9 Zoos In Chicago To Discover the Incredible Wildlife!

Chicago Zoos

1. Lincoln Park Zoo
Brookfield Zoo
Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary
North Pond Nature Sanctuary
Regenstein Center for African Apes 
Helen Brach Primate House
John G. Shedd Aquarium
Cosley Zoo
Phillips Park Zoo

If you're searching for some incredible wildlife encounters in this beautiful Illinois city, Chicago zoos will allow you to see a wide range of animals from up close and have the most unique experience in the city. The Lincoln Zoo is popular for being one of the largest and oldest free zoos in the country. Brookfield is another popular zoo in the city for its family-friendly programs and state-of-the-art animal conservation and care. 

It also boasts stunning sanctuaries around the lakefront proving to be a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers, apart from the zoos in Chicago. The Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary is the place to see hundreds of beautiful local and migratory birds. The North Pond Nature Sanctuary is a 13-acre pond with prairie habitat. The Cosley Zoo and Phillips Park Zoo are located near Chicago and are excellent places to appreciate nature and wildlife. With so many amazing zoos and animal sanctuaries in Chicago, the city offers ample opportunities to see, meet, feed, and witness wildlife in action.

Here is the list of best zoos in Chicago:

Image description
Bigger Group? Get special offers upto 50% off!
We create unforgettable adventures, customised for your group.
Connect with a group tour expert
Full Name
Phone number
Travel Date
Traveller Count

Brookfield Zoo

  • Home to over 2,000 animals, this zoo on the grounds of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, is one of the most popular Chicago zoos for its diverse enjoyable experiences.
  • Also known as the Chicago Zoological Park, the zoo offers Dolphins in Action, a seasonal butterfly house, a Hamill Family Play Zoo, and Hamill Family Wild Encounters allowing visitors to interact with various animals.
  • Backstage Adventures, safaris, ZooBrew, Summer Nights Concerts, zoo camps, are other attractions that entice visitors to this zoo.


North Gate Main Entrance: 8400 31st Street (1st Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, IL 60513

South Gate Main Entrance: 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield, IL 60513

Monday to Sunday:10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Entry Fee
: USD 17.95 to USD 24.95

Lincoln Park Zoo

  • The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the most incredible Chicago zoos housing world-class wildlife exhibits and historic architecture.
  • The only free zoo in Chicago, it offers you the chance to see a variety of wildlife from up close and have experiences. 
  • You can enjoy a variety of activities such as the Sea Explorer 5-D, the Malott Family Penguin Encounter, the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel, and the Lionel Train Adventure.
  • The ZooLights held between November 19 and January 8 is another attraction of the zoo which welcomes visitors every year. 

2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm to 10:00 pm (for ZooLights)

John G. Shedd Aquarium

  • The Shedd Aquarium is one of the most popular and loved Chicago zoos among wildlife enthusiasts for being the first inland aquarium featuring permanent saltwater exhibits alongside freshwater exhibits.
  • Visit the Wild Reef's animal healthcare facility to see how the animals' meals are made, experience shark feeding, or get up close and personal with penguins or beluga whales.
  • Spend hours exploring the Amazon Rising exhibit and Oceanarium or work as a marine mammal trainer for an in-depth experience.

1200 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Entry Fee:
USD 19.95 to USD 39.95

Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary

  • This bird sanctuary situated in Chicago's Lincoln Park is committed to preserving, enhancing, and developing a natural area along the city's lakefront.
  • One of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries and one of the best Chicago zoos, it is thought to be home to several native plant and animal species.
  • You can also witness around 150 different species of migratory birds, such as herons, bitterns, wood ducks, etc. that visit the sanctuary every year. 
  • Featuring nature tracks, viewing walkways, and platforms, this sanctuary is one of the best zoos in Chicago for enjoying birds and nature.

2 West Belmont Harbor Drive, Chicago, IL 60657

Monday to Sunday: 6:00 am to 11:00 pm

North Pond Nature Sanctuary

  • One of the most serene zoos in Chicago, the North Pond Nature Sanctuary is a 13-acre pond with a spectacular shoreline and adjacent prairie habitat. 
  • Located in the heart of Lincoln Park, the sanctuary is a significant wildlife region and a home to various species of birds, fish, and small mammals.
  • This urban wildlife haven attracts both local and tourists alike who love birdwatching and nature and offers them the chance to see waterfowl, dragonflies, songbirds, butterflies, turtles, and many other beautiful creatures. 

2500 N. Stockton Ave., Chicago IL 60614

Monday to Sunday: 6:00 am to 11:00 pm

Regenstein Center for African Apes

  • The Regenstein Center for African Apes is one of the most innovative great ape exhibitions and Chicago zoos where endangered species of gorillas and chimpanzees dwell in both natural indoor and outdoor exhibits. 
  • Numerous trees, water elements, fallen logs, and 5,000 feet of synthetic vines for hanging and climbing make up their habitats.
  • The daily Ape Cognition and care session provide a thorough look into the unexpected approaches used here to learn about and care for the resident great apes.

