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At this urban enclave near Lake Michigan, you can face off with lions (separated by a window, of course) outside the Kovler Lion House; watch about two dozen gorillas and chimpanzees go ape in the sprawling Regenstein Center for African Apes, with three separate habitats featuring bamboo stands, 5,000 feet of swinging vines, and termite mounds for chimpanzee snacking; or watch some rare and endangered bear species, such as the spectacle bear (named for the eyeglasslike markings around its eyes).
Animals both slithery (pythons) and strange (sloths) reside in the glass-dome Regenstein Small Mammal and Reptile House, and the big guys (hippos, giraffes, and black rhinos) are in the Regenstein Animal Journey. Bird lovers should make a beeline to the McCormick Bird House, containing extremely rare birds, including the Bali mynah, Guam rail, and Micronesian kingfisher, some of which are extinct in the wild. The children's zoo, Farm-in-the-Zoo (farm animals and a learning center with films and demonstrations), and LPZoo Children's Train Ride appeal to youngsters. Be sure to leave time for a ride (or two) on the Endangered Species Carousel, featuring a menagerie of 48 rare and endangered animals.
2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, Illinois, 60614, United States