Chicago Area Zoos & Animal Attractions

Two of the finest zoos in the country are located in the Chicago area and both are highly recommended. First, on the city’s north side is Lincoln Park Zoo. This free zoo is open every day of the year. While it is one of the oldest zoos in the country, it is also one of the most modern. Brookfield Zoo, located in Brookfield, Illinois, just west of Chicago, is situated on 216 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, featuring over 2,000 animals.

Brookfield Zoo

3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, IL 60513

picture of brookfield zooBrookfield Zoo, located in Brookfield, Illinois, just west of Chicago, is open every day of the year. The Zoo is located on 216 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, featuring over 2,000 animals. The Zoo first opened in 1934 and became world-renowned for its use of natural barriers, such as moats, rather than cages. Brookfield Zoo featured the first Giant Panda exhibit in the United States.

The exhibits, such as the Australia House, Baboon Island, Wolf Woods, Reptile House, Pachyderm House, and more, are sure to please. There is also a children’s petting zoo and the Play Zoo, where families can interact more closely with the animals. Sure to be a favorite is the Tropic World exhibit, which simulates a tropical rain forest with monkeys, birds, and more, even a simulated thunderstorm. Also, be sure to check the schedule so you don’t miss the Dolphin Presentation. From Spring through Fall, you can hop on the Motor Safari tram for a guided tour. Brookfield Zoo also features all sorts of dining options and gift shops.

Cosley Zoo

1356 Gary Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187

(630) 665-5534

Cosley Zoo is situated on five acres and exhibits domestic farm animals and native Illinois wildlife. In addition to the animals, visitors will find a gift shop, shaded picnic area, washrooms, and seasonal concessions. All paths are paved with bricks and suitable for strollers and for persons with disabilities.

Situated on five acres, dotted with ponds, this nationally recognized zoo offers an intimate experience with a large variety of domestic farm animals and native Illinois wildlife. Paved pathways welcome you, creating accessibility throughout the zoo. A stroll through the barn gives visitors an opportunity to encounter a rare American Cream Draft Horse, wooly llamas, playful goats, and a host of other animals. Wind along the paths to discover the wildlife exhibits, with their shady expanses, that immerse you in natural habitats for White-tailed Deer, Red Fox, Three-toed Box Turtle, Black-crowned Night Heron, and a collection of other animals.

While the animals are the main attraction, the zoo also features a historical train station, a railroad caboose, a tree-lined picnic area, a unique gift shop and a seasonal concession stand. Throughout the year, Cosley Zoo offers a wide variety of educational programs,special events and opportunities to become involved with the zoo and its animals.

Wildlife Prairie State Park

3826 N. Taylor Road
Hanna City, IL 61536

Wildlife Prairie State Park is located 10 miles west of downtown Peoria, IL on I-74. Discover the animals that called Illinois home during the pioneer days. This unique 2,000-acre zoological park is home to wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bear, elk, cougar, otter, and much more.

Wildlife Prairie State Park has often been referred to as a jewel in the Midwest. Located just outside of Peoria, IL, this 2,000-acre zoological park is home to over 150 animals/50 different species that are native to Illinois. Our guests come to learn about wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bear, elk, cougar, otter and much more.

You will enjoy the park’s spectacular natural landscape, learn about conservation and be surprised at everything Wildlife Prairie State Park has to offer. An adventure awaits…

Glenn Oak Zoo

2218 N. Prospect Rd
Peoria, Il 61603


The Zoo is home to nearly 100 species of animals from around the globe. Come see the newest members of the Zoo family, listen to the songs of the crowned cranes or lemurs and watch the lions play in the grass. Glen Oak Zoo also offers daily sea lion programs and critter chats, free parking and a gift shop stocked with unusual and exciting merchandise.