Location: 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614, USA

: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm 
Ape Cognition and Care: Monday to Friday: 1:30 pm

Helen Brach Primate House

  • Helen Brach Primate House is amongst the best zoos in Chicago that features eight naturalistic habitats for the existence of ten different primate species, including black howler monkeys and crowned lemurs.
  • Covered with trees, vines, murals, and natural lighting, it recreates forest ecosystems, allowing multiple primate species to live as they would dwell in the woods. 
  • There is also a huge outdoor space where white-cheeked gibbons love to swing from vines and branches during warmer months. 

2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614, USA

Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Cosley Zoo

  • Cosley Zoo, one of the most popular zoos near Chicago, is home to a variety of native farm animals and wildlife belonging to Illinois.
  • It allows you to witness a variety of local species, including white-tailed deer, Blanding's turtles, red foxes, coyotes, bobcats, black-crowned night herons, and more.
  • The Junior Zookeepers program, summer camps, and scout programs are a few of the many initiatives this AZA-accredited zoo runs throughout the year to pique visitors' interests in animals, conservation, and the environment.

: 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton, Illinois 60187

January 2-March 31: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily
 April 1-October 31: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily
Timings vary for other days

Entry Fee:
USD 6 to USD 7

Phillips Park Zoo

  • Phillips Park Zoo is home to over 100 different animals representing 41 distinct domestic and exotic species.
  • One of the most visited zoos near Chicago, it offers an inclusive learning environment through education and recreation for everyone.
  • You can see a variety of creatures here, including birds like the Bald Eagle and Cooper's Hawk, reptiles like the Bull Snake, and mammals like the American Elk.
  • Additionally, it conducts an adoption program where you can contribute to the animal's professional care.

1000 Ray Moses Drive, Aurora, IL 60505

October 1st – May 31st: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily
June 1st – September 30th: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily

Distance From Chicago:
67 km

People Also Ask About Chicago

  1. How many zoos are there in Chicago?

    There are two zoos, two bird sanctuaries, and a large aquarium in Chicago that offer visitors the chance to see a wide variety of animals from close. These include Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary, North Pond Nature Sanctuary, and John G. Shedd Aquarium. However, there are many zoos located near Chicago, such as Cosley Zoo and Phillips Park Zoo.
  2. Which is the biggest Zoo in Chicago?

    The Lincoln Zoo spread across 49 acres within the scenic Lincoln Park is considered to be the largest zoo in the city. It is also one of the oldest, being founded in 1868 and housing over 1,100 animals from across the globe.
  3. What is the entry fee for Lincoln Park Zoo?

    It is one of the few zoos in the USA that offers free admission to all visitors all year round. A USD 5 admission price is applied to attendees to the ZooLights show on certain days, and donations as small as USD 5 are also accepted towards the improvement of the Zoo if you wish to.
  4. Which are the best zoos to visit in Chicago?

    1. Lincoln Park Zoo: Amongst the oldest Chicago zoos, it is the only zoo in the city offering free entry and a range of fun and educational programs. It is home to more than 1,100 animals from across the globe, including primates, mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and many more. Its award-winning Regenstein African Journey exhibit, Farm-in-the-Zoo, and Nature Boardwalk are some of the major attractions.

    Brookfield Zoo: It is one of the most popular zoos in Chicago offering the chance to see over 2,000 animals of diverse species. Located in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, it allows you to see creatures, like dolphins, tigers, kangaroos, zebras, snow leopards, bald eagles, penguins, and many more. Feeding the African giraffes, watching polar bears and dolphins in action, thousands of butterflies, and many other attractions will leave you captivated. 

    North Pond Nature Sanctuary: Believed to be around 130-years-old, the North Pond Nature Sanctuary is one of the most stunning Chicago zoos to visit and explore nature and wildlife. Located in Lincoln Park, here you can spot a variety of migratory and local birds, as well as amazing wild animals, making it a haven for bird watchers and nature seekers. 

    4. Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary:
    Known to be one of the most beautiful zoos in Chicago, this sanctuary is believed to be home to hundreds of species of local and migratory birds. It is complete with well-paved tracks and viewing platforms, allowing you to spot birds and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.
  5. Which is the better Lincoln Park Zoo or Brookfield Zoo?

    Both zoos are wonderful since they are distinct from one another and hold a wide variety of animal species. However, Lincoln Zoo is ideal for a perfect family day out, while Brookfield Zoo is the place to go if you want to see something special like a dolphin performance.
  6. How much is the ticket price of Brookfield Zoo?

