Nature Boardwalk with skyline view of Chicago skyscrapers

Nature Boardwalk

Nature Boardwalk, once a simple manmade pond, is now a lush, natural, prairie-style garden filled with native plants and brimming with birds, frogs, fish, turtles, insects, and other wildlife. Lincoln Park Zoo manages this fully functioning ecosystem, completed in the summer of 2010, by removing invasive species and conducting an annual floristic survey, which allows Horticulture staff to optimize plant diversity.

A Place for Science

Nature Boardwalk acts as a living laboratory for the Urban Wildlife Institute. Here, scientists test field research methods and trial techniques for resolving human-wildlife conflict before deploying them more broadly. Since the completion of Nature Boardwalk, scientists have monitored wildlife, ranging from dragonflies to coyotes, in an effort to understand how animals are benefiting from this urban oasis. Through observation and interpretive signage, guests can learn first-hand about UWI’s research efforts and about the diverse urban ecosystem present in the heart of Chicago.

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Zoo educator leading guests through Nature Boardwalk
Yellow flowers

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.