Founded in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo is the oldest free public zoo in the country. It began with the gift of a pair of swans from New York’s Central Park Commission. In 1884, a North American bison was born at the park, likely the first of its kind to be born in captivity. During the Great Depression, the zoo took in animals for which circuses were unable to care. In 2009 the Lincoln Park Zoological Society celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Did you know?
- Polar bears start life the size of a soda can and grow to be the largest land carnivores.
- In 1879, the bear pit was built. Its residents soon learned to escape and began the nightly practice of roaming the park.
- In 1889, the sea lion pool was constructed and 18 sea lions moved in before construction was complete. They escaped and wandered into a restaurant on nearby Clark Street. All were returned, except one, which was seen diving into Lake Michigan.