Curious City

What Happens To The Lincoln Park Zoo Animals In The Winter?

Katherine Nagasawa/WBEZ

Katherine Nagasawa

Editor's Note: Since Curious City visited Lincoln Park Zoo with questioner Stephanie Stump, we’ve learned from zoo officials that Sabrena the giraffe has passed away. Additionally, the tiger seen in the video now resides at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

When Stephanie Stump visited Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights celebration last winter, she noticed there weren’t many animals out. She figured that animals like camels and giraffes wouldn’t fare well in a Chicago snowpocalypse, and she wondered if the zoo kept them inside or shipped them somewhere warm — like Florida — during the colder months.

Stumped (no pun intended), Stephanie came to Curious City with a question:

What happens to the animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo during the winter?

To find out, Curious City took Stephanie on a behind-the-scenes tour with Lincoln Park Zoo’s main curator, Dave Bernier. Watch the video below to see highlights from the tour and learn where the animals go for the winter.

More about our questioner

Questioner Stephanie Stump (right) visited Lincoln Park Zoo with Curious City multimedia producer Katherine Nagasawa (left). (WBEZ/Katherine Nagasawa)

Stephanie Stump is a graphic designer and printmaker based in Chicago. For her day job, she designs for clients in the alcoholic beverage industry at a marketing company downtown. In her downtime, she creates logos for small businesses, plays the banjo, and goes hiking and backpacking around the Midwest.

Stephanie says learning what actually happens to the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo during the winter was reassuring.

“I feel better about going to the zoo after seeing what they do to keep the animals safe and warm,” she says. “Many people have mixed feelings about going there, but for me I see it as a place of research and education, and a place where the animals are well loved.”

Katherine Nagasawa is Curious City’s multimedia producer. You can contact her at