Summer Conservation Camp

Summer Conservation Camp

Check back in January for Summer 2024 information
9 a.m.-3 p.m. each day
$425 per non-member camper per week, $360 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.



During Conservation Camp, campers will adventure through the amazing world of animals. Each week campers will explore one of five 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 other creatures and for one another.

2023 Registration

Registration Opening Dates:

The member pre-sale for Conservation Camp is sold out. Additional spaces will be released and waitlists will be activated when general registration opens on March 2 at 10 a.m

Household Members, Individual Members and general public registration opens Thursday, March 2 at 10 a.m. via the Zoo Camps web page. Click “Learn More” under the Conservation Camp or Zoo Crew headings to find the registration link beginning 10 a.m. on March 2.

Campers may register for up to five different-themed weeks of Conservation Camp. All campers must be registered by their legal guardian and be at least 4 years old on their first day of camp. In order to provide a safe space not only for our staff and guests, but the animals in our care, Lincoln Park Zoo requires all eligible campers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before attending camp.

Safari-level members and above receive the opportunity to participate in presale registration for camp. To join the zoo as a Safari-level member, visit or call 312-742-2321.

Camp will not take place the week of July 3–7.

Practice for the Chicago Air and Water Show is expected to take place near the zoo from August 16–18. 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.


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 supports 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 members emphasize showing respect for property, others, nature, and yourself, and guide campers to demonstrate that respect. We seek to be a place where all campers feel welcomed and included.


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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 their camper 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 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

What gear does my camper need for camp?
  • Each camper will receive a blue Conservation Camp T-shirt and 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 2022 if they wish.
  • Caregivers will have the option to purchase additional shirts during registration and on the first day of the camp week.
  • All campers should bring:
    • a refillable water bottle
    • sunscreen
    • appropriate clothing for a day outdoors
    • a face covering (may be needed in some indoor spaces)
    • closed-toe shoes with a back—no sandals please!
  • An open house and gear pickup event will take place shortly before the start of camp by reservation. Details will be on your registration receipt and announced via email to registered families. 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?
  • It is Lincoln Park Zoo’s responsibility to provide a safe space not only for our staff and guests, but the animals in our care. Therefore, all eligible campers must be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to participate in camp.
  •  If your child is medically exempt from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact us at to discuss ways your camper can safely participate. You will be required to show documentation of your camper’s medical exemption signed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner, as well as a negative COVID-19 test at the start of each week in which your camper participates.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo staff members are required 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.
  • 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!
What happens if a camper gets sick at camp?

If a camper feels unwell at camp, caregivers will be called to pick up their camper. Campers who have symptoms of infectious illness must be tested for COVID-19. They may return to camp after receiving a negative COVID-19 test if the camper has been fever-free for 24 hours 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 our 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.
  • 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.

Consider asking your camper:

  • What made them smile today?
  • What did they choose to do during free play?
  • What animals did they see? What were the animals doing?
  • Did they play a game? What was the goal of the game?
  • What is their group’s animal name? Do they have a cheer or a song?
  • Did any of the other campers do something silly that made them laugh?
  • What did they do to be helpful today?
Will my camper get to touch or feed animals?

Your camper will see many of the animals at the zoo throughout their camp week. However, we leave care of the animals up to our 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 of a similar age, please coordinate with the legal guardian of the 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?

Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. If you 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.

Please note: practice for the Chicago Air and Water Show is expected to take place near the zoo on August 16–18. 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 on cancellations if requested in writing by Monday, May 22, 2023, minus a 15 percent processing fee. Please send cancellation requests to

After May 22, 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 may add After Care to their registration for a flat rate of $125 per week. Space for After Care is limited.



A limited number of scholarships are available for Conservation Camp. They will be awarded on a rolling basis starting January 16, 2023, until all scholarship spaces are filled.

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.


Add-on lunches may be purchased with registration. All lunches are nut-free and made fresh daily. Vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free diets are available. A daily snack is included with the purchase of lunch. All those who do not purchase a lunch are responsible for providing their camper with nut-free lunches and snacks. Lunches cost $55 per camper per week. Lunch is not available for purchase for individual days.

2023 Menu:
Monday: Mac & cheeseTuesday: Chicken nuggets (Vegetarian option: cheese quesadilla)Wednesday: Grilled cheeseThursday: Hamburger (Vegetarian option: Sun Butter and jelly sandwich)Friday: Cheese pizzaAll meals will come with a fresh fruit or vegetable, animals crackers or baked chips, a Jello-cup or applesauce, and fruit juice.Menu items are subject to change based on availability.

Camp Themes

Theme A: Week 1 (June 12–16) and Week 6 (July 24–28)

PreK: Birds of a Feather Flock Together

What makes a bird a bird? What is the difference between a mammal and a reptile? Campers will discover the answers to these and many more questions in this exciting week all about animal groups.

