8 Zoo Events You Won’t Want to Miss This Fall

September 12, 2023

Summer may be mostly over, but fall is special at Lincoln Park Zoo. As cooler weather sets in and we drink our pumpkin spice lattes, the zoo is hosting some great events that will get you out and about before winter has us all holed up like furry woodland animals in their winter homes. There’s something for everyone, so come out and enjoy nature before the trees become bare.

1. Sound Meditation With Jay Taylor

September 12, 6:30 p.m.

Ages 16 and up can enjoy this relaxing and immersive meditation experience—the final one of a series at the People’s Gas Education Pavilion on Nature Boardwalk. If your year has been stressful so far, you’ll want to join this 90-minute guided session featuring the tintinnabulation of singing bowls and the peacefulness of nature all around you. Tickets cost $40.

2. Oktoberfest at the Zoo

September 16, 6:30 p.m.

This inaugural, international-level celebration features live polka music, a DJ, and fun themed foods — like beer, brats, and pretzels — for purchase. Kick off the season the right way at an adults-only event that lets you enjoy the zoo after dark. Tickets are $25 if you purchase today.

3. Oksoberfest

September 17, 6 p.m.

We love Oktoberfest so much we’re going to do it again—only this time, it’s alcohol-free. Try samples of non-alcoholic beers and craft cocktails while enjoying the Oktoberfest vibe, complete with live polka. This adults-only event, brought to you by the zoo and Chicago AF, is unique, and you’re going to want to get in on the very first one. Early Bird tickets are already sold out, so you can get in for $25 right now.

4. Fall Fest

September 29–October 29

This year’s traditional Fall Fest will feature plenty of fall color, since experts say fall foliage in this area will be at its peak during early to mid-October—and the zoo is just the place to experience it! Along with views of the leaves turning, you’ll experience storytimes, live pumpkin carving, live chalk art, a stilt walker, the Harvest Maze, and animal chats. You may even get to see some animals receiving some very special seasonal enrichment or experience a chat about sustainable gardening.

“Fall Fest is your chance to feel like you’re in a small town celebrating harvest time and getting ready for Halloween—all while you’re in the city,” says Event Manager Meg Hein.

Best of all, Fall Fest is free and requires no registration. Bring the family and enjoy the crisp air of autumn!

5. Haunted History Tours

Tuesdays and Wednesdays in October

If you’ve ever wanted to know about Lincoln Park Zoo’s eerie past, here’s your chance. Author and tour guide Adam Selzer leads these thrilling walkabouts through the zoo that delve into the zoo’s origin as a graveyard and explore some on-site ghost-stories. Find out where you’re most likely to encounter supernatural beings while learning fascinating facts about Lincoln Park history! Get your ticket for $35.

6. Spooky Zoo Presented by Peoples Gas

October 21, 10 a.m.

The Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo hosts a free, neighborhood-style trick-or-treating event for all ages. You can enjoy plenty of “fang”-tastic fun during a day out at the zoo that includes candy, great animal viewing, and family-friendly entertainment.

7. Adults Night Out: Howl-o-ween

October 26, 6:30 p.m.

At this adults-only event, you can choose your own adventure: test your bravery with our jump scare-style haunted trail, enjoy dueling pianos, dance all night to music spun by a DJ, play lawn games, or maybe go enjoy some animal chats from our Guest Engagement team. Tickets go on sale September 12 and will cost $20 if you buy early.

8. Tacos & Tequila Fest

October 13, 6:30 p.m.

Consider this the follow-up to the Margarita & Sangria Fest we hosted with River North Fests back in the spring — only somewhat spookier, since it takes place on Friday the 13th. Plenty of festive eats and spirits will be available for a howling good time! Tickets are $20.

Remember, prices for paid events may go up closer to the date, so for the best deals, you’ll want to buy early. Of course, it’s all good because proceeds from all Lincoln Park Zoo events go to caring for the animals here. Sales also fund our conservation work and learning initiatives.

And since you’ve read all the way to the end, here’s a hot tip for you: ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ tickets go on sale to the general public on October 19 (a week earlier for members). Get ready for more seasonal fun!

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