Opened in 1964 and renovated in 2002, Farm-in-the-Zoo incorporates domestic farm animals and play-based learning stations to create a welcome space for first encounters with and exploration within the natural world. This space features a Main Barn geared toward open-ended play for toddlers and young children, as well as a Livestock Barn and Dairy Barn with outdoor yards for cows, goats, pigs and ponies.

Promoting experiential learning, Farm-in-the-Zoo enables guests to see, hear, and smell real farm animals and immerse themselves in the day-to-day happenings on a farm. It also features two Edible Gardens, filled with organic plants that thrive in Illinois, where guests can help tend to the crops and soil.

Commitment to Care

Animals may not be visible at all times. To promote positive animal welfare, we provide animals with choices. They can choose to spend time in areas that are out of public view.

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A domestic goat in exhibit

Early Childhood Activities

Mr. Singer teaches a child to play the guitar

Sing Along with Mr. Singer 

Sing, dance, and clap your hands with Chicago’s beloved Mr. Singer as he performs original songs while the wee ones, ages 6 and younger, dance and sing along. This free, joyful jamboree features animal songs and dances, and every show features a “kids’ choice” and a “grown-ups’ choice” so you can request your favorite sing-along song.

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Zoo educator showing children how to play with nature

Play Days at the Farm

From sorting pinecones to digging in smooth seeds, children ages 1–5 will explore the sights, smells, and textures that nature has to offer during this free, open-ended experience. They will take in a tall tale at story time, get messy at the process art station, and sift and scoop at the sensory bin.

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Edible Gardens

All ages are invited to join zoo volunteers and staff from the Green City Market to plant, weed, compost, and harvest—establishing a deeper connection to the resources that sustain humanity. The free, seasonal green-thumb fun includes planting tomatoes, pulling weeds, thinning carrots, harvesting green beans, and digging purple potatoes.

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Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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