We knew of the African Apes, but we hadn’t heard about the ‘mind games’.

For this reason alone, our visit to Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, Illinois, was certainly an eye-opener.

Researchers at the zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Centre have been using touch-screens, among other techniques, to understand how our closest cousins think.


Encouraging gorillas and Japanese macaque monkeys to place objects on the screen in sequence may allow scientists to determine how they think and feel.

The centre, which brings together global experts and organisations, is working on these ‘mind games’ as part of its mission to advance knowledge of ape biology; improve care of apes in zoos and sanctuaries; and conserve and protect wild populations.

An excellent location

And the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo is a great facility for this work.

The zoo boasts the Regenstein Centre for African Apes, a $26million state-of-the-art facility that stretches over 29,000 square feet and includes complex forest and riverbed habitat.


There are dozens of trees, 5,000 feet of artificial vines, skylights, bamboo strands, termite mounds, a waterfall, moat and heated logs.

Huge glass windows separate the indoors from the outdoors and zoo visitors can be actively involved in science and conservation initiatives.

Of course, the fascinating African apes are not the only attraction at Lincoln Park Zoo, which is a 35-acre historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868 against the stunning backdrop of Lake Michigan and the city’s famous skyscrapers.

Big cats and polar bears too

Other attractions at the free-admission zoo include big cats, polar bears, penguins and reptiles. In all, there are about 1,100 animals.


Lincoln Park Zoo continues to be a big hit with the people of Chicago and surrounds.

We visited on a sunny Saturday and the zoo was busy without huge crowds.


It is located at 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, on the fringe of Lincoln Park.

The zoo boasts stunning views of the city’s impressive skyline from the bridge that spans its artificial wetlands.


We thoroughly recommend this one.

Outstanding accessibility

Lincoln Park Zoo deserves a pat on the back for the steps it takes to ensure accessibility to older visitors and people with a disability.

The  Zoo’s main entrance and paid parking lot are located on its eastern side – and there  are 19 accessible parking spaces along Cannon Drive. There are also three areas reserved on northbound Stockton Drive for vehicles displaying accessibility placards. Parking in these areas is free:


These are available at Gateway Pavilion for temporary use by guests within the zoo. Loans are first come, first served. A refundable deposit of $US20 is required.

All public buildings at the zoo have at least one wheelchair-accessible entrance, as does the animal encounter program.

Lincoln Park Zoo permits the use of wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices.

Service Animals

Service animals are also allowed at the zoo and there are sighted guides and sign-language assistance services.

See Vienna Zoo

Zoos are a favourite attraction of ours. See our review of Tiergarten Schoenbrunn, Vienna’s wonderful zoo


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