Lincoln Park Zoo celebrates 150 years

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The iconic destination has a temporary exhibit up to mark the occasion. Walking tour stops include historical photographs and zoo memorabilia scattered throughout the zoo.

"You'll learn something about our past, our present and our future," said Adrienne Horrigan, the zoo's manager of animal records.

She discussed the exhibit alongside the very pond where the zoo's century and half story began. In 1868, New York City's Central Park donated 4 swans to Lincoln Park and as Horrigan explained, that's when the zoo came to be. Its footprint has grown tremendously over the years; there are roughly 700 animals in the zoo today, according to Horrigan--including swans.

"There's a bunch of animals and I love seeing animals," said 6-year-old visitor Sammy Carr, adding, "I really do like the flamingos...sometimes I also skip animals because we run so fast."

Now there's even more to see with the special exhibit. Among the memorabilia, medical equipment belonging to Lester Fisher, who was first the zoo's veterinarian and then its pioneering director for 30 years.

"He really revolutionized what zoos were doing by bringing the focus to animal care and building more natural habitats," said Horrigan.

The zoo keeps up with that commitment today for about 200 species, which continue to enthrall visitors from Chicago and beyond.

"This is one of the prettiest zoos I've ever seen," remarked first-time visitor Ruben Ramirez.

The zoo's designs have changed over time, though some decades-old structures still stand. Plus, it's always been free to enjoy, creating priceless memories.

You can see the special exhibit through September 3rd, for free, at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
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