Summer Conservation Camp

Summer Conservation Camp

June 10–August 16
9 a.m.–3 p.m. each day
$600 per non-member camper per week; $510 per member camper per week
Rising Grades PreK–Grade 5
Campers must be at least 4 years old on their first day of camp to participate and be able to use the bathroom independently.


During Conservation Camp, campers will adventure through the amazing world of animals. Each week campers will explore themes designed to inspire a love of wildlife and curiosity about the natural world. Along the way, they will spend time with their peers, discover how to overcome challenges, and build empathy for the natural world and for one another.

Rising PreK Register Here

Rising Kindergarten-Grade 1 Register Here

Rising Grades 2-3 Register Here

Rising Grades 4-5 Register Here

2024 Registration

Registration Opening Dates:

Donor Club Members will receive an email on February 14 after 3 p.m. with a pre-sale registration link. Donor Club pre-sale opens Thursday, February 15 at 10 a.m. and runs through Wednesday, February 21 at 3 p.m.

Safari-level Members will receive an email on February 21 after 3 p.m. with a presale registration link. Safari Member presale opens Thursday, February 22 at 10 a.m. and runs through Wednesday, February 28 at 3 p.m.

Household Members, Individual Members and the general public may register starting Thursday, February 29 at 10 a.m. via the Zoo Camps webpage. Click “Learn More” under the Conservation Camp or Zoo Crew headings to find the registration links beginning at 10 a.m. on February 29.

NEW this summer: Campers  may register for up to three different-themed weeks of Conservation Camp. All campers must be registered by their legal guardian. Campers must be at least 4 years old on their first day of camp and be able to use the bathroom independently.

Safari-level members and above receive the opportunity to participate in pre-sale registration for camp.  To join the zoo as a Safari-level member, visit or call 312-742-2322.

Camp will not take place the week of July 1–5.

Practice for the Chicago Air and Water Show is expected to take place near the zoo on August 9, with the show on August 10-11. For campers sensitive to loud noises, we ask that caregivers please consider signing them up for a different week of camp or providing them with noise-reducing headphones.

Electronic Devices at Camp

Campers should not bring cell phones or smartwatches to camp. Camp staff reserve the right to remove a cellphone from a camper’s possession for the duration of the camp day. Lincoln Park Zoo is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

If caregivers need to communicate with their camper during the camp day, they may call 312-742-2056 to reach a member of the camp leadership team. We will share messages with campers.

Registration Guide

Visit our registration guide here

Camp Values

Lincoln Park Zoo strives to provide a camp experience that supports the whole child. We offer a safe and engaging environment that challenges and uplifts each camper as they try new things, make new friends, and navigate new situations.

We encourage campers to build resilience and practice their problem-solving skills. We support them in finding their own solutions to obstacles they face.

We provide opportunities for campers to practice leadership skills and develop empathy for people, animals, and the natural world.

Respect is the cornerstone of camp at Lincoln Park Zoo. Throughout each camp session, staff emphasize showing respect for property, others, nature, and themselves—and guide campers to demonstrate that respect. We seek to be a place where all campers feel welcomed and included.

Registered families will receive more information about Lincoln Park Zoo Camp’s behavior policy in the welcome email they receive the week before their camp date.



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What are the procedures for check-in and checkout?

Check-in will take place each morning from 8:45–9:15 a.m. Checkout will take place for all grade levels from 3–3:15 p.m., unless the camper is registered for After Care. Caregivers will drop off and pick up campers in the designated area outside the Judy Keller Education Center on Cannon Drive. Caregivers authorized to pick up campers must show a photo ID every day at checkout.

What are the rules for parking at the zoo during check-in and checkout?

Caregivers may park in the temporary camp parking zone located just outside the Judy Keller Education Center. Enter the parking lot where Cannon Drive meets Fullerton Avenue. Take a ticket or use your Zoo Member ID to enter the lot and proceed south until you see the blue signs marking our temporary parking zone. You may also park in any space outside the temporary parking zone if you plan to remain at the zoo after check-in or checkout ends. If you take a ticket to enter the lot, you have 30 minutes to exit before you incur a fee.

