LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play

LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play

Wednesdays, Sept. 23–Nov. 18
Thursdays, Sept. 24–Nov. 19
Saturdays, Sept. 19–Nov. 21

Mom and son viewing river otter at Lincoln Park Zoo's Pritzker Family Children's Zoo during LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play early education nature-play program

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!

The sessions on each Wednesday, 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.

Wednesday Series
September 23 & 30, October 7, 14, 21 & 28, November 4, 11 & 18

Thursday Series
September 24, October 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, November 5, 12 & 19

Saturday Series
September 19 & 26, October 3, 10, 17 & 31, November 7, 14 & 21

(There will be no LEAP session on October 24. 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 (cost is per child)

The allowed adult-to-child ratio for each class is up to two adults to one child. You are welcome to bring children who are under 6 months to an older sibling’s class at no additional charge. Children older than 6 months must wait until they reach 2 years old to attend.

Register for the LEAP Wednesday Program Series

Register for the LEAP Thursday Program Series

Register for the LEAP Saturday Program Series

For more information, please email educationprograms@lpzoo.org or call 312-742-2056.

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!


LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play Slideshow
Look before you LEAP! Check out some photos from past LEAP sessions for a better idea of what this multifaceted program offers.