Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest draws in people of all ages


Emma Edmund/Daily Senior Staffer

Kovler Seal Pool during Fall Fest. Even as the weather cools down, zoo employees will train with the seals every day at the seal pool.

Iris Swarthout, Reporter

With the leaves changing and temperatures dropping, Lincoln Park Zoo is celebrating its fifth annual Fall Fest.

Pumpkin picking, bounce houses and corn mazes draw families from around the Chicago-area for a seasonally themed adventure. The zoo started fall-themed family friendly programming and events on Sept. 27.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Fall Fest is free and open to the public, with tickets for attractions costing $3, according to a July news release from the zoo. Ticketed experiences include the carousel, bounce town, face painting, Ferris Wheel and cookie decorating.

The money from Fall Fest and other events keep the zoo to remain free year-round, according to the press release.

“Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to connecting people with nature,” events director Josh Rupp said in a zoo news release. “At Fall Fest, guests can enjoy the changing of the seasons in their urban backyard.”

Fall Fest presents more events than the zoo would normally have during the rest of the year. McCormick sophomore Simona Fine, who attended the event on Sept. 28, said she noticed cute decorations such as ghosts and christmas lights. Apart from the festivities, guests could also interact with the animals — Fine said she saw seals being trained.

Food at the festival is also fall themed.

“I got hot apple cider and something called apple nachos where its like slices of apple drizzled with caramel sauce, whipped cream, Reese’s Pieces. And you could choose a bunch of different toppings” said Fine.

Beyond the fall festivities, guests can enjoy the animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Because most of the entertainment is located in the open spaces outside of the animal enclosures, people can meet the animals during the celebration.

Many of the attractions at the festival are geared toward children, such as an obstacle course, a 12-foot slide, pumpkin carvers and face painters. Pumpkins are also available for sale at the zoo during the event.

Weinberg freshman Michelle Tang also attended Fall Fest with her brother. She said the environment was welcoming and family-friendly.

“We went on the ferris wheel, which was cool,” Tang said. “It went super fast and you could see the lake and the city.”

She thought that the zoo was readily accessible from Northwestern’s Campus, as she thought that the Uber that she took on Oct. 5 to the event was “pretty cheap.”

Fall Fest will run until Oct. 27. The zoo is also hosting another free autumn-themed event, Spooky Zoo, a family-friendly event on Oct. 26.

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