LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play

LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play

Nine-session program: Thursdays, September 25–November 20 (SOLD OUT) and Saturdays, September 20–November 22 (SOLD OUT)

LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play program at Lincoln Park Zoo's Pritzker Family Children's Zoo

Join us for a morning of connecting with nature through play! We’ve created an immersive, sensory-rich play space for children and adults. Explore the natural world by meeting animals, building, drawing, climbing and making music at your own pace. The choices are up to you!

This season, we’re trying something new!  We’re offering 9-session LEAP programs on both Thursdays and Saturdays. The sessions on each Thursday and Saturday will be exactly the same, so please only sign up for one program series.

Classes will take place at the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo and Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House.

Thursday Series (SOLD OUT):
September 25, October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20

(Please note: Although the program series is sold out, you can still add your name to a wait list for it. Should spaces become available later, wait list registrants will be notified in the order in which they registered.)

Saturday Series (SOLD OUT):
September 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18, November 1, 8, 15, 22
(There will be no LEAP session on October 25. Instead, bring the whole family to attend Spooky Zoo Spectacular!)

9:30–10:30 a.m.
$126 ($108 for Lincoln Park Zoo members) for 9-session program series
For children ages 2–3 and an adult (adults do not need to pay to participate)

Registration is now closed for both sessions. Check back soon for information on the January–March LEAP sessions and registration dates.


The Benefits of Nature Play

Think back to your childhood. What are some of your fondest memories of play? For millions of Americans, those memories are of playing outside and with nature.  Free from adult supervision, you were able to explore, experiment, take risks and discover the world on your terms. Today, our children are spending less time engaged in play outdoors and more time watching TV and interacting with electronic media indoors.

But play has powerful impacts on our growth and development, and losing it will influence how our children progress into adulthood. Play in nature engages all our senses at once. It helps us learn how to problem-solve, fosters creativity and helps us concentrate. When playing, we feel happy and joyful, and by playing outside we learn to love nature and thereby develop lifelong conservation values.

At LEAP, you will notice many different activity areas designed to help your child make those discoveries and begin that process of exploration in nature. Let your child decide when, where and how to play; then join in.  There are no rules about what you need to do or learn. During LEAP, you don’t need to visit every station either. Feel free to walk the rock path, build a fort or dig in the dirt. Just play and have fun!