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These are only recommendations. It’s easy to see a lot in an hour or day at the zoo, whether you want to visit the polar bears or just experience one of Chicago’s best skyline views at Nature Boardwalk.Remember: to promote positive animal welfare, animals may choose to spend time in areas that are out of public view.
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Weird & Wonderful Tour

Choose the trail less traveled and explore the more fascinating characters at the zoo, including arachnids and reptiles.

Animals: Cinereous Vulture

Cinereous vultures can stand up to three feet tall and have a wingspan measuring up to 10 feet across. They have dark brown feathers with a dull blue head, neck, and bill. As scavengers, cinereous vultures feed on carrion, ranging from large mammals to fish and reptiles. They build their nests in trees and on cliffs high above the ground, using sticks and twigs as building materials.
Cinerous vulture in exhibit

Animals: Crowned Lemur

Crown lemurs were named for the crown-shaped patch of orange fur on their head. They are agile climbers and their slender limbs and a long tail, measuring up to 28 inches, helps with balance when moving through the treetops. These diurnal primates forage during the day for fruits, leaves, and insects.
Crowned lemur in exhibit

Animals: Egyptian Fruit Bat

Egyptian fruit bats have light-brown bodies, dark brown wings, a long muzzle, and a two-foot wingspan. True to their name, these nocturnal mammals feed almost exclusively on soft fruits, such as dates, apples, and apricots. Female give birth to only one offspring, on average, after a gestation period of 105–120 days. Young bats cling to the female for around three weeks, until they can hang from branches on their own, and begin flying after three months.
Egyptian fruit bat in exhibit

Animals: Golden Silk Spider

Golden silk spiders are mostly yellow with an elongated abdomen and long, hairy legs that detect web vibrations. Females can grow six times larger than males. These weaver spiders rely on their webs to collect food and water, as well as breed. Females build and relocate their web repeatedly over their lifetime while males travel from web to web in search of a mate. After breeding, females lay silk-wrapped egg cases filled with hundreds of eggs. Spiderlings will feed immediately after hatching by first eating their own egg yolk, and then each other and small insects. Only a handful of spiderlings from each egg case live to maturity.
Golden silk spider in exhibit

Animals: Meerkat

Meerkats, small members of the mongoose family, have long and slender profiles that allow them to easily dig and move through intricate underground tunnel networks They have a tan coat and gray face, plus dark ears and eye patches. These carnivorous mammals hunt insects, eggs, and very small animals. Nonbreeding members of each group often help rear young, monitoring dependent offspring as the breeding female forages for food.
Meerkat in exhibit

Animals: Naked Mole Rat

Shaped like tubular mice with a gnarly set of choppers, naked mole rats actually have some fur. Whiskers on their face and tail help them navigate their dark, underground tunnels, while hairs between their toes help them sweep soil. Their pink skin is nearly translucent. Almost completely blind, they rely on hearing, smell, and touch to detect vibrations and air currents. One female leads each colony and produces all the offspring. Queens produce five litters each year, with as many as two dozen pups per litter.
Naked mole rat in exhibit

Animals: West African Gaboon Viper

West African gaboon vipers have a triangular head and distrinct horn-like scales above their nostrils. The color of their ridged scales vary from brown to purple, and they have an intricate symmetrical design pattern along their body that resembles a line of yellow hourglasses. They primarily eat small mammals, rodents, ground-dwelling birds, frogs, and toads.
West African gaboon viper in exhibit