A Visit to Phillips Park Zoo in Aurora

Museums and Zoos

The Phillips Park Zoo is located at the center of Phillips Park in Aurora. This little zoo has great animal exhibits, a free splash-pad and two separate playground areas. Read on for tips and information to help plan a visit with your family!

What You’ll Find at Phillips Park Zoo

The zoo is home to a plethora of animals. The exhibits are smaller, and close together, so it is an easy visit for older toddlers to do without a stroller. Families can see alpaca, eagles, wolves, hawks and owls.

Coming in the main entrance, you’ll find elk and pea fowls. Inside the reptile house, visitors can get right up to the glass with turtles, snakes, spotted gar, geckos, poison dart frogs, as well as other fish and reptiles. There is a lot to see in a smaller zoo. Please note: the two alligators that had previously been in the reptile house were relocated to Michigan, as they had outgrown their space at Phillips Park Zoo.

During the warmer months, Phillips Park Zoo offers a tram ride throughout the grounds, which includes about 30 minutes worth of information about the animals and local history. More details, including online reservations, can be found on their website.

Other Features of Phillips Park

At the entrance of the zoo, you’ll find the David and Karen Stover Visitor Center. The visitor center houses the bathrooms and informational exhibits with woolly mammoth bones were on display. To the west of the visitor’s center is a beautiful sunken garden.

If you’re looking for some relief from summer temperatures, enjoy the (free!) splash-pad just outside the visitor center, or commit to a day of fun at the aquatic center.

At the back entrance of the zoo, families can spend an afternoon at a large, older playground, which has plenty of picnic tables and benches nearby. There is a large play structure, swing sets, and a small sand area. This area is VERY shaded, which is really nice in the hot summer sun.

Also on the grounds of Phillips Park Zoo is the new Mastodon Island Area. Visitors will find a new mastedon-themed playground, a walking path, benches, fishing piers, and pavilions for shade coverage. This was an amazing addition to Phillips Park and will lengthen your visit tremendously.


Vending machines are available for anyone interested in purchasing drinks. I’d recommend packing lunches, or be prepared to stop at a restaurant on the way in or out of your visit.


There are restrooms, with changing tables, in the visitors center. They have both indoor and outdoor entrances. If you are in the park during after-hours times, there are portable restrooms.


The Zoo is open year-round, but is closed on Wednesdays. October 1st through May 31st, hours are 9:00am – 4:00pm and Phillips Park Zoo is open 9:00am – 5:00pm from June 1st to September 30th. These hours were updated as of February 2024, and are subject to change. Confirm with Phillips Park Zoo’s website before arriving.


Visiting Phillips Park Zoo is always free!

Recommended Ages for Phillips Park Zoo

When my children were younger, they definitely appreciated the smaller habitats and close access to the animals. Very few of the animals were hiding, so we were up close and personal. The splash-pad at the entrance was the perfect relief on a hot day. If you only plan to visit the zoo, I’d recommend it for younger children. If you are planning to make a day of it, and are including a stop at the playground, or aquatic center, there is plenty of fun for kids of all ages.

Best Days/Times To Go

Due to the convenient HUGE playgrounds and free admission, Phillips Park Zoo can get very crowded with camp groups and field trips. We’d recommend calling ahead to check on their large group schedule.

Special Needs Accommodations

The entire zoo is wheelchair accessible, including the reptile house. Please note, some walkways are steeper, so while they can be reached via stroller and wheelchair, you will need guidance in these areas. The visitors center has quieter, cooler spaces inside for warm summer months.

Phillips Park Zoo
1000 Ray Moses Drive
Aurora, IL 60505
(630) 256-3860

Check out our big list of zoos and aquariums in Chicagoland for even more chances to see the animals! 

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Brenda Beltz
    March 12, 2024 2:09 pm

    Great article! We’ve been here many times and love it! I wanted to add that they also have a train/tram ride throughout the zoo with a tour guide/driver talking throughout about the zoo, places, its history, etc. very fun! Need to make reservations online first.


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