Old photo of Lincoln Park Zoo

Our History

Since 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo has grown side by side with the City of Chicago—from swans to science and from trading post to metropolis. Now, we touch so many lives in so many different ways: our visitors learn about diverse species from around the planet, our animals receive enrichment that inspires natural behaviors, and our scientists protect ecosystems from Chicago to the Republic of Congo. As the zoo evolved, we became one of the most popular cultural destinations in Illinois and the only privately managed, free zoo in the country. We’re proud of these accomplishments—and those yet to come—and we thank you for your support.