    The ticket price of Brookfield Zoo is USD 24.95 for adults, USD 19.95 for seniors (65 and over), and USD 17.95 for children aged 3 to 11.
Newly Added Chicago Experience

Chicago Top Attractions

Places To Visit In Chicago

Popular Related Destinations

Places to Visit in India

Places to Visit in Delhi Places to Visit in Goa Places to Visit in Pune Places to Visit in Bangalore Places to Visit in Mumbai Places to Visit in Hyderabad Places to Visit in Jaipur Places to Visit in Chennai Places to Visit in Kolkata Places to Visit in Ladakh Places to Visit in Spiti Places to Visit in Andaman Places to Visit in Arunachal Pradesh Places to Visit in North East Places to Visit in Sikkim Places to Visit in Darjeeling Places to Visit in Meghalaya Places to Visit in Gangtok Places to Visit in Rajasthan Places to Visit in Uttarakhand Places to Visit in Kerala Places to Visit in Karnataka Places to Visit in Maharashtra Places To Visit In Himachal Pradesh Places to Visit in Madhya Pradesh Places to Visit in Kashmir Places to Visit in Manali Places to Visit in Dharamshala Places to Visit in Shimla Places to Visit in Mcleodganj Places to Visit in Nainital Places to Visit in Mussoorie Places to Visit in Dehradun Places to Visit in Rishikesh Places To Visit In Jammu Places to Visit in Srinagar Places to Visit in Chikmagalur Places to Visit in Munnar Places to Visit in Kodaikanal Places to Visit in Ooty Places to Visit in Pondicherry Places to Visit in Wayanad Places to Visit in Coorg Places to Visit in Mysore Places to Visit in Lonavala Places to Visit in Alibaug Places To Visit In Mahabaleshwar Places to Visit in Udaipur Places to Visit in Jodhpur Places to Visit in Jaisalmer Places to Visit in Mount Abu Places to Visit in Agra Places To Visit In South Goa Places To Visit In North Goa
Currency Picker
Commonly Used Currencies
Indian Rupee
USD - $
United States Dollar
SGD - $
Singapore Dollar
AUD - $
Australian Dollar
GBP - £
British Pound
AED - د.إ
United Arab Emirates Dirham
All Other Currencies
Albanian Lek
AMD - դր.
Armenian Dram
ARS - $
Argentine Peso
AWG - ƒ
Aruban Florin
BBD - $
Barbadian Dollar
Bangladeshi Taka
BMD - $
Bermudian Dollar
BND - $
Brunei Dollar
BOB - Bs.
Bolivian Boliviano
BSD - $
Bahamian Dollar
Botswana Pula
BZD - $
Belize Dollar
CAD - $
Canadian Dollar
Swiss Franc
CNY - ¥
Chinese Renminbi Yuan
COP - $
Colombian Peso
Costa Rican Colón
Czech Koruna
DKK - kr.
Danish Krone
DOP - $
Dominican Peso
DZD - د.ج
Algerian Dinar
EGP - ج.م
Egyptian Pound
ETB - Br
Ethiopian Birr
FJD - $
Fijian Dollar
Ghanaian Cedi
GIP - £
Gibraltar Pound
Gambian Dalasi
Guatemalan Quetzal
GYD - $
Guyanese Dollar
HKD - $
Hong Kong Dollar
Honduran Lempira
HRK - kn
Croatian Kuna
Haitian Gourde
HUF - Ft
Hungarian Forint
IDR - Rp
Indonesian Rupiah
Israeli New Sheqel
JMD - $
Jamaican Dollar
Kenyan Shilling
KGS - som
Kyrgyzstani Som
Cambodian Riel
KYD - $
Cayman Islands Dollar
Kazakhstani Tenge
Lao Kip
LBP - ل.ل
Lebanese Pound
Sri Lankan Rupee
LRD - $
Liberian Dollar
Lesotho Loti
MAD - د.م.
Moroccan Dirham
Moldovan Leu
MKD - ден
Macedonian Denar
Myanmar Kyat
Mongolian Tögrög
Macanese Pataca
Mauritian Rupee
Maldivian Rufiyaa
Malawian Kwacha
MXN - $
Mexican Peso
Malaysian Ringgit
NAD - $
Namibian Dollar
NIO - C$
Nicaraguan Córdoba
NOK - kr
Norwegian Krone
NPR - Rs.
Nepalese Rupee
NZD - $
New Zealand Dollar
PEN - S/
Peruvian Sol
Papua New Guinean Kina
Philippine Peso
Pakistani Rupee
QAR - ر.ق
Qatari Riyal
Russian Ruble
SAR - ر.س
Saudi Riyal
Seychellois Rupee
SEK - kr
Swedish Krona
SLL - Le
Sierra Leonean Leone
SOS - Sh
Somali Shilling
Salvadoran Colón
Swazi Lilangeni
THB - ฿
Thai Baht
TTD - $
Trinidad and Tobago Dollar
TZS - Sh
Tanzanian Shilling
UYU - $U
Uruguayan Peso
UZS - so'm
Uzbekistan Som
Yemeni Rial
South African Rand
JPY - ¥
Japanese Yen
Vietnamese dong