Lincoln Park Zoo: Project notes + updates

Lincoln Park Zoo

As part of our #AnimalRescue and #ChicagoStrong programming, we are joyfully supporting Lincoln Park Zoo! The zoo is a wonderful place, filled with memories from childhood and the early days from our current time in Chicago. It’s simply a thrill to support this place. But then, when you learn about the amazing work that goes on behind the scenes? It’s makes that support and collaboration extra special…

To date, we have awarded $3,000 in grants to the zoo. CLICK HERE to help financially support our #AnimalRescue efforts!

What follows are some random notes from our learnings and briefings. Please check back occasionally, for this page will be updated as our collaboration with Lincoln Park Zoo continues:


Two of the four lions at Lincoln Park Zoo! Photo credit: Stephanie Schnick

30 September 2021 – We had the honor of attending the opening of the Pepper Family Wildlife Center at Lincoln Park Zoo! The new state-of-the-art habitat is now open—welcoming lions and other carnivores back to Chicago! The $41 million renovation focuses on animal choices, from thermal comfort zones for cooling and heating to intricate rock work and climbing trees for vertical complexity. We were thrilled to support this capital campaign! The habitat is home to a pride of lions, including one male and three females, two red pandas, two Canada lynx, and two snow leopards.

The savanna-style lion habitat spans the full northern side of the building (as seen at the top of this page) and includes intricate rock work to increase vertical complexity and environmental choices for the lions while providing embedded heating and cooling elements for a climate controlled habitat. Climbing tree structures and deadfall were made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified trees, and food zip lines, simulating prey, were installed for lion feeding and enrichment opportunities. We were thrilled to be a part of this project!

Stephanie photographing the Pepper Family Wildlife Center (the new lion habitat)!

July 20, 2021 – We recently did a behind-the-scenes tour at Lincoln Park Zoo to review some of their #AnimalRescue work. Some highlights/notes from the tour:

  • Species Survival Plan (SSP)
  • Animal welfare and enrichment focus 
  • Never realized the role LPZ (and other zoos) play in helping deal with the illegal animal trade. Especially our proximity to an international airport like O’Hare, I never realized the volume of illegally trafficked animals flowing through portals such as that…
  • Half of the FTEs at Lincoln Park Zoo are people you’ll rarely see, for they are behind the scenes caring for the animals, scientists, and researchers. The world you never see is quite fascinating, and the rescue work they are doing is inspirational, and worthy of our support.
  • On that note, we completed our pledged support to their Pride of Chicago capital campaign, the new lion habitat. But now that we’re more aware of the exact nature of their rescue work, we’ll be continuing to invest in Lincoln Park Zoo!
  • Nearly all of the zoo’s animal exhibits and buildings on its 49 acres have been renovated or rebuilt to provide all species with habitats  that reflect the natural ecosystem of the species origin or provide custom enhancements based on their behavioral needs.
  • The zoo also provides enrichment for its animals keeping them entertained, engaged and utilizing their natural instincts.
  • The zoo works with conservation partners to reintroduce animals back into the wild including red wolves, the Massasauga rattlesnake and Trumpter Swan while also actively advocating for the protection of threatened species through domestic and international wildlife trafficking.
Lincoln Park Zoo
  • South African Penguin enjoying the new Pritzker Penguin Cove, a beautiful weather temperate outdoor habitat and pool.
  • Photo credit: Julia Fuller
    Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Polar Bears working for a treat.