One of the best ways to enjoy winter in Chicago is to bundle up, get outside and connect with nature, family and friends. And one of the best places to connect with nature in our busy city is at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Wintertime is one of the best times of the year to visit: it's peaceful wandering around the beautiful, snow-blanketed zoo, while some of the animals are at their most active (hello snow monkeys!).
Here are five ways to enjoy the Lincoln Park Zoo in the
1. Skate a figure eight.
Make your kid's day magical with a skate trip plus zoo adventure. Visit the resident goats, pigs, chicks, rabbits and cows in the Farm-in-the-Zoo, and then hit the ice skating rink as you emulate their cold-weather fortitude. Don't forget to warm up in The Farm House with hot chocolate.
- Open through February 28, 2016
- Admission: $5
- Skate rental: $5
2. Make some playful treats for the animals.
Adults and kids of all ages can make edible piñatas and other creative enrichment items for the zoo's animals. Join the zoo in creating willow balls, wreaths, piñatas and other enticing items for the curious cats, gregarious gorillas or the resilient rhinoceros. Once the enrichment is complete, head out to the zoo to see the animals pounce and play with similar enrichment items.
- February 13 (Valentine's Day themed)
- March 19 (St. Patrick's Day themed)
- 1-3:30 p.m.
- Cost: $5 ($4 for members), $18 Family Pack admits 4-6 people ($15 for members)
3. Sleepover with the animals.
Here's your chance to spend the night with the zoo's animals. The evening begins with dinner, followed by opportunities to explore the nightlife of the zoo's residents. You'll hear stories from zoo experts and take in a movie and bedtime snack before tucking in for the night. Families may choose to attend just the evening activities or they can stay for the entire program and sleep over at the zoo. For families with children ages 5-12. Includes dinner and continental breakfast.
- February 20
- March 12
- Evening Encounter only (6-10 p.m.) or Full Overnight (6 p.m.-8:30 a.m.)
- Cost: Evening $42 ($35 for members); Overnight $70 ($60 for members)
4. Eat breakfast with the apes.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast up close and personal with the zoo's great apes while hearing Lincoln Park Zoo's Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy share the ins-and-outs of providing care to our closest mammalian relatives. View the chimpanzees and western lowland gorillas as they explore their habitats during their most active time of day.
- February 21
- Regenstein Center for African Apes
- 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
- Cost: $50 ($45 for members), must be 12 years or older
5. Visit with the snow monkeys.
The zoo's latest exhibit, the Regenstein Macaque Forest, features playful snow monkeys from Japan. The troop, led by alpha male Akita, adores the winter season. Watch the monkeys as they climb the treetops over the Main Mall and dip their feet in the hot spring at the heart of their habitat. Zoo educators offer full range of daily programming:
- Snow Monkey Science (11:40 a.m.)
- Build Your Own Primate (12:30 p.m.)
- Animal Investigations (3 p.m.)
Check out www.snowmonkeys.org where you'll find everything from a time-lapse video of the exhibit's construction to an online game letting you Build Your Own Primate.To register for any of the above programs, visit www.lpzoo.org/education or call 312-742-2056.