Students walking together in the zoo

Plan a Field Trip

Teeming with wildlife and native plants, Lincoln Park Zoo is a great destination for a school field trip in Chicago. Here, students can explore the wonders of the animal kingdom without ever leaving the city, and learn how to protect our shared ecosystem.

Your class is only a few steps away from an immersive wildlife experience!

Let’s Get Started

Step 1: Pick a Day to Visit

We encourage your class to visit during less-crowded months (September–March) to make the most of the experience. That way, your students can get closer to the animals and avoid lines for the restroom, and you can more easily communicate with your group.

Step 2: Let Us Know You’re Coming

Registration is required for all school and camp groups planning a zoo visit.


Step 3: Plan Your Day

Check out these daily activities for an up-close look at animal care in action, and familiarize yourself with a map of the zoo.

Step 4: Maximize Learning

In order to incorporate your field trip into your classroom curriculum, consider prefacing your trip with a classroom activity, structuring your time at the zoo, and preparing a post-trip discussion about the experience. For additional ideas, consult our Resources for Educators page.

Or, consider Zoo Explorers: a facilitated, 55-minute program focused on inquiry based animal investigations aligned with the work of zoo scientists, which includes pre- and post-visit activities already prepared for you.

Step 5: Ask for Help

If you have a question, concern, or need while visiting the zoo, you can get assistance by visiting Searle Visitor Center, calling 312-742-2000, or finding a nearby staff member or volunteer wearing a green polo marked with our logo.

If you have additional questions prior to your field trip, email


Important Information


One adult chaperone per 10 children is required, and one adult chaperone per five preschool or kindergarten children is requested. Chaperones must stay with their group at all times.

We strongly recommend that each child wears a nametag with your group’s name and an emergency contact number. This information is needed if a child is separated from his or her group; however, do not include the child’s personal information.

For assistance locating a lost child, please visit Searle Visitor Center or find the nearest uniformed employee.


After taking a parking ticket at the parking lot entrance, bus operators have a 30-minute grace period to drop off and pick up guests without charge. Buses cannot park in the zoo lot; please refer to the Chicago Park District’s Bus Instructions page for details.


The Tadpole Room is located downstairs at Park Place Café and is available year-round for school groups to eat their lunch indoors. Between April 1–October 15, there is limited outdoor seating at picnic tables near the Bus Drop-off area and at tables at the covered Foreman Pavilion, located south of Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House. Students can carry their own lunches backpacks or the group can bring a wagon to carry them.


Limited lockers are available at the Bus Drop-off area for storing lunches, coolers, and other items. Guests can bring their own locks or rent them for $5 each at Searle Visitor Center. Alternatively, guests can bring wagons to carry their possessions.


Multiple accessible and all-gender restrooms are located across the zoo. For exact locations, check out the zoo map.


The AT&T Endangered Species Carousel and Lionel Train Adventure cost $4 per ride. Children under the age of 4 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Other seasonal attractions may be available; pricing and rules vary.

Gift Shop

The Gift Shop is open daily and is located at the center of the zoo, beneath Bird’s Eye Bar and Grill. Chaperones are required; food and beverages are prohibited.


Check out our general FAQ page to learn more about the zoo before your trip.

Visitor FAQ

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