If you’re looking for a free outing in Chicago, the Lincoln Park Zoo is likely already high on your list. The new Houston Family Play Tree House has recently opened in the zoo, making it an even more fun place to explore with kids. Plus, the tree house is located indoors, making it a great stop even if the weather isn’t optimal for walking around the zoo.
This accessible play space is replacing the former Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo and has play features that appeal to children up to about the age of 10. For more fun with kids in Lincoln Park, be sure to check out our Lincoln Park neighborhood guide for some great places to check out with kids before or after your zoo trip.
The Houston Family Play Tree House is an indoor play area at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Park Zoo
What You’ll Find at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Houston Family Play Tree House
The Houston Family Tree House is located in the Lincoln Park Children’s Zoo. There are accessible slides, tunnels, and tubes that are great for different abilities and age groups. Almost every surface on and inside the play structure is meant to be an immersive sensory experience. From the bark on the tunnels to the feel of the play branches, the tree house gives kids plenty of hands-on tactile playtime.
The tree house structure will transport kids to a magical tree with branches for slides and tunnels. There are bridges, a tree house, archways, and places to walk, crawl, climb, and slide. The tree house is great for smaller children under the age of 10.
In addition to the main play tree house structure, there is also a space to view turtles as well as the underwater tanks at the children’s zoo. Along the walls and throughout the playhouse there are signs and interactive elements teaching children fun facts about the nature around them.
Using a telescope inside the Lincoln Park Zoo’s new tree house. Photo by Lauren LaRoche
Houston Family Play Tree House Quick Facts
Location: Lincoln Park Children’s Zoo, 2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL (Indoors at the Houston Family Play Tree House)
Accessibility: Wheelchairs, canes, crutches, and strollers are able to move comfortably throughout the play space. The play structure itself features tunnels and bridges that can accommodate a wheelchair.
Parking: Street parking is available near the Lincoln Park Zoo. There is also a parking lot at the zoo which is free for 30 minutes.
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exploring More at the Lincoln Park Zoo
In addition to the Houston Family Play Tree House, there is so much to explore at the Lincoln Park Zoo. For our recommendations, read our Best Things to See and Do at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. You’ll find plenty of indoor and outdoor exhibits and animal habitats to explore year-round. An easy first stop is the seal pool, which is located directly adjacent to the new play space. There is also the Macaque Forest, the center for African apes, the primate house, the penguin cove, the arctic tundra, the bear habitat, the reptile house, the lion house, giraffes, zebras, camels, and many, many more.
The carousel at Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Park Zoo
The carousel is always a hit with younger zoo visitors. There is a fee to ride the carousel and tickets may be purchased at the carousel gate electronically. For little ones, be sure to stop by Farm-in-the-Zoo as well. There are always hands-on experiences and farm animals to be seen on the farm. There is also a real-life-sized tractor for kids to play on located in the main barn. The main barn is indoors and the rest of the farm features indoor/outdoor spaces for the farm animals depending on the weather.