Oak tree that predates Chicago will come down in Lincoln Park Zoo

oak tree
The burr oak tree in the center of Lincoln Park Zoo Photo credit Lincoln Park Zoo

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) – An extremely old oak tree in the center of the Lincoln Park Zoo is coming down.

The bur oak may have been nearly 100 years old when Chicago was founded in 1837, and it could be as old as 300.

But the tree has come to the natural end of its life, officials said, and it will carefully be removed in early 2023. The zoo’s director of horticulture, Katrina Quint, calls it bittersweet.

“The zoo is dedicated to protecting Lincoln Park Zoo’s natural environment and tree canopy to ensure all guests have a healthy, vibrant natural landscape to enjoy for generations to come,” she said.

The tree is 70 feet tall and has broad spreading branches and thick bark that could withstand prairie fires, once a common occurrence before there was a city.

If you want to check it out before it comes down, it’s in the center of the zoo near the habitat of the white-cheeked gibbons between the Park Place Café and the Primate House.

The zoo also is an accredited arboretum, with hundreds of species of plants.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo