Chicago: Lincoln Park / Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

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Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

 Owner: Lincoln Park Zoo

 Opened: June 2010.

Area: 14 acres of green space

Designed and Constructed by Studio Gang Architects,
Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, WRD Environmental and Pepper Construction.

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Nature Boardwalk - Lincoln Park Zoo

Nature Boardwalk – Lincoln Park Zoo

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NATURE BOARDWALK: The South Pond of Lincoln Park Zoo has been transformed into a Nature Boardwalk. The South Pond has been a part of Lincoln Park Zoo since the zoo was opened in 1868. However the pond was not deep enough to support wildlife. The Lincoln Park Zoo scientists along with construction crew and environmental engineers transformed this area into a Nature Boardwalk. The pond was drained, dredged and physically transformed. After about 10 years of renovation and investment of about $12 million, the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo opened to public on June 24, 2010.

Nature Boardwalk is far more than an urban oasis; it is an urban ecosystem, and an anchor for conservation, education and care.

Highlights:

Ecosystem: The boardwalk is a refuge for people, plants and wildlife. Living shorelines and surrounding prairie s a habitat for scores of wildlife.  The boardwalk offers visitors to observe connections between water, land and skyline.

A Living Laboratory: Zoo scientists use different methods to monitor the urban ecosystem. The Lincoln Park Zoo Annual Report [2010] mentions.. Pond biologists used radio transmitters to track introduced painted turtles as they explored the new area. They employed camera traps to catch gray foxes prowling the pond at night. They dragged nets through the water to census dragonfly larvae and giant water bug nymphs growing within. And they conducted daily counts to see how black crowned night herons – endangered in Illinois – embraced their transformed nesting site. Very well, it turned out.

Education: A wide range of programs are offered to the visitors. Like, “Exploring the Ecosystem” [highlights connection between pond life to tree tops], Feathered Friends [for bird watchers] and Fishy Funs [explore foodweb under the surface].. are just a few of the many educational programs for visitors. The People’s Gas Education Pavilion also serves as an outdoor studio for Yoga at the Zoo.

A Green Oasis in the Heart of the City: The boardwalk along with the zoo provide a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of urban life and gives visitors a chance to pause, relax and connect with wildlife.

Additional Highlights:
People’s Gas Education Pavilion
Lester F. Fisher Bridge
ArcelorMittal Skyline Interpretive
Michael’s Landing
Café Brauer

 

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Nature Boardwalk  at Lincoln Park Zoo - An Urban Oasis - An eco-system connecting people, plant and wildlife.

Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo – An Urban Oasis – An eco-system connecting people, plant and wildlife.

 

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Nature Boardwalk - Lincoln Park Zoo

People’s Gas Education Pavilion – Nature Boardwalk – Lincoln Park Zoo

 

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People’s Gas Education Pavilion

The boardwalk circumscribing the pond passes through various educational zones that explicate the different animals, plants, and habitat found in each. The pavilion – integrated into the boardwalk sequence – provides shelter for open-air classes on the site. The pavilion design is inspired by the tortoise shell. Its laminated structure consists of prefabricated, bent-wood members and a series of interconnected fiberglass pods that give global curvature to the surface. The pavilion was planned in a way to frame the Chicago Skyline.

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Nature Boardwalk - Lincoln Park Zoo

People’s Gas Education Pavilion – Nature Boardwalk – Lincoln Park Zoo

 

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Nature Boardwalk - Lincoln Park Zoo

Nature Boardwalk – Lincoln Park Zoo

 

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I love the way the benches align with the planks of the boardwalk.

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Lester F. Fisher bridge - Nature Boardwalk - Lincoln Park Zoo

Lester F. Fisher bridge – Nature Boardwalk – Lincoln Park Zoo

 

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The Lester F. Fisher Bridge crossing was repaired. The underside has been retrofitted with slats to prompt nest making by swallows.

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Arcelo Mittal Skyline Interpretive - Nature Boardwalk - Lincoln Park Zoo

Arcelo Mittal Skyline Interpretive – Nature Boardwalk – Lincoln Park Zoo

 

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The Arcelor Mittal Skyline Interpretive on the bridge provide a 3-D view of the Chicago’s famous skyline,
and identifies the most notable buildings.
ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company.

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Nature Boardwalk - Lincoln Park Zoo

Cafe Brauer – Nature Boardwalk – Lincoln Park Zoo

 

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At the north end of the stroll is the historic Café Brauer.
It is designated a Chicago Landmark building.
During the renovation, the beautiful interior was left untouched, but the exterior has been extended with patio and outdoor dining space.

 

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RELATED LINKS

Chicago, Public Art in Lincoln Park .. click here..
Chicago, Art by Location.. click here..
Chicago: Parks, Boulevards and Gardens..click here..

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