Maria Opdycke ordered special glasses online a few weeks ago and was all set to watch Monday’s solar eclipse. But with clouds in the forecast, Opdycke and her son Simm weren’t counting on a clear view of the rare cosmic event.
So they went to the zoo instead.
“We thought we’d see if something funny happened with the animals,” said Opdycke, of Evanston, who watched the eclipse from Lincoln Park Zoo. “We’re going to go see the polar bears, and then we’ll make our way to the chimpanzees.”
Chimpanzees were among about a dozen species under special monitoring by zoo scientists Monday to see if the animals would behave any differently during the eclipse. Although zoo staff observed a few odd behaviors, it was business as usual for most animals. Almost all of them.
“The zoo visitors were the most interesting animals on the grounds today,” said research scientist Katie Cronin. “People were pausing in their footsteps, looking up at the sun, talking to each other, sharing the glasses. It felt very different on the zoo grounds today, like everyone was taking in the experience together.”
Below: Photos taken during Monday’s solar eclipse at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Gorillas were among the animals monitored by scientists at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Lincoln Park Zoo scientists observed a dozen or so species, including the Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys.
Several primate species, including the De Brazza’s monkeys, were observed for behavioral changes.
Claudia Araiza, left, and Veronica Worth, of Chicago, watch the solar eclipse at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Lisa Bermudez, left, of Bend, Oregon, with husband, David, and sons Winston and Tanner, point their eyes to the sky.
Cloudy skies didn’t dampen spirits for eclipse viewing in Chicago.
Siblings Noa and Frankie Raisher, of Chicago, and Allie Chatas watch the solar eclipse.
“The zoo visitors were the most interesting animals on the grounds today,” said research scientist Katie Cronin.
Staff at Lincoln Park Zoo view the solar eclipse on Monday.
Aug. 21: What did you see during the historic event? Add your images to our stellar online gallery.
Aug. 18: Like scientists across the country, Lincoln Park Zoo’s animal experts will spend Monday’s solar eclipse carefully observing the zoo’s residents for changes in behavior.
Aug. 17: Participating in the eclipse is a way for “people to demonstrate that they want to understand the world scientifically,” DePaul sociologist Roberta Garner says.