Why You Should Visit a Zoo Near You

Why You Should Visit a Zoo Near You

A zoo is a place where animals live in captivity and are put on display for people to view. The word “zoo” is short for “zoological park.” Zoos contain wide varieties of animals that are native to all parts of the Earth.

Zoos are not only places of entertainment and education, but also places of conservation and research. Zoos help protect endangered species by breeding them in captivity and reintroducing them to the wild. Zoos also study animal behavior and anatomy, and share their findings with the scientific community and the public.

If you live in Chicago, Illinois, you have two great options for visiting a zoo: Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo. Both zoos are open year-round and offer a range of activities and experiences for visitors of all ages.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country, founded in 1868. It is also one of the few free zoos in the world, thanks to private donations and grants. Lincoln Park Zoo is located off DuSable Lake Shore Drive, just minutes north of downtown Chicago.

Lincoln Park Zoo is home to more than 200 species of animals, from gorillas and polar bears to penguins and flamingos. You can also explore the zoo’s gardens, which feature native plants and flowers. Lincoln Park Zoo offers daily activities and experiences, such as animal feedings, keeper talks, and guided tours. You can also enjoy special events throughout the year, such as ZooLights, BrewLights, and Fall Fest.

Brookfield Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

Brookfield Zoo is another popular destination for animal lovers in Chicago. It opened in 1934 and was the first zoo in the world to exhibit giant pandas. Brookfield Zoo is located in Brookfield, Illinois, about 14 miles west of downtown Chicago.

Brookfield Zoo has more than 450 species of animals, from lions and tigers to dolphins and sharks. You can also visit the zoo’s exhibits, which recreate natural habitats from around the world. Brookfield Zoo offers daily activities and experiences, such as dolphin shows, animal encounters, and carousel rides. You can also enjoy special events throughout the year, such as Boo! at the Zoo, Holiday Magic, and Summer Nights.


Zoos are wonderful places to learn about animals and nature. They also play an important role in conserving wildlife and supporting scientific research. Whether you choose Lincoln Park Zoo or Brookfield Zoo, you are sure to have a fun and memorable visit.

How to Plan Your Zoo Visit

Before you head to the zoo, there are some things you should do to make the most of your experience. Here are some tips to help you plan your zoo visit.

  • Check the zoo’s website for hours, directions, parking, and admission fees. You can also find information about the zoo’s animals, exhibits, and events.
  • Choose a day and time that suits your schedule and preferences. Weekdays and mornings are usually less crowded than weekends and afternoons. You can also avoid peak seasons, such as holidays and school breaks.
  • Pack some essentials, such as water, snacks, sunscreen, hats, and comfortable shoes. You may also want to bring a camera, binoculars, and a map of the zoo.
  • Plan your itinerary based on your interests and priorities. You can decide which animals and exhibits you want to see first, and which ones you can skip or save for later. You can also check the zoo’s schedule for daily activities and experiences that you don’t want to miss.

How to Enjoy Your Zoo Visit

Once you arrive at the zoo, there are some things you should do to enjoy your zoo visit. Here are some tips to help you have a great time at the zoo.

  • Follow the zoo’s rules and guidelines for your safety and the welfare of the animals. Do not feed, touch, or harass the animals. Do not litter or damage the zoo’s property. Do not smoke or bring alcohol or drugs.
  • Respect the zoo’s staff and other visitors. Listen to the zookeepers and guides when they share information or instructions. Be courteous and patient when waiting in line or viewing the animals. Keep your voice down and avoid making loud noises that may disturb the animals or other people.
  • Learn as much as you can about the animals and their habitats. Read the signs and labels that provide facts and stories about the animals. Ask questions or join conversations with the zoo staff or volunteers. Participate in interactive activities or programs that enhance your understanding and appreciation of the animals.
  • Have fun and make memories. Take pictures and videos of your favorite animals and moments. Share your thoughts and feelings with your family or friends. Express your gratitude and support for the zoo’s mission and efforts.

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