“2019 Fall Fest Opens at Lincoln Park Zoo on September 27th,” by S.M. O’Connor

The 5th Annual Fall Fest opens at Lincoln Park Zoo on Friday, September 27, 2019.  This is a free, family-friendly festival in the heart of the Chicago Park District’s Lincoln Park on the North Side of Chicago.  In addition to the free events, including singalong concerts with Mary Macaroni and the Impasatas and autumnal animal enrichment activities, Fall Fest features ticketed experiences: a corn maze; an obstacle course with a twelve-foot slide; a sixty-five-foot Ferris wheel; a corn “pool” to swim in; bounce houses; professional pumpkin carvers; and educational activities.

“Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to connecting people with nature,” stated Events Director Josh Rupp.  “At Fall Fest, guests can enjoy the changing of the seasons in their urban backyard.  It’s a celebration not to be missed!”

Pumpkins will be available to purchase throughout October at pumpkin patches located in front of the Gift Shop, Lionel Train Adventure, and on the Park Place Terrace.  Pumpkins will vary in price depending on size.

Fall Fest is free and open to the public from Friday, September 27, 2019 through Sunday, September 29, 2019; Friday, October 4, 2019 through Sunday, October 6, 2019; Friday, October 11, 2019 through Monday, October 14, 2019; Friday, October 18, 2019 through Sunday, October 20, 2019; and Friday, October 25, 2019 through Sunday, October 27, 2019.  Monday, October 14, 2019 is Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Lincoln Park Zoo.  In the rest of Illinois and most of the U.S.A., it is Columbus Day.  The events will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Tickets are required for attractions and are available individually for $3 each or in bulk packages of ten for $27 or twenty for $51.  All zoo buildings will remain open with regular hours during this time and all daily programming will continue, as well.





27th through 29th


4th through 6th


11th through 14th


18th through 20th



25th through 27th

Additional Events

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Auxiliary Board will host the 33rd Annual Spooky Zoo on Saturday, October 26, 2019.  This free event allows children to celebrate Halloween in a safe and family-friendly environment.  It will include an animal education zone; arts and crafts; and, obviously, trick-or-treating.  Tickets for Fall Fest rides will remain available for purchase during Spooky Zoo.

Adults Night Out: The Great Pumpkin Glow will be on Thursday, October 24, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  This is an event for teenagers and adults eighteen-years-of-age-and-older.  This is a chance for parents, grandparents, older siblings, and other adults to enjoy the zoo grounds covered in pumpkins and unique animal chats without children running around.  Adults (at least twenty-one-years-of-age) can do so with a wine, beer, or spirit in hand.  Adults Night Out: The Great Pumpkin Glow includes The Great Pumpkin Glow jack-o-lantern trail in the Children’s Zoo, the Corn Maze on the South Lawn, educational entertainment, special animal enrichment, and complimentary rides on the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel until 9:45 p.m.  In addition to the cash bars, one can also also part with one’s money by purchasing pumpkins in the Pumpkin Patch and souvenirs at the Wild Things! Gift Shop.  Tickets are available in advance for $15 ($12 for Lincoln Park Zoo Members) or $20 at the door, if tickets remain available.  One can purchase tickets through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adults-night-out-the-great-pumpkin-glow-tickets-56050024131?aff=erellivmlt.  Fat Tire by New Belgium Brewing is the sponsor.

Adam Selzer, host of Mysterious Chicago Tours, will lead walkabouts that dig into Lincoln Park’s cemetery roots and locations that are alleged to be haunted.  Mr. Selzer is author of Ghosts of Chicago, Mysterious Chicago, and H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil.  He has appeared on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.  Haunted History Tours at Lincoln Park Zoo will take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout October.


Week of October


First Week of October

Tuesday the 1st

Wednesday the 2nd

Second Week of October

Tuesday the 8th

Wednesday the 9th

Third Week of October

Tuesday the 15th

Wednesday the 16th

Fourth Week of October

Tuesday the 22nd

Wednesday the 23rd

Fifth Week of October

Tuesday the 29th

Wednesday the 30th

Haunted History Tours at Lincoln Park are for adults and teenagers sixteen-and-over.  Tours begin at the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Café Brauer.  The address of Café Brauer is 2021 North Stockton Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60614.

The tours are scheduled to last from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Expect a tour to last from seventy-five minutes to ninety minutes.

Tickets are $35 (10% off for Lincoln Park Zoo Members).  Click here to purchase tickets via Eventbrite.

Figure 1 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: This is the Pumpkin Patch at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest as seen on October 14, 2016.

Figure 2 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: This is pumpkin-carving by a professional at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest as seen on October 14, 2016.

Figure 3 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: This is the corn maze at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest as seen on October 14, 2016.

Figure 4 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: This is the corn pool at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest as seen on October 14, 2016.

Figure 5 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: This is the Ferris Wheel at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest as seen on October 14, 2016.  George W. Ferris (1859-1896) built the world’s first Ferris Wheel in the middle of the Midway Plaisance for Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893).

Founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo celebrated the 150th anniversary of its foundation last year.  A private, non-profit organization, the Lincoln Park Zoological Society, manages the zoo on land owned by the Chicago Park District.  It is open 365 days a year.  For more information about events at the zoo, click here.

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