LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play

LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play

Nine-session program: Thursdays, September 25–November 20 or Saturdays, September 20–November 22

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:
September 25, October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20

Saturday Series:
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)

Register for the LEAP Thursday Program Series

Register for the LEAP Saturday Program Series


LEAP Open House

Join us on Saturday, September 6, to learn more about LEAP! We will set up a number of LEAP nature play stations for you and your child to explore. We will also accept onsite registration for the fall 2014 LEAP program series.

Saturday, September 6, 9–11 a.m.
Adults may attend alone or with their 2–3-year-olds

Register for the LEAP Open House


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!