Founded in 1868, the zoo is a fun, free, destination in Lincoln Park, a grassy stretch of ponds, boats and conservatories along Lake Shore Drive just north of the city’s famed Magnificent Mile.
Go to Plan Your Visit to figure out all you want to do. Open 365 days a year, you can fit zoo attractions into half a day in this 35-acre zoo. But definitely visit the Regenstein Center for African Apes because a baby was born to Rollie, a western lowland gorilla on Mother’s Day.
The baby has joined the zoo’s group that also encompasses females Bana and Bahati and juveniles Bella, Nayembi and Patty. The newborn joins a troop of seven individuals, including adult females Bana and Bahati, and three juvenile females Bella, Nayembi, and Patty.
“It’s really amazing to see this family group grow and adapt,” said Curator of Primates Jill Moyse. “Lincoln Park Zoo’s last gorilla birth was in 2015 when the troop welcomed newborn Bella. It’s an exciting time to visit Regenstein Center for African Apes where you can see different life stages of the gorillas from newborn infant to full-grown silverback.”
Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2001 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614. For parking, hours, bus transportation and more information call (312) 742-2000 and visit LPZoo.
Brookfield Zoo is in the southern suburb of Brookfield. Opened in 1934 it is operated by the Chicago Zoological Society. A year-round destination it is open every day.
The zoo is so large you will need a whole day to see everything but if coming the summer of 2019, do stop to see Snowflake, a 16-year-old albino American alligator in The Swamp habitat that is visiting from Florida’s St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park where it returns in September.
According to Brookfield officials, albino alligators are extremely rare with only about 100 existing in the world. Easily subject to predators, they have ivory-white skin and pinkish eyes.
Brookfield is worth visiting even though it charges admission. General admission is adults: $21.95, seniors 65 and older $15.95 and children age 3 to 11 15.95. Deduct 1 $ in each category ordered online. For ticket information that covers special exhibits and online ordering visit CZS/tickets.
Parking for Brookfield Zoo, a 216-acre destination that includes several winding paths, fountains, eateries and gift shops, is at two gates: North Gate Main Entrance 8400 31st Street (1st Avenue and 31st Street), and South Gate Main Entrance 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield, IL 60513 Visit Directions and CZS and Brookfield Zoo/Home for more information.
You might expect a place that has exotic species to have interesting creatures you want to see, but dragons and dinosaurs?
Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Zoological Society’s extraordinary suburban compound of more than 3,000 animals west of Chicago, opened “Dinos & Dragons” May 6 and will continue the exhibit through Sept. 17, 2017.
You start what turns out to be an excursion into dragon mythology, literature and reality in a tent where a live Komodo Dragon peers curiously back at you and a dragon (make that lizard) caretaker walks around holding maybe a Frilled Dragon from Australia or another lizard that doesn’t mind being touched.
The tented area is divided into themes – Medieval, Asian and Paleontology (study of prehistoric times using fossils).
“We’re connecting science and myth,” said André Copeland, Chicago Zoological Society’s Interpretive Programs Manager.
Visitors are first greeted by a fierce-looking dragon on top of a medieval, castle that holds a glassed space for one of the live dragon-named creature.
There are several more live specimens but near the tent exit is a large, Chinese structure with another live “dragon”.
“In European myths, knights slay dragons. In Asia, the dragon is a symbol of virtue,” said Copeland.
He suggested visitors note differences in the mythical creatures often lumped together as dragons by counting their limbs.
“A wyvern is a biped and is popular in Europe. A dragon has four limbs,” he said.
Youngsters will want to stop at the paleontology area to brush aside material covering fossils and a peek cutout for a photo.
The wonderful props, lizards and learning stations are a traveling exhibit provided by Louisville, KY based Build 4 Impact.
“People can see the real live dragons of today,” said Copeland.
Next, as you leave from a back exit you might hear a roar. But you’re not afraid of dinosaurs and dragons that lived eons ago, right?
Instead of playing a game of Thrones, the signs suggest a game of Bones. One station asks “Are You Smarter than A Paleontologist?
Now, be ready for photos or a selfie in front of an Ankylosaur Gryphon, the Late Jurassic period’s Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus or the Late Cretaceous period’s T- Rex.
Stop at the Dinosaur Dissection Lab near the exhibitand then go over to the outdoor Stage-osaurus Theater west of Tropic World (weather permitting).
It’s a fun, informative exhibit, and yes, there are Harry Potter book references.
