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Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

The pond just to the south of the Lincoln Park Zoo has been tranformed. In recent years, when it was called the South Pond, it's been a mildly crumbling thing, with narrow shores along the Farm in the Zoo, 70s-style paddles boats that I never quite understood, and brackish, shallow water.

They've been working on it for some time. Here's the work in progress from June 2009:

Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond Lagoon Restoration > June 6, 2009

And now it's done-- the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo at 1900 North Stockton Drive.

There's a ton of info about the boardwalk over here, including a hefty magazine explaining the rationale behind the the design of the area.

That's the thing-- it's a whole series of "places" that make you feel differently based on how you approach them.

There's the boardwalk itself, which has a great thumping thickness to it when you walk or bike along it.

Then there's how the space interfaces with the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial. Even though he turns his head on the boardwalk:

Ulysses S. Grant Refuses to Acknowledge the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

...the passageway spills nicely into the new space:

Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo from Beneath the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

The odd wood and fiberglass shell of the Peoples Gas Education Pavilion, ("designed to resemble a turtle’s scutes") is a wonder, and it seems to nearly match the radius of the Grant passage:

Peoples Gas Education Pavilion at the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

Detail of Peoples Gas Education Pavilion

This is a wonderful new(ish) space. It makes me feel great that Chicago continues to develop great outdoor spaces.


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Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


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Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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