Grades K–1: Camouflage and Coverings

From the smooth scales of snakes to the warm fur of black bears, animals protect themselves from the elements in many ways. Come explore the different coverings of some of your favorite zoo animals and discover how these coats help them to survive.

Grades 2–3: What’s Size Got to Do With It?

Ever wonder how a mouse gets away from predators? Ants are so small—how strong can they really be? Why are giraffes so tall? Let’s dive into the world of big and small and discover size as a means of survival in the animal kingdom.

Grades 4–5: Under the Skin

Giraffes stand almost 20 feet tall, but did you know they have the same number of neck vertebrae as you do? Learn about other awesome similarities between you and the inhabitants at Lincoln Park Zoo, starting from the inside out!


Theme B: Week 2 (June 19–23) and Week 7 (July 31–August 4)

PreK: A Place Called Home

Whether it’s deep in the soil, up in a tree, down in the water, or inside a cozy cave, all animals need a place to call home. Campers will encounter creatures across the zoo and learn about where they live.

Grades K–1: Storybook Safari

Discover the zoo through the pages of some of your favorite books! Amazing animals have inspired many wonderful stories over the years, so come meet some of the magnificent animals that make the stories come to life! From the fuzzy bat in Stellaluna to the big bear in Bear Wants More, share in their stories while you learn about animals!

Grades 2–3: Habitattitude

Where would you look to find your favorite animal? From the frozen tundra to toasty deserts, birds, bears, bugs and other animals live in every corner of the Earth. Join us as we investigate a variety of animal habitats and the critters that reside in them!

Grades 4–5: Conservation Heroes

How do you become a superhero for planet Earth? Through conservation! Join us as we go on a journey to learn about ways Lincoln Park Zoo is working to keep our planet and animals healthy and how you can help no matter where you are.


Theme C: Week 3 (June 26–30) and Week 8 (August 7–11)

PreK: Colorful Creatures

From pink flamingos and blue frogs to green parrots and white polar bears, the animal world is full of vibrant colors. Campers will explore a rainbow of animals and learn how colors help them in the wild.

Grades K–1: Artistic Animals

Did you know that some animals, such as humpback whales, sing beautiful and complex songs to impress their mates? Bees do a waggle dance to help other bees find food, male peacocks use their brightly colored feathers to attract females, and spiders weave intricate webs to catch their prey. Come learn about these animals and other artists of the natural world.

Grades 2–3: Animal Architects

In the heart of Chicago, it’s impossible not to notice the massive skyscrapers towering above your head. These man-made structures are certainly impressive, but they’re nothing compared to the giant mounds built by termites in Africa or the complex nests social weaver birds construct out of twigs and straw. Join us to learn all about amazing animal structures.

Grades 4–5: Ingenious Animal Engineering

Did you know wolves affect rivers? Or that spider silk is stronger than a Kevlar vest? Dive deep with us as we explore the engineering talents of animals around the world and challenge these amazing feats with our own designs.


Theme D: Week 4 (July 10–14) and Week 9 (August 14–18)

PreK: Whose Hoof Is That?

Campers will explore the different types of tracks animals leave, from footprints and paw prints to slither lines, wing prints, and more. Campers will also learn about different types of animals and the adaptations that help them in the wild.

Grades K–1: All in the Family

Who is a part of your family? How does it compare to how zebras or fish families come together? Explore colonies, herds, packs, prides, blobs, and more as we discover animal relationships.

Grades 2–3: Leaders of the Pack

In the animal world, males are often dominant. But in a group of Japanese macaques, it’s the females who make the rules. Other animal groups are ruled equally by a male and female pair, living as a family and working together to raise their young. Explore the different groups that animals form and find out who the real leaders of the pack are.

Grades 4–5: Caring for Young at the Zoo

Pups, kits, owlets and cygnets are just a few of the “zoo-borns” you can find now and then at Lincoln Park Zoo. Take a journey to learn about our scientists and vet care staff who help these new additions make their way into the zoo world.


Theme E Week 5 (July 17-21)

PreK: Animal Movers and Shakers

How does a tadpole become a frog? How does a caterpillar become a butterfly? Campers will discover how animals move and shake through their life cycles on their way to adulthood.

Grades K–1: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall Animals Do It All

Do all animals hibernate in the winter? If they don’t, how are they spending their time? What happens in the summer for animals that like the cold? Come take a journey through the seasons and learn how animals live their lives through their changing environments.

Grades 2–3: Animals Around the Clock

What’s your bedtime? And when do you feel the widest awake? While some animals snooze all day, some hardly sleep at all! Discover the unique behaviors and sleep habits of some of the most interesting animals, from hibernating bears to nocturnal bats.

Grades 4–5: Migrations Around the World

Where do monarch butterflies fly off to in the fall? Why do some birds migrate at night? Come explore the why, the when, and the how of grand animal movements—and the hiccups that come along with them.


Please contact us at or 312-742-2056.

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