Details: Brookfield Zoo is at 8400 31st Street, Brookfield, Illinois. For information call (708) 688-8000 and visit CZS
Most schools will be closed Jan. 16. Government offices and banks will also be closed because the third Monday in January is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring the great civil rights leader born Jan. 15, 1929 and assassinated April 4, 1968.
A Baptist minister, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington where he gave his famed “I Have a Dream” speech and the 1964 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, King also worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to change segregated housing in Chicago in 1966.
Chicagoans may wonder what he would say now, half a century later, if he saw the violence that plagues some of the city’s neighborhoods.
The question might be discussed at some of the events this weekend, or Monday and during the week when several organizations celebrate his birth.
Here are some of the places to go for those celebrations.
Chicago History Museum
Lyric Unlimited, an outreach arm of the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Chicago History Museum, is doing Chicago Voices TALK beginning at 5 p.m. Jan. 15 at the History Museum. The program includes panel discussions and gospel music.
The History Museum is at 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago. Public admission $10, CHM members $5.
Zoo general admission is free Jan. 16. But also go to the Discovery Center for a noon musical celebration by the Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project and the Shift’s Englewood Youth Orchestra. For information visit Brookfield Zoo.
The North Gate entrance is at 1st Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield. The South Gate is at 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield.
Lincoln Park Zoo
The zoo holds day camps during school holidays. For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, preK through fourth grade camps are Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The theme is “All About Birds,” but camp groups will explore the zoo and have activities regarding animal diversity, conservation and how the zoo cares for animals. The youngsters will also learn interesting animal tidbits such as why hummingbirds build nests using spider webs.
Camp headquarters is the Judy Keller Education Center. Cost is $68 a camper ($58 zoo members). Visit zoo camp for more information.
Black Ensemble Theater
The theater hosts programs by the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, 7 p.m., Jan. 19. There is also a pre-show reception 6 p.m. in the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural center
Go to see Sketch N’ Tyme, The Robbert Reddrick Trio, Alexis Rogers, Yahdina Udeen, Dawn Bless, Red Clay Dance and RIZE Youth Dance Company. The program is sponsored in part by the Driehaus Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council. Tickets are $12.
The Black Ensemble Theater is at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. Visit AAAAChicago for more information.
If still looking for something to do in the Chicago area this weekend here are some suggestions, beginning Friday.
Walk among more than a million twinkling lights, listen to a tall talking tree, watch ice carvers, ooh doing the Polar Light Show and ah during the magic show and sing to reindeer in Wild Encounters or bears in the Great Bear Wilderness at what is formally called the Chicago Zoological Society or what most Chicago folks call Brookfield Zoo.
The zoo is celebrating Holiday Magic this weekend, Dec. 17-18 from 10 a.m. through 9 p.m. but the lights, shows and other fun stuff don’t really begin until 4 p.m. The zoo is at 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL 60513. For ticket and other information visit BZoo.
CTA Holiday and Elves Workshop Trains and the Holiday Bus
You can tell when the holiday trains are pulling into an L station because of all their colored lights. Oh, yes, you’ll also see Santa in his sleigh on a flatcar with his reindeer and holiday trees. The Elves Workshop train should be following shortly for those who didn’t make the Holiday Train. Inside, the trains are decorated for the holidays and equipped with candy canes to hand out.
On Dec. 17 The CTA Holiday Train will operate on the Red Line between 12:15 and 9 p.m. (two trips either direction, and the Purple Line from about 4:15 and 6 :16 p.m. Visit Holiday Train schedule.
The Holiday Bus will be traveling the No. 62 Archer route Dec. 16 going south from Kinzie and State at 1:15 p.m. and Dec. 17 going north at 12:25 p.m. from the Midway Orange Line to Kinzie and State See CTA holiday bus. You know it’s the holiday bus because “Ralphie the Reindeer” leads the way with his glowing, ruby-red nose. Once inside, you see Santa and art from Wacker Elementary and Santa. Find more information at Holiday Bus.
Juicebox Series Human Tim+Robot Tim
Bring your toddler to the Chicago Cultural Center Dec. 16 or the Garfield Park Conservatory Dec. 17 to watch Human tim and his robot friend make music. Both places are 11 to 11:45 a.m. The Cultural center is at 78 E. Washington St. downtown and the Conservatory is on the west side of Chicago at 300 N. Central Avenue. Both places are reached by CTA trains.. Visit Juicebox .