Chicago Guest House's Guide to Exploring Lincoln Park 

Lincoln Park was not always the beautiful park it is today. Back in the 1800’s is was the location of the City Cemetery. Now home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Alfred Caldwall Lilly Pond and so much more!
Couch Vault in Lincoln Park Chicago
The Chicago City Cemetary Then..
Lincoln Park Now
Of the stones and memorials which once marked the resting places of the countless thousands buried in what is now Lincoln Park, the tomb of the Couch family alone remains. Erected in 1858 to house the remains of Ira Couch, the vault has outlasted time, nature, and the best efforts of city officials for more than a century to stay right where it is. It remains unclear to this day why the mausoleum was never moved, or even who is actually buried inside it. But there it stands, in plain view near North Avenue and Lake Shore Drive.
grave stone marker in Lincoln park Chicago
To the north, near Lincoln Park Zoo, a plaque on a rough-hewn boulder commemorates the resting place of David Kennison. He died in 1852, but the memorial claims that he lived to the age of 115 and was the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party.
There are no official estimates as to how many unexhumed graves remained when the City Cemetery gave way entirely to Lincoln Park. Well into the twentieth century, though, excavations in the area would occasionally turn up bones. During construction of the Chicago Historical Society's new parking garage in 1998, workers uncovered 81 partial skeletons and an iron coffin containing a remarkably well-preserved corpse. Given the gaps in records and the passage of time, there could be hundreds, perhaps thousands, remains left scattered throughout the neighborhood.  The Chicago City Cemetery may be long gone, but its legacy endures.
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
Located just north of Lincoln Park Zoo and next to the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Designed by landscape architect Alfred Caldwell; an important example of Prairie School landscape architecture
Originally it was a  victorian-style artificially heated lily pool had been built in 1889 to cultivate tropical water lilies. Not sure why they thought ‘tropical’ lilies would survive Chicago winters---they didn’t. The pools became unsightly and were often referred to as frog ponds.
In the 1930’s Alfred Caldwell was hired to completely redesign this area of the zoo---a unique opportunity to realize his poetic symbolism and design theories and philosophies. In 1938 the the park district decide to cut a major expense--- wildflower plants for the ponds. It is said that Caldwell cashed in his $5000 life insurance policy for $250 (about $4200 in today's money; I would have done it too), to purchase thousands of plants to finish his project.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
Caldwell had worked for landscape artist Jens Jensen. His influence on Caldwell and the Lily Pool is evident in the Sun Opening or clearing, the curving walkways and meandering, stepping-stone limestone paths, and the circular benches that Jensen referred to as "the council ring" and "friendship circles" since there was no superior position to sit in. Frank Lloyd Wright's influence is represented in the organic prairie style architecture.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum frogs
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The museum was founded in 1857 and it was the the first museum dedicated to nature and science.  It's had FOUR homes in Chicago! First lost to the Chicago Fire, the second lost to the financial turmoil on the 1880's, the third in the museum building in Lincoln Park, and finally in its current and hopefully last location at the southwest banks of North Pond. ​
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum woman holding giant moth
Plan Your Visit to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Exhibits: Butterfly Haven, City Science House, Water Lab and Wilderness Walk Habitat and more!   The butterfly house features more than 200 species of native and exotic butterflies. One of the museum's ongoing scientific efforts is the study, care, and breeding of native butterflies for species population support in the Chicago area.
Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicagao
Lincoln Park Conservatory
'A Paradise Under Glass' 
Did you know that conservatories were originally establishments that provided plants and organisms for medicinal use and research? The Lincoln Park Conservatory was built between 1890 and 1895. Nationally renowned architect Joseph Lyman Silsbeein collaberation with Chicago architect Mifflin E. Bell to design the Victorian conservatory which would house nature's loveliest forms. A great place to visit any time of year, but most of all when you need the sounds, smells and colors of the tropic in the dead of winter!  This was something very different for Bell as he had a history of designing elaborate Victorian gothic style court houses and post offices around the country. Silsbee gave the conservatory an exotic form by creating a series of trusses in the shape of ogee arches.  It is believed that ogee arches originated somewhere in the Middle East, possibly Persia or Morocco. By the 14th and 15th centuries, ogee arches began appearing in Europe, especially in England and in Venice, but this was something new in America.
Lincoln Park Zoo red farm house
Ape momma and her baby at Lincoln Park Zoo
Plan Your Visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
The zoo was founded in 1868, making it among the oldest zoos in North America. It is also one of a few free admission zoos in the United States.  The zoo's exhibits include big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species totalling about 1,100 animals from some 200 species and a farm too!

Also located in Lincoln Park Zoo is a burr oak tree which dates to 1830, three years before the city was founded!
people riding their bikes on the lake front path in Chicago with skyline view
North Avenue Beach
Widely considered Chicago's trademark beach, North Avenue is conveniently located just east of Lincoln Park Zoo. The beach hosts international volleyball tournaments like Volleywood and the AVP Chicago open. Beach volleyball and yoga are just a few of the activites you can pick up while you're there. It's also a popular vantage point for the always exciting Chicago Air and Water Show. 
Cast-A-Ways Bar & Grill on the Beach
Wheel of Fun Bike Rentals 

North Avenue Beach boat house