5 Reasons Spring Is the Best Season at the Zoo

April 3, 2024

Winter is officially over! Although we’re not currently experiencing spring-like weather, people have been venturing outdoors and the city is already starting to bloom, thanks to mild late-winter days. If you’re contemplating a trip to the zoo, this is a great time to do it.

As always, Lincoln Park Zoo is free—but any money you spend here (for parking, concessions, or at the Gift Shop) helps us care for the animals and fund conservation projects as far away as the Congo Basin.

1. It’s a Great Location for Scenic Spring Visits

Some of us prefer to lay low during the winter, but as summer arrives, Chicago becomes a fantastic place to hang out. Lincoln Park is perfect because you’re in an actual neighborhood, as compared to the more touristy locations downtown. Yet you get a gorgeous view of the skyline and a visit to one of the family-friendly cultural gems near the lakefront, along with visits to your favorite animals.

snow leopard

Photo by Christopher Bijalba

2. Tulips, Bluebells, and Daffodils Are Flowering

As a nationally accredited arboretum, there are few better places than Lincoln Park Zoo to experience the progress of this lovely yet capricious season in Chicago. If you’d like to see what’s blooming here this month, check out lpzoo.gardenexplorer.org and visit the Tours section.

3. You can End Your Winter Hibernation Period With One of Our Upcoming Events

The zoo’s 2024 events season has begun! On Monday, April 22, you can come for Earth Day activities. They’re free and fun! Then, on Friday, April 26, come to Zoo-ologie, a cocktail party and fundraiser hosted by the Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo featuring the city’s best bites. Coming soon, Jay Taylor’s Sound Meditation series begins on May 4.

The Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago party takes place on grounds on Thursday, April 25. It’s followed by two River North Fest Events: Pink Party on May 17 and Night at the Zoo on May 18.

4. Animals Are Active When Temperatures Are Mild

Animals that are less habituated to cold, like giraffes, may spend less time outdoors in the winter—but as spring arrives, they start to venture into their spaces outside more often. Also, some animals that tend to avoid hot weather or prefer to rest during the warmest parts of the day also prefer the more moderate temperatures of a nice spring day. At Lincoln Park Zoo, the animals have choice and control over where they want to spend their time—but in spring, they might be more likely to stay within viewing distance of guests, even in the rain.

5. It’s Less Crowded

At the height of summer, the zoo is packed with families and it’s hot out. In the spring, children are still in school on weekdays. Perhaps the weather isn’t always ideal, but there’s room to breathe, walk, and enjoy the open space—complete with trees, historic buildings to enter if there’s wind or rain, and food. Pro tip: Wear a hat in case the red-winged blackbirds are also taking advantage of the benefits of springtime at the zoo.

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