Think of the Lincoln Park Zoo like Rachael Leigh Cook’s geek-to-gorgeous character in She’s All That—hiding behind those strollers and screaming kids are welcome surprises like wine nights and outdoor yoga. Here’s how to enjoy the zoo as a grown-up.
The zoo’s Nature Boardwalk, a half mile of wooden paths elevated over a serene pond housing bluegill, painted turtles and more, opened late last summer just south of the main grounds. Though congested during zoo hours, before 10am and after 5pm it doubles as a peaceful, car- and crosswalk-free jogging or walking trail.
Salute the sun under the People’s Gas Pavilion, an arched sculpture designed by Aqua architects Studio Gang, during zoo-sponsored outdoor yoga classes. Yogis from newbie to intermediate spread their mats out for the 60-minute session of yoga basics. Sat 9am, Thu 6:30pm; prices start at $56 for four classes.
Dodge the swarms making their rounds past lethargic hippos and that polar bear who never seems to emerge and head straight for the animals that are really worth it: namely, baby animals. Right now, the zoo’s rolling in them. Visit Sai the white-cheeked gibbon, born January 6; a yet-unnamed Hoffman’s two-toed sloth, born February 15; and Enzi the Grevy’s zebra, who just celebrated his first birthday.
For sporadic series Wine & Wildlife, the zoo invites you to imbibe some vino in the Kovler Lion House while hearing from scientists and animal experts about a timely topic. If you don’t catch the one on June 2 (6pm, $40) about coyotes, and possibly their bold habits of hopping into Quiznos beverage coolers in the Loop, hold out until the November 17 session tackling the near extinction and recovery of the black-footed ferret. lpzoo.org.