You’ve watched your kiddos scramble to get a good look at the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo. But sometimes, they might just want to sit back and enjoy the ride. Good news: Now they can! The zoo’s new kiddie train, the Lionel Train Adventure, has just opened. The track-less locomotive “chugs” around a scenic loop, giving excited tykes a break from the monkeys, lions and bears. Here’s what you need to know before you go.

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Do the Loop
The train is best suited for little ones ages 2-6, but anybody (including parents) can hop onboard. Each compartment has small benches and open windows to view the landscape. While riders won’t see any animal exhibits up-close as they circle ’round, they’ll cross pretty terrain that will make them feel like they’re rambling through the countryside.

Choo-choo! Swerve past a craggy canyon where you can see faux T.rex fossils. Cross a bridge over a dry river bed. And sweep into a mini forest before you stop back at the red-brick station. The train goes around twice and the ride lasts a few minutes.

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Bells & Whistles
The 28-passenger train was created through a collaboration with the iconic model train company, Lionel, which has been around since 1900. Any toot-toot enthusiast will love going for a ride — especially because there are piped-in engine noises and happy-go-lucky music playing in the background. If you want to do your own whistle blowing, buy a wooden train whistle in the pavilion next to the station. It also sells Zoo holiday ornaments, and Thomas the Train and Lionel gift sets.

The train experience was designed to be fun for kids and easy for parents. There is stroller parking at the station and the entire area is fenced off, so you’ll always be able to keep an eye on your child. Important to note: the train does not run during inclement weather.

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While You’re There
If your kids need to cut loose, let them burn off energy at the Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure. This maze of sturdy ropes and tunnels looks like something out of Swiss Family Robinson and is located in the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Open April-May & September-October, from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
November-March, from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
General admission is free; parking for 30 minutes or more is $20; train costs $3/person
Main entrance at Fullerton Parkway & Cannon Drive
312-742-2000
Online: lpzoo.org

What is your favorite thing to do at Lincoln Park Zoo? Let us know in the Comments!

— Kelly Aiglon