s behalf. Go in on some meaty bones for snow leopards Kennedi and Ozzy, for example, or help Rae and Finely, the resident giraffes, create a cozy place to rest with pine shavings. You simply purchase a small share of an item that ranges from $6-$13 and let the zoo do the rest.

You’ll receive a certificate recognizing your purchase, which you can provide to a recipient. This is an easy and inexpensive gift—and a nice gesture for anyone in your life.

However you go about purchasing a gift from the zoo, you are supporting the animal care, conservation, and education work done here every day. You’re also helping to keep the zoo free for the 3 million people who walk through Lincoln Park Zoo’s gates every year. This giving season, you can feel good about where your money goes—and you can make sure you’re supporting a cause you believe in.

Empty Playlist