For city dwellers exploring their relationship to animals and nature, Farm-in-the-Zoo is a bucolic experience within urban limits. 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.
Farm-in-the-Zoo 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. Within Farm-in-the-Zoo are two Edible Gardens with organic plants that thrive in Illinois. Here guests can help tend to the crops and soil.
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. Visitors learn by doing: they can feed the chickens, groom the goats, and see rabbits, ponies, cows, and pigs up close.
OPENED: 1964, renovated and updated in 2002
COST: $6 million
LOCATION: South end of Lincoln Park Zoo, west of Nature Boardwalk
- Two Edible Gardens, maintained by Lincoln Park Zoo volunteers and The Organic Gardener. Here guests can view typical Illinois crops as well as fruits and vegetables that they can grow in their backyards.
- A chicken coop and yard with hens.
- A chicken egg incubator and hatchery where guests can see egg development along all stages—from incubation to hatching.
- A barn and paddock for Shetland and pinto ponies.
- A pig pen and barn where guests can view domestic pigs and piglets, seasonally.
- A paddock and indoor barn area housing dairy cows.
- An outdoor paddock and indoor barn area for domestic goats where visitors can interact with these playful farm animals, seasonally.
- A main barn contains interactive stations for guests of all ages to encourage nature play and learning including:
- Eggsplore the Nest, which invites guests to experience “hatching out” of an oversized climbing egg, accompanied by a child-size chicken coop.
- A tractor for climbing and hands-on play.
- A puppet theater to ignite the imagination.
- Plant a Garden, where guests can cover and uncover vegetables in a make-believe garden.
- Animal demonstration areas provide visitors the opportunity to get up close with the animals that live on the Farm. Visitors can feed the chickens and groom the goats. This programming is seasonal.
AIA Chicago, Distinguished Building Award, Citation of Merit – 2003