What if I need to arrange a late drop-off or early pickup?

Please avoid late drop-offs and early departures as much as possible. These disrupt the flow of the camp day, cause staff to be pulled away from programming and other essential duties, and result in missed activities for your camper. If they cannot be avoided, please plan to drop off/pick up your camper between 11:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m. if possible. All late arrivals or early departures should be arranged in advance by contacting the camp staff at If you do not notify us in advance, you may have to wait as long as 25 minutes for staff to retrieve your camper from zoo grounds.

What gear does my camper need for camp?

Each camper will receive a blue Conservation Camp T-shirt for every week registered, and will also get a backpack with their registration. Campers should wear their blue camp T-shirt and bring their backpack every day they attend camp. Campers may also wear blue camp T-shirts from previous years if they wish. Caregivers will have the option to purchase additional shirts via a link sent to their email after registration is complete.

All campers should bring:

  • refillable water bottle
  • sunscreen
  • clothing suitable for the weather
  • face covering (may be needed in some indoor spaces and for certain experiences)
  • closed-toe shoes with a back—no sandals please!

NEW this year: Optional gear pickup events will take place from 4–6 p.m. on May 28, 29, and 30. Gear that is not picked up at one of these events will be given to each camper on their first day of camp.

What are your policies regarding health and safety?

Camp staff members are all CPR- and first-aid-certified and an EMT is on-site during camp.

Caregivers are the zoo’s most important partners in keeping our camp community healthy and safe. If your camper feels unwell or shows any signs of infectious illness (sore throat, new cough, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, severe headache, or a fever at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) please do not send them to camp!

Lincoln Park Zoo strongly encourages all campers and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

At times, Lincoln Park Zoo may require additional health and safety measures beyond what is required by public health officials. Campers may be required to wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status in some situations. Please help campers be ready for these situations by providing a face covering.

What happens if a camper gets sick at camp?

If a camper feels unwell at camp, caregivers will be called to pick them up. Campers may return to camp after they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and symptoms have improved.

What happens during the camp day?

No two camp days are exactly the same. Camp instructors do their best to follow camper interests while selecting each day’s activities from camp curricula, so there is always variety. However, there are some things campers can count on.

  • Morning and afternoon free play.
  • Chats with zoo experts one or two times per week when campers can ask their most pressing animal care questions. These chats may include special activities and behind-the-scenes experiences.
  • Outside time, as much as weather permits.
  • Activities that help campers build knowledge, empathy, and curiosity about animals. These might be movement-based, art-focused, or imaginative.
  • Visits to many of the zoo’s animal residents; however, animal care is left to our professional zookeepers.
  • Friday Specials: special themed activities that take place at the end of each week.
Will my camper get to touch or feed animals?

Your camper will see many zoo animals throughout their camp week. However, we leave care of the animals up to professional zookeepers. Campers will not have the opportunity to touch or feed the animals.

Can my camper be in the same group as a friend?

Caregivers have the option to select the specific group their camper will be in. If your camper wants to attend camp with a friend in the same grade band, please coordinate with the legal guardian of your camper’s friend to sign your campers up for the same group.

Once registration is complete, we are unable to move campers into other groups.

If your camper and their friend are not able to be in the same group, there will still be chances for them to spend time together throughout the day, such as at free play.

What if my camper needs accommodations?

At Lincoln Park Zoo, we value the inclusion of campers of all abilities. Some accommodations at camp include social stories, visual schedules, fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones, behavior charts/incentives, countdowns for transitions, and occasional short breaks away from the group. One-on-one aides are not an accommodation we offer.

Campers for whom our inclusion model works well are able to participate in both structured and unstructured activities for most of the day in a group of 14–16 campers with two college-age or older counselors.

If your child needs accommodations or has specific needs, please contact our camp team at or include this information when registering so that we may discuss how to make sure your camper has a great experience. Learn more about inclusion at camp.

