Nature Boardwalk

Nature Boardwalk

Nature Boardwalk, once a traditional, hard-edged pond, is now a lush garden modeled after prairie, wetland, and savanna ecosystems—brimming with native plants, birds, frogs, fish, turtles, insects, and other wildlife. Since its re-naturalization in the summer of 2010, Lincoln Park Zoo manages this fully-functioning ecosystem by actively planting native flora, removing invasive species, and conducting floristic and animal surveys. All of this allows zoo staff to optimize wildlife diversity and ecosystem functionality.

A Place for Research

Nature Boardwalk acts as a living laboratory for the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute (UWI). Since the completion of Nature Boardwalk, scientists have studied the wildlife in this area, ranging from dragonflies to coyotes, in an effort to understand how animals utilize urban habitats and how to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.

Additionally, our researchers use Nature Boardwalk to help educate learners of all ages. Tour groups learn about prairie ecosystems through interpretive walks and zoo interns conduct independent research projects under UWI guidance. Through observation and interpretive signage, guests can learn firsthand about UWI’s research efforts and about the diverse urban ecosystem present in the heart of Chicago.

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Animals

Second Saturday Garden Tours

Join fellow nature lovers for a free, guided tour of Lincoln Park Zoo’s diverse plant life and ecosystems. During each tour, a zoo horticulturist will point out interesting species in bloom, answer questions from guests, and discuss the horticulture program’s past, present, and future.

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An Accredited Arboretum

In 2019, Lincoln Park Zoo earned Level II arboretum accreditation in recognition of the Horticulture staff’s ongoing effort to identify, label, and monitor the more than 330 species of trees, shrubs, and woody plants represented across the 49-acre park.

Nature Boardwalk

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