Lion statue near the zoo's East Gate

Visitor FAQs


How much does it cost to visit Lincoln Park Zoo?

Nothing! The zoo is free and has been since our gates first opened in 1868, making it one of the most established zoos in the United States.

How does the zoo stay free?

80% of the zoo’s operating costs are supported by zoo members, donors, and visitors. A subsidy from the Chicago Park District covers the remainder.

What are the benefits of zoo membership?

Lincoln Park Zoo members enjoy free and discounted parking, invitations to exclusive events, discounts at zoo shops and restaurants, and other special benefits. Learn more about membership.

About the Animals

What animals can I see?

Hundreds of animals from around the world reside at Lincoln Park Zoo, including critically endangered species and species that are extinct in the wild. Plan your agenda by navigating our interactive map, exploring our animal pages, or selecting a self-guided tour.

Can I meet the animals?

Our world-class habitats enable guests to get up close to species while still creating an environment that puts the animals first. Interactive programs at the zoo include Groom the Goats, Feed the Cows, Feed the Chickens, and Malott Family Penguin Encounter. All of these options embody our animal-first philosophy—individual animals choose whether or not to participate each day.

How does the zoo help animals?

At the zoo, our Animal Care staff provides world-class care to each animal. Around the world, zoo scientists and educators lead wildlife conservation projects and educational initiatives that benefit wild populations. And closer to home, the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute and Nature Boardwalk support native biodiversity in the Chicago area.

Rules & Regulations

Does the zoo have Guest Guidelines or a Code of Conduct?


What can’t I bring to the zoo?

Alcohol purchased outside the zoo is prohibited, and we ask that you refrain from smoking tobacco and cannabis inside the gates for the health and safety of our animals and visitors. Pets are not allowed at the zoo, but service animals are welcome.

Can I take photos at the zoo?

While we encourage guests to take photos for personal use, commercial photography and filming is prohibited without a permit. Learn more about commercial photography and permits.

Can I fish at the zoo?

No. Fishing is not permitted anywhere at the zoo, including at Nature Boardwalk. By respecting this rule, guests help protect turtles and other wildlife in the area.

Who to Contact

How can I get more information about the zoo?

If you have a question, concern, or need while visiting the zoo, you can get assistance by visiting Searle Visitor Center or finding a nearby staff member or volunteer wearing a green polo marked with our logo. For general information, whether you’re at the zoo or not, visit our About the Zoo page or call 312-742-2000.

How can I provide feedback on my visit or an event?

To comment on your experience at Lincoln Park Zoo during a normal visit, email or call 312-742-2355. To comment on a free or ticketed event, email

Who do I contact for media inquiries?

For all media inquiries, visit the zoo’s Pressroom page for contact information and media assets.

Teacher Resources

Can my classroom visit the zoo?

Of course! Feel free to visit the zoo and explore on your own. For a more educational experience, check out our facilitated field trip program, Zoo Explorers, which focuses on inquiry-based animal investigations aligned with the work of zoo scientists; our Plan a Field Trip page for tips and tricks; or our self-guided tours.

What resources are available to enhance my classroom’s experience?

Our educator resources include curriculum guides, digital tools, and other assets that can help enhance your lessons or field trips. We sometimes offer teacher workshops, as well.

Can my student organize a fundraiser or service project for the zoo?

Yes please! Thank you for thinking of us! For more information, email the zoo’s Development department at

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