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The Top Zoos in Illinois

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The state of Illinois is famous for its cultural attractions and its state-of-the art medical facilities. Visitors seeking the best services for beasts or humans can find a zoological garden or an Illinois hospital for their own particular needs and interests. The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, founded in 1868, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States and also one of the most up-to-date. Every year the Lincoln Park Zoo receives more than 3,000,000 visitors. The zoo is open 365 days a year, and it offers many educational programs as well as old-fashioned enjoyment and fun for the whole family. Visitors can get up very close to the animals and gaze eyeball-to-eyeball with a lowland gorilla or an enormous brown bear. Lincoln Park Zoo is famous not only for its wide collection of fauna from all over the world, but also for its architecture and technical facilities. Visitors of all ages thrill to the Four-Dimensional Virtual Safari simulator, the LPZoo Express train ride, and the Safari Audio Tour. Although entrance to Lincoln Park Zoo is free, there is a small fee for taking in these special attractions. The zoo also features two excellent gift shops and several restaurant options, and is conveniently located near the top 10 hospitals in Illinois.

Just west of Chicago, in Brookfield Illinois, is the Brookfield Zoo. This zoo, established in 1934, is also open 365 days a year. Its 2000 animals range over 200 acres of land which is landscaped to recreate the natural habitats of the animals. Instead of cages this zoo uses moats and other natural barriers to keep the animals separated from the visitors and each other. Brookfield’s comprehensive collection of fauna includes the first Giant Panda shown in America as well as specialty exhibits such as the Baboon Island, Australia House, Dolphin show, Wolf Woods, Pachyderm House, and the Reptile House. It also includes the world-famous Tropic World which recreates a tropical rain forest complete with gaily-colored birds, monkeys, even a thunderstorm simulation. There are also a play zoo and petting zoo for children, where visitors can get up close and interact directly with the animals. The Motor Safari tram allows visitors to take a guided tour of the entire grounds. There are gift shops and various options available for dining.

The Cosley Zoo in Wheaton Illinois is located on 5 acres of land and specializes in domestic farm animals and also wildlife native to Illinois. The pleasant grounds feature an area where visitors can picnic, as well as a gift shop and eating concessions. The Wildlife Prairie State Park also features native Illinois wildlife. Located ten miles west of Peoria on Interstate 74, this two thousand acre zoological garden exhibits bison, black bears, cougars, elk, otters, waterfowl, wolves, and many other species.

Also in Peoria, located near many hospitals in Il, is the Glenn Oak Zoo. This zoological garden features a hundred animal species from around the world. Besides its collection of fauna the zoo offers sea lion performances and critter chats daily. There is a good gift shop and restaurant.

Serpent Safari in Gurnee Illinois is an indoor zoo exhibiting rare reptiles which includes Baby – the largest (403 lb.) snake in the world. There are rare albino alligators, Nile crocodiles, anacondas which weigh over 250 lbs., cobras, and many other species. The gift shop even sells pets so you can bring a reptile home with you!


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