Please note: Practice for the Chicago Air and Water Show is expected to take place near the zoo on August 9, with the show on August 10-11. If your camper is sensitive to loud noises, please consider signing up for a different week of camp or providing them with noise-reducing headphones.

More Information


Refunds may be issued for cancellations requested in writing by Monday, May 20, minus a 15% cancellation fee. Please send cancellation requests to

After May 20, camp fees are nonrefundable, except in the instance that Lincoln Park Zoo makes the decision to cancel camp.

Unfortunately, we cannot issue refunds for campers who are sick.

After Care

After Care is available from 3–5 p.m. each day. Caregivers will have the option to purchase After Care for a flat rate of $150 per week via a link sent to their email at a later date. Space for After Care is limited.


A limited number of scholarships are available for Conservation Camp. Applications must be submitted by January 31. If awarded, you must register by February 10. Scholarship recipients will receive instructions on how to register via email.

Apply in English

Aplicar en Español

Gift Cards

Share the love of wildlife by purchasing a gift card for select Lincoln Park Zoo programs! Purchase one for your child’s class or the animal-lover in your life. Gift cards are valid for virtual and in-person camps (prek–8), Zoo Investigations (preK–5), and Zoo Explorers (preK–8).

Gift cards are available for $25, $50, $75, and $100.


Registered participants will receive an email about how to purchase add-on lunches. Lunch must be purchased for the full run of the camp week; meals for individual days are not available. All meals are nut-free and made fresh daily. Please indicate your child’s dietary needs in your registration. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free lunches are available.

A daily snack is included with the purchase of lunch. All those who do not purchase lunch are responsible for providing their camper with nut-free, nonrefrigerated meals and snacks.

Fee: $60 per week


Monday: Macaroni and cheese

Tuesday: Six-piece chicken nuggets
Wednesday: Grilled cheese sandwich
Thursday: Hamburger
Friday: Cheese pizza


All meals will come with baby carrots or fresh fruit, animal crackers or baked chips, a Jell-O cup or applesauce, and fruit juice.

Menu items are subject to change based on availability.


Camp Themes

Theme A: Week 1 (June 10–14) and Week 6 (July 22–26)

Rising PreK: “Sense”-ational Animals

Did you know a polar bear can smell its prey from a distance of 20 miles? Or that bats find their dinner using their super hearing sense? Campers will spend the week learning all about animals with incredible senses that help them survive.

Rising grades K–1: Critter Caretakers

Young animals need all kinds of care, from food and shelter to protection from predators and space to play. Campers will discover how animal families care for their young in the wild and learn how Lincoln Park Zoo cares for the animals that live here.

Rising grades 2–3: Keeping Up With the Zoo

Campers will learn what it means to be a zookeeper, including how to create the best diet for each animal, why animals need to do different activities each day, and how to help animals when they get sick. They’ll also watch an animal training session led by a real zookeeper. Please note, for safety reasons, campers will not have direct access to zoo animals.

Rising grades 4–5: Team Zoo

What does it take to run a zoo? Campers will spend the week investigating this question as they explore zoo grounds. They’ll practice the skills needed to be a zookeeper, research animal behavior just like a zoo scientist, and meet staff involved in the zoo’s important conservation and education work. Please note, for safety reasons, campers will not have direct access to zoo animals or their habitats.

Theme B: Week 2 (June 17–21) and Week 7 (July 29–August 2)

Rising PreK: Jungle Journeys

More types of plants and animals live in the rainforest than any other habitat in the world. Campers will investigate this unique environment layer by layer as they learn what lives on the forest floor, in the understory, and up in the canopy.

Rising grades K–1: Lifestyles of the Small and Charming

What makes a bird a bird? How is a seal different from a snake? Campers will discover the answers to these and many other questions as they learn what makes different types of animals unique. They will spend time exploring the zoo grounds and playing active games designed to help them compare their own bodies to those of the animals they see.