Lambs Farm

14245 W. Rockland Road
Libertyville, IL 60048

picture of lambs farmLambs Farm is located in Libertyville, Illinois, which is north of Chicago. Founded in 1961, Lambs Farm is a premier non-profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities. Lambs Farm has grown from a small pet shop in Chicago to a 72-acre campus where opportunity flourishes for the more than 250 men and women served. Those with developmental disabilities served by Lambs Farm are provided the opportunity to advance in all areas of life through ever-increasing residential, vocational, and recreational choices. Community partnerships allow them to experience a broader variety of activities. Activities focus on the enrichment of the people of Lambs Farm — building their determination to lead full, satisfying lives. They gain independence by having the freedom to be as self-governing as possible and they accomplish all this with dignity, taking pride in all that they do.

Fun for the whole family, the Farmyard features a petting area with sheep and goats. Enjoy a variety of attractions like mini-golf, a mini-train ride, a cow bounce house, and an Old World carousel. Note that these attractions are closed in winter. Housed in a turn-of-the-century barn, the Pet Shop features a wide selection of pets, supplies, and gifts. At the Country Inn Restaurant, you can relax and enjoy a hearty, country-style meal, served by an attentive staff, in a charming setting.

Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614

picture of lincoln park zooLincoln Park Zoo, located in Chicago, is among the oldest zoological gardens in the country (established in 1868) and is also among the most modern. A premier Chicago attraction, Lincoln Park Zoo each year welcomes more than three million visitors, providing them with remarkable educational experiences as well as fun and enjoyment. Its intimate setting enables guests, young and old alike, to experience the thrill of gazing directly into the eyes of a lowland gorilla and standing toe to toe with grazing giraffes. Famous also for its historical structures, the zoo has succeeded at combining state-of-the-art animal and visitor facilities with beautiful architectural reflections of past times and sensibilities.

Phillips Park Zoo

1000 Ray Moses Drive
Aurora, Illinois 60505

Zoo exhibits include Bald Eagles, Gray Wolves, Cougars, a Fox, an Arctic Fox, a Platinum Red Fox, North American River Otters, Llamas, Elk Bull and herd, Goats, a Pot-bellied Pig, Reptiles, Swans, Ducks, Turkeys, Peacocks and more. Open year-round 9 am to 5 pm daily, but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Serpent Safari

6170 W. Grand Avenue
Gurnee IL 60031


Indoor reptile zoo featuring rare and giant reptiles including “Baby” the largest snake in the world – 403 lbs! Meet a Nile crocodile, rare albino alligator, rare albino iguanas, 250-lb. Anaconda, cobras & much more! Photos with pythons and boas. Gift store with nature and reptile products. Pet store to take home a favorite new pet.

Shedd Aquarium

1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

picture of shedd aquariumThe Shedd Aquarium, located on Chicago’s Museum Campus, is the world’s largest indoor aquarium with more than 8,000 aquatic animals representing more than 700 species from all parts of the world. The Caribbean Reef, teeming with bright, colorful new corals and more than 60 species of animal, includes bonnethead sharks, southern stingrays, angelfish, and a hawksbill sea turtle. Divers hand-feed sharks, sea turtles, and eels at scheduled times during the day. The Marine Mammal Presentation, presented several times each day, features animal-care staff interacting with the dolphins and whales as they dive, spyhop, and walk on their tails.

Shedd also offers Habitat Chats for visitors to learn about the aquatic world and its inhabitants in an informal setting. Learn about what they eat, how Shedd Aquarium cares for them, and more about their natural habitats. Aquarium and Oceanarium chats are scheduled in a variety of habitats, locations are posted daily throughout the Aquarium. Another feature, Animal Encounters, gives you a chance to look at, learn about and touch such critters as a Chilean rose tarantula, leopard gecko, African bullfrog, red-tailed boa, or king snake.

Shedd Aquarium offers a special event for 3-5-year-old preschoolers – “Tots on Tuesdays”. This event features a full day of activities, including storytimes, crafts, animal touch programs, videos, costumed characters, dancing and singing.

Dining options at Shedd Aquarium include the Bubble Net Food Court offering pizza, sandwiches, burgers and more, Sounding Restaurant with full table service, wine and cocktails in a casual setting, and Mrs. Field’s Cookie House featuring cookies, brownies, cold beverages, and coffee. You can also visit the gift shop for souvenirs, jewelry, home decor, and more.

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