Grab your binoculars and put on your safari hat - your journey through Africa has begun! Regenstein African Journey (RAJ) is one of the most popular buildings at Lincoln Park Zoo. There are so many unusual animals – from stately giraffes to the powerful aardvark – and the building’s setup takes you through various African habitats, as if you really are travelling!
It’s time to introduce you to the animals we will be sharing space with over the next few weeks – mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, and invertebrates. Are you ready?
We’re lucky to enter RAJ through a secret side door (Thanks for your patience in finding it!) so when you enter the building, you have the option to go right or left. Let’s head to the right!
Hear that sound? Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches may look and sound frightening, but they are relatively shy. These crawlers push air through holes on the side of their bodies making their signature “hiss” sound! Venture into their cave to see these prehistoric-looking invertebrates.
How many crocodiles do you see? The African Dwarf Crocodiles you see basking and floating are all siblings. They are masters of camouflage and can be difficult to spot. How many can you find?
What’s beyond those double doors? These doors head to the main entrance, but don’t forget to stroll through. You’ll find birds and monkeys hopping from limb to limb. Take a moment to notice the different beaks of the Hadada Ibis, Abdim’s Stork, and African Spoonbill. If you look towards the back, you’ll see a family of Diana Monkeys grooming one another! A baby Diana was born August 3rd, 2018 so be on the lookout for a soon-to-be 1-year-old!
Reverse back to our LEAP entrance. It’s time to head to the left! Look for Golden Orb Weaver Spiders! You’ll only see females on exhibit – the males are too tiny to see!
Why is the floor squishy? As you pass the termite mound, you’ll notice the floor changing. You’re entering the riverbank! Stop for a moment and see if you can spot the Pygmy Hippopotamus. Hippos shouldn’t be hard to find, right? Annie and Howie like to sleep and are very still, so they are often mistaken for large rocks in the water.
What’s squawking so loud? As you head up the wooden ramp, you’ll see a long exhibit in front of you. This is the dry thorn. In this multi-species exhibit, you’ll see (and hear!) Black-Masked Lovebirds, Blue-Bellied Rollers, Hottentot Teals, Kenya Crested Guineafowl, and Red-Billed Hornbills – whew! These birds have amazing and unique feathers, as well as calls. If you aren’t too distracted by these feathered friends, try to spot the Klipspringer pair. These tiny antelope are quiet and wide-eyed, but are excellent rock climbers!
You said there were giraffes… where are they? You’re almost there! Continue around the bend and you’ll find a new area. Here you’ll find the Aardvark, Meerkats, and (drum roll, please!) Giraffes! Paatsy, the aardvark, and the meerkat mob often switch exhibits. This is great enrichment for them! Etana,the giraffe, was joined by a new friend, Finely, last May. Can you tell who is who?.
Why is it so dark? As you leave the giraffe area, you’ll turn the corner into a dimly-lit area with another squishy floor. Welcome to Lake Malawi! These colorful cichlids represent the species found in Africa and come in all shapes and sizes. How many can you find?
Pat yourself on the back! You’ve seen all the animals in RAJ. We hope you enjoy spending time in this building during LEAP – we sure do! As always, feel free to ask us questions about the animals or habitats in the Regenstein African Journey. We love sharing information!