If you've got kids, taking them to a zoo is a great way to have a fun-filled day.

If you've got kids, you also know that taking your kids to the zoo can make a serious dent in your pocketbook, so I want to help you out there.

Are There Free Zoos in Illinois?

My two daughters LOVE animals and they also LOVE collecting as many different kinds of stuffed animals as they can. So, when my family goes to the zoo we drop some serious cash in the gift store on new plush animals to add to their collection. (I'm a sucker every time because I love 'stuffies' too). The one way my husband and I have been able to ease some tension on our budget, but still provide a great day amongst animals, is to take advantage of the great free zoos Illinois and Wisconsin have to offer. Henry Villas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin is one of our favorites, but Illinois has some great options too!

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois

Lincoln Park Zoo via Facebook
Lincoln Park Zoo via Facebook
loading...

When it comes to free zoos in Illinois, Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is always top of mind. Not only is it the oldest free public zoo in the country, but it's also one of the most established and beloved.  It is home to nearly 200 different and unique species of animals, so there are a TON of cool things to see and do there. (see the full list of animals and exhibits at lpzoo.org). PLUS, they just welcomed a new lion cub last month that I can't wait to see this summer!

Did You Know Illinois Has A Second Free Public Zoo?

Considering how much my family loves animals, I am ashamed to admit that I just learned today that Illinois has another free zoo to visit; Phillips Park Zoo in Aurora.

Phillips Park Zoo via Facebook
Phillips Park Zoo via Facebook
loading...

This zoo owned by the City of Aurora is obviously much smaller in size, but that's a very good thing if you like to avoid huge crowds as you will usually find at Lincoln Park Zoo. Plus, Phillips Park Zoo also features more North American wildlife like gray wolves, mountain lions, river otters, elk, and MUCH more.

They also have a lot of barnyard animals for your kids to play with too!

Phillips Park Zoo via Facebook
Phillips Park Zoo via Facebook
loading...
Phillips Park Zoo via Facebook
Phillips Park Zoo via Facebook
loading...

To learn more about Phillips Park Zoo, and to see all the fun events they have planned over the next few months, click here.

Want to learn more fascinating facts about animals? Check this out...

WATCH OUT: These are the deadliest animals in the world

LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.