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Best Zoo Exhibits In Chicago

Chicago is lucky to have not one, but two fabulous zoos. Both offer a ton of wonderful things to see and do while learning about conservation as well as animals and their habitats. Whether you're planning a trip north to Lincoln Park, or heading outside of the city -- just 14 miles from downtown -- to visit Brookfield Zoo, here are some fun exhibits to check out while you're there.
Lincoln Park Zoo
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Farm In The Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000
Date: Daily

While Lincoln Park Zoo may be in the heart of the city, the Farm in the Zoo gives the feel of country life with a main barn as well as a barn with a variety of farm animals like owls, sheeps, pigs, goats and cows. In the barn, kids can play with interactive exhibits that allow visitors to have a variety of experiences, like seeing a large egg hatch. The farm portion of the zoo also has a garden, where hands-on lessons about food take place.

Regenstein Macaque Forest
Date: Daily

One of the newer exhibits at the zoo, visitors of all ages will be fascinated by the shenanigans of eight snow monkeys as they swing among the exhibit's treetops. You may also see them soaking in the hot spring, or even playing with the touch-screen computers in the habitat -- showcasing just how intelligent these amazing animals are! They're active all year 'round, and the social creatures can often be seen at play, and sometimes even chasing or grooming one another.

Polar Bear And Penguin Habitats
Date: Opening in Fall 2016

Following a stunning construction of a polar bear habitat, spanning 45,000 square feet of space, a state-of-the-art polar bear and penguin habitat is scheduled to open at the north end of Lincoln Park Zoo this Fall. The habitat will largely resemble the rocky shores of South Africa, as well as the Arctic tundra, so the penguins and polar bears feel right at home. The polar bears will have both a water area to play in, a dry area to explore and a cool cave for warmer days. The penguins, too, will have plenty of room to dive and play.

Related: Best Petting Zoos In The Chicago Area

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Hamill Family Wild Encounters
Brookfield Zoo
8400 31st St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000
Date: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

One of the newer attractions at the suburban zoo, Wild Encounters offers an experience unlike any other: visitors get to interact with the animals! The three-acre exhibit is home to such animals as goats, llamas, parakeets, reindeer and wallabies. In some cases, you are even allowed, and encouraged, to feed the animals.

Great Bear Wilderness
Date: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While bears are most definitely a part of this exhibit (after all, it's named after them) it's so much more than that. Discover and learn all about the animals found in the wilderness, from bisons grazing in a prairie to gray wolves in a woodland setting. Of course, there's the bears, too, and you'll see both polar bears and grizzly bears at play.

Related: Best Parks to Walk Your Dog

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at

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