Rising grades 2–3: Animals Classified

Campers will channel their inner scientist as they explore the fascinating diversity of animal families. From schools of fish to flocks of birds to troops of gorillas, campers will get to know more about wildlife by investigating all these remarkable animal relationships. They’ll also go on an expedition to the zoo’s Nature Boardwalk and discover some of the wild animals that call Chicago home.

Rising grades 4–5: Herbivores and Carnivores and Scavengers! Oh my!

You are what you eat, and this week campers will explore every level of nature’s food web. They’ll discover how all living things, from producers to scavengers, work together to keep an ecosystem healthy. Campers will also find out about Lincoln Park Zoo’s scientific research in wildlife conservation and identify ways they can participate in this important effort.

Theme C: Week 3 (June 24–28) and Week 8 (August 5–9)

Rising PreK: Zoo Clues

Something sneaky is going on, and it’s up to you to figure out what! Campers will spend the week gathering clues to help them solve different mysteries about mammals, birds, bugs, and fish.

Rising grades K–1: Secret Zoo-perheroes

Mysteries abound during this week of camp for the curious. Campers will gather evidence to solve five different puzzles related to the zoo’s animals. Can they find the answer to the Fish Fiasco? Will they solve the Bird Brain Teaser? Can they uncover the culprit in the Herp Whodunit? Only time will tell.

Rising grades 2–3: Curious Creature Mysteries

Campers will put their heads together to solve a new animal mystery each day. They will have to use their sleuthing skills to find clues and figure out the strange happenings taking place at the zoo. Each day will focus on a different type of animal, such as birds, insects, and mammals.

Rising grades 4–5: Zoo Scene Investigation (ZSI)

Animal Investigators unite! During this intriguing week, campers will use their powers of deductive reasoning and awesome observation skills to unearth some of nature’s mysteries. They’ll hunt for evidence across the zoo, practice their tracking skills, uncover the scoop on poop, and use real scientific data to solve a mystery.

Theme D: Week 4 (July 8–12) and Week 9 (August 12–16)

Rising PreK: Passport to Fun

We’re going on an adventure! Campers will use imaginative play to travel the world, discovering different habitats and the animals that live there. On their expedition, they’ll see animals from all over the globe, including seals, zebras, takins, and pygmy hippos.

Rising grades K–1: Roaming With the Wild Things

Campers will explore the powerful traits that help animals survive and thrive in a diverse array of habitats, from snowy tundras to dry deserts. Each day campers will discover different animals and their amazing adaptations. Through zoo exploration, imaginative play, and creative art projects, campers will learn how to roam with the wild things.

Rising grades 2–3: United States of Animals

Ever wondered what animals live right in your backyard? How about on the Atlantic coast or high in the Rocky Mountains? Take a trip across the states to discover the vast array of habitats and the animals who live right alongside us.

Rising grades 4–5: The Great Predator Safari

What does a lion have in common with a bald eagle? Does a polar bear share any traits with a crocodile? Campers will find out on a journey across continents as they uncover the fearsome features of predators.

Theme E Week 5 (July 15–19)

Rising PreK: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Animal bodies can do some pretty amazing things. From those that protect themselves with built-in armor to those that can dive to deep ocean depths, there are some amazing adaptations in the animal world to explore.

Rising grades K–1: Animals on the Move

Throughout this exciting week, campers will visit different habitats and investigate the ways animals at the zoo move about. They will practice making observations and imagine what it would be like to slither like a snake, climb like a monkey, and run like a zebra!

Rising grades 2–3: Creature Features

What is a kangaroo’s tail used for? How does a poison dart frog get its poison? Campers will play games and make observations around the zoo to discover how these weird and wonderful adaptations help animals survive in the wild.

Rising grades 4–5: World-Class Animals

We’re keeping it classy with a week’s worth of animal classification! Zoologists group animals into classes like mammals, reptiles, and birds to help study and care for them. Campers will explore how these animals live, ways they interact, and important efforts Lincoln Park Zoo is making to conserve them in the wild.


Please contact us at or 312-742-2056.

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