Art Institute Lions Now Roar At Night Visitors

Nighttime climbers are now roared at by the kings of beasts by way of a recorded warning

By Lindsay Smith
|  Friday, Jul 13, 2012  |  Updated 5:25 PM CDT
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The Art Institute of Chicago developed a clever way to keep climbers off the bronze lion statues that guard the entrance to the institute. Hit play and have a listen.

The Art Institute of Chicago developed a clever way to keep climbers off the bronze lion statues that guard the entrance to the institute. Hit play and have a listen.

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Why use a man to do a lion's job?

The Art Institute of Chicago developed a clever way to keep climbers off the bronze lion statues that guard the entrance to the Institute, and it doesn't include a guard asking them to get down.

Nighttime climbers are now roared at by the kings of beasts themselves by way of a recorded warning over the building's public address system.

"Please stay off the lions. If not, the police will be called," says a woman's voice after the beastly roar.

The Institute implemented the sound during the NATO Summit in May in advance of expected crowds, according to the museum's director of public affairs and communications Erin Hogan.

Though there aren't any signs prohibiting lion climbing, Hogan explains that keeping visitors off the statues is a matter of both safety for the climbers and preservation for the lions, which have been iconic structures since the Art Institute's opening in 1893.

The lions were given to the Art Institute in celebration of its opening. They have been dressed up for holidays and even sometimes to cheer on Chicago's sports teams.

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