If it weren’t for the Chicago skyline reflected in the pond, it would be easy to forget that you’re in a major city when exploring Nature Boardwalk. A lush Midwestern prairie ecosystem, this natural oasis provides unique opportunities for visitors to engage and connect with the natural world. Opened June 24, 2010, the former manmade pond is now revitalized as a haven of native trees, plants and animals. Renovations included more than 100 newly planted trees and more than a half-mile of boardwalk around the pond.
Nature Boardwalk teaches guests about the wildlife all around them. The restored habitat is attracting more spectacular wildlife sightings than ever before. Rare migratory birds, such as the black-crowned night heron, can be spotted nesting in trees seasonally. Turtles sun themselves on logs. Iridescent dragonflies skim the water. It’s a natural classroom, a living laboratory, Chicago’s backyard.
The iconic Peoples Gas Education Pavilion created by award-winning architectural design firm, Studio Gang, frames the Chicago skyline and hosts yoga and other educational programming, seasonally.
OPENED: June 24, 2010
COST: $12 million
SIZE: 609,840 square feet of open, natural space
LOCATION: Southernmost end of the zoo, east of Café Brauer and Farm-in-the-Zoo
HOURS: Nature Boardwalk is free and open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Educational programming takes place seasonally.
- Midwestern prairie ecosystem with expansive pond where visitors can catch glimpses of native Illinois wildlife.
- Half a mile of boardwalk trail.
- The Lester E. Fisher Bridge provides a breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline.
- Peoples Gas Education Pavilion frames the skyline and hosts educational programs and yoga, seasonally.
- Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and the Office of the Governor, Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award – 2011
- American Institute of Architects – Chicago Chapter, Distinguished Building Award – 2011
- Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, Community Contributor of the Year – 2011
- Publicity Club of Chicago, Golden Trumpet for Community Relations – 2011
- Chicago Architectural Foundation, Patron of the Year – 2010
- Mayor Daley, City of Chicago, GreenWorks Award for Sustainable Innovation in a Built Environment – 2010