Lords Park Zoo

Farm Zoo

The farm zoo is located at the north end of the zoo. Animals will include pigs, cows, goats, sheep, llama & a miniature donkey.

Farm Zoo Hours:             June 4 - August 12: 11 am - 3 pm

"This zoo is perfect for a family with children. Enjoy a picnic in the park and then head over to the zoo. Beautiful grounds, clean pens, clean smelling and wonderful landscaping." - Laura Meyer on Facebook

About the Zoo

Located on Elgin's east side, at the south end of Lords Park, the zoo has had a long history and has undergone many changes. Currently, the fenced in outdoor area includes: Buffalo, Elk, and White Tail Deer, which can be seen all year long. During the summer the farm zoo will open to provide visitors with the opportunity to view farm animals rented from local farms. This is not a petting zoo.

Zoo History

The zoo began in 1895 with the construction of a den to house two donated black bears, Jack and Juno. Both were tame and playful, and Davy Walker, the animal trainer, was wrestling with Jack. Before long he had trained the bears to welcome him into their cage by standing on their hind legs and kissing him on the cheek. The bears took apples from his hands and grapes from between his teeth. Children delighted in watching a bear run away with Walkers' food basket while he was lining them up at feeding time.

By 1905, when the first four bison arrived, the menagerie included five bears, two elk, seventeen deer, eight coyotes, four foxes, three monkeys, a raccoon, a wildcat, ten peacocks, and six eagles.

It wasn't until the arrival in 1964 of a year-old lion, named Lord Spark in a contest, that complaints arose about the zoo. The cages had deteriorated, were difficult to keep clean, and provided inadequate protection for both animals and visitors. The Lords Park caged collection had dwindled to four bears, a deodorized skunk, a fox, a few raccoons, and the lion. The city council decided to keep the bison, deer, elk and domestic animals and concentrate on a children's farm zoo. Lord Spark found a new home at Brookfield Zoo.

In 1969 the caged area was filled and graded to the level of the creek. The summertime goats, calves, llamas, pigs and rabbits were a welcome addition to the zoo.

Special Events/Programs

 Event Dates Time
Stories under the Hickory Tree - Presented by Gail Borden Public Library and Friends of Lords Park Zoo

Join us as the library hosts a 20-minute story time at the zoo. The library is also bringing books for checkout and will offer library card registration for those who do not yet have a card.

June 16 & 30; July 7 & 21; August 11                            
1:00 - 1:30 pm                                                      
Continuing the Traditions - Lords Park Farm Zoo Celebration

As part of Elgin's Heritage Month, come join Friends of the Zoo in celebrating Lords Park Zoo's successful first year (nearly 12,000 visitors) and the beginning of the second year of the Farm Zoo. Free popcorn, bottled water, washable animal tattoos, balloons and farm zoo pencils will be given away.

Other organizations such as Elgin Public Museum, Elgin Historical Society, Izaak Walton League, Elgin Fire Barn Museum and Gail Borden Library will be at the Zoo providing information on their programs.

 May 14
1:00 - 4:00 pm