Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 312 742 2000
Concierge.com's insider take:
Occupying a beautifully landscaped strip of park in between the perfectly manicured streets of tony Lincoln Park and the shimmering waters of Lake Michigan, the Lincoln Park Zoo is the nation's oldest zoo (it was founded in 1868). It's also one of the last of its kind: A free—and incredibly well maintained—neighborhood zoo. Although it's charmingly small, you should still allow yourself two to three hours to wander the paths among landmark Georgian Revival brick buildings and colorful flower gardens. Main attractions include the Great Ape House (completely rebuilt in 2004) and the centrally located Sea Lion Pool.
Grounds open 9 am to 6 pm, buildings open 10 am to 5 pm. Call ahead for restricted hours in the winter and extended weekend hours in the summer.