The flowers are blooming, the animals are outside soaking up the sunshine; spring is in the air at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. This (free!), 35-acre zoo, located along the lakefront in Chicago's North Side Lincoln Park neighborhood, has been delighting visitors since it was founded all the way back in 1868—it's one of the oldest zoos in the US! Here are five ways to connect with nature and enjoy the gorgeous springtime weather at Chicago's beautiful Lincoln Park Zoo:

1.  Set off on a garden tour.

Second Saturdays Garden Tours

The zoo is one of the best places to catch the city in bloom during the Second Saturdays Garden Tours. On this guided garden tour, Lincoln Park Zoo's Horticulture Department will showcase flowers as they blossom with the seasons. There's no need to reserve a spot for this informational and interesting tours: just meet at information kiosk at the Patio at Cafe Brauer

When: Saturdays, May 20, June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 16 & Oct. 21 at 10 a.m.
Where: Meet at the Nature Boardwalk kiosk by Café Brauer
Tickets: No reservations required; free
 

 

 

2.  Learn how to grow your food at a hands-on Garden Workshop.


The zoo's Edible Gardens, located in Farm-in-the-Zoo, are planted and maintained by Green City Market, the nation's foremost organic open-air market (hosted just outside the Farm-in-the-Zoo on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, May–October). Garden Workshops will teach you how to make a foodie-focused garden in your very own backyard. 

When: Saturdays, May 20, June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 16 & Oct. 21
Where: Meet at the Farm-in-the-Zoo, 9:30–10:15 a.m.
Tickets: No reservations required; free

 

 

 

 

3.  Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at an animal-friendly piñata party.  

Pinata party at Lincoln Park Zoo

Animals like to party, too, and this spring, the zoo is inviting visitors to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by making edible piñatas, willow balls and other craft items for animal enrichment. After making the playful, colorful piñatas, you'll watch as they're enjoyed by your animal friends at the various exhibits throughout the zoo.

When: Saturday and Sunday, May 6-7; This event is an open-house format, so registered participants can drop by anytime between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, Cannon Drive and Fullerton Parkway
Tickets: $5 per person ($4 for members); family pack (admits 4-6 people): $18 ($15 for members); participants ages three and younger are free; tickets available at lpzoo.org/education.

 

 

4.  Dig into a food truck feast.

Food Truck Social at Lincoln Park Zoo

Chicago has some of the best food trucks in the country, but it's hard to find them as they roam the streets in search of hungry Chicagoans. On May 13, the best of the best food trucks will congregate at the Lincoln Park Zoo for the first-ever Food Truck Social. Enjoy the zoo after-hours with a fine selection of fresh-from-the-truck flavors. Live music rounds out the festivities.

When: Saturday, May 13; 6:30–10:30 p.m.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo
Tickets: $10 ($8 for members)

 

 

5. Treat Mom to a Mother's Day Brunch.

Cafe Brauer

Treat mom to a Mother's Day brunch like no other: she'll be surrounded by springtime flowers and all of her favorite animals at the zoo as she indulges in delicious Sunday brunch fare. Tickets are available for three two-hour seatings at landmark Cafe Brauer, located among beautiful gardens next to the zoo's Nature Boardwalk.

When: Sunday, May 14; Seatings at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, Cafe Brauer
Tickets: Adult (ages 13 and older): $44; child (ages 2-12): $20; tiny tots (24 months and younger): free. Tickets available at lpzoo.org/events

 

Enjoy spring in bloom all around Lincoln Park by extending your visit to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, directly adjacent to the zoo. Their "Spring Rising" flower show runs through May 14!