LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play

LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play

Thursdays, January 15–March 12 and March 19–May 14 and Saturdays, January 17–March 14 and March 21–May 16

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!

We’re offering 9-session LEAP programs on both Thursdays and Saturdays this winter and spring. The sessions on each Thursday and Saturday will be exactly the same, so please only sign up for one program series.

Winter LEAP Series

Winter LEAP sessions take place at Regenstein Center for African Apes and Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House.

Thursday Series:

January 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12, 19, 26, March 5, 12

Saturday Series:

January 17, 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21, 28, March 7, 14

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 for this series is closed.

Spring LEAP Series

Spring LEAP sessions take place at Regenstein African Journey and the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo.

Thursday Series
March 19–May 14

Saturday Series
March 21–May 16

The Thursday Spring LEAP series is sold out. However, you may still add your name to a wait list. In the event a registered participant cannot attend, individuals on the wait list will be contacted in the chronological order in which they applied. To add your name to the wait list, please complete the online registration. You will not be required to submit payment at the end of the process.

Register for the Saturday Spring LEAP 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.