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.
Because of Conservation Camp’s reduced capacity, each camper may only register for one week of camp until April 30. If camp has not filled by April 30, campers will be invited to register for additional weeks until camp is full. All campers must be registered by their legal guardian.
Lincoln Park Zoo’s standard refund and cancellation policy will be in effect for summer 2021. Refunds may be issued on cancellations requested in writing by June 1, less a 12.5% processing fee. Please send cancellation requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After June 1, camp fees are non-refundable, except in the instance that Lincoln Park Zoo makes the decision to cancel camp. Unfortunately, we cannot issue refunds for campers who are sick or who must quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19 outside of camp.
Gift Cards for Zoo Programs
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), Malott Family Penguin Encounters (ages 6 and older), Zoo Investigations (preK–5), and Zoo Explorers (preK–8).
Unfortunately, Lincoln Park Zoo is unable to offer after care for Conservation Camp in 2021.
Add-on pre-made lunches are available for purchase with registration. All lunches are peanut free and made in a nut-free facility. Vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free diets are welcome. All those who do not purchase a lunch are responsible for providing their own camper lunches.
Safari-level members receive priority registration for camp.
2021 Safety Measures and Policies
Drop Off and Pick Up
- For all age levels, drop off will take place each morning from 8:45–9:10 a.m. and pick up will take place from 2:45–3:10 p.m. For both drop off and pick up, we will be using a drive-up system so that caregivers do not need to exit their vehicles. More details about the procedure for drop off and pick up will be sent to caregivers prior to the start of their child’s camp week.
- Zoo staff will use a no-touch forehead thermometer to check each camper’s temperature each morning during camp drop off. Campers with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to enter camp.
- In addition, campers will be asked a series of questions at drop off to check for symptoms of infectious illness before they are allowed to enter camp.
- Unfortunately, Lincoln Park Zoo is unable to offer after care for Conservation Camp in 2021. All campers must be picked up by 3:10 p.m. each day.
Lunch & Snacks
- If you chose not to purchase pre-packaged lunches during the registration process, your camper must bring a non-refrigerated and nut-free lunch.
- Lincoln Park Zoo can’t provide snacks this year. However, your camper can still bring a non-refrigerated, nut-free snack of their own.
- Campers MUST bring their own refillable water bottle.
Group Sizes and Spacing
- Campers will be in groups of no more than 10. Each camp group will be supervised by two adult instructors. There will be one group for preK–K, two groups for grades 1-2, and one group for grades 3-4.
- Camp groups will not mix or share classroom spaces or supplies. Campers will be instructed to keep six feet from other campers and adults, especially when in indoor spaces.
- Conservation Camp activities will take place outdoors as much as possible.
- In order to keep our groups separate and our group sizes at no more than 10, we cannot accommodate switching groups this year.
- Unfortunately, we are unable to accept friend requests this year.
- Each camp group will wear a different colored T-shirt so that campers can easily identify other campers in their group. Campers should wear their group’s shirt every day of camp. We ask that campers not wear T-shirts from previous camp years.
- Camp registration fees will include one camp T-shirt, a backpack, and craft supplies needed for the week. Caregivers will have the option to purchase additional shirts during registration. Please do not send personal backpacks to camp.
- There will be no gear pick-up events this year. Instead, camp staff will have each camper’s gear packed into a backpack that the campers will receive during check-in on Monday morning.
- Please carefully consider your camper’s T-shirt size during registration. Once camp gear is in the camper’s possession, we will not be able to make swaps or change sizes.
- All campers and staff, like other visitors to Lincoln Park Zoo, are required to wear a face covering at all times while on zoo grounds unless they are medically unable and can supply a doctor’s note to that effect. The only exception is when campers and staff are eating and drinking. Learn More
- Caregivers should supply at least two masks per camper per day so that campers may change their masks at mid-day. We recommend that a third mask is also supplied in case a mask accidentally gets soiled.
- If your camper is not used to wearing a mask, please practice with them at home before they come to camp.
Being Healthy and Ready for Camp
- In order to ensure that campers are healthy and able to fully enjoy Conservation Camp, and to protect our camp community, we ask that campers quarantine for at least 10 days prior to attending camp. This means not interacting with anyone outside of their immediate household during that time period.
- We will not be able to issue a refund if your camper cannot come to camp because they have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Caregivers are the zoo’s most important partners in keeping our camp community healthy and safe. If your camper feels unwell, 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) or has been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, PLEASE do not send them to camp!
What Happens If a Camper Gets Sick at Camp?
- Lincoln Park Zoo will follow the CDC guidelines if a camper becomes ill while at camp.
- If campers begin to feel unwell or show symptoms of infectious illness while at camp, they will be taken to an isolation area to rest under the supervision of a staff member. Caregivers will be called to pick up their camper and advised to consult with their family’s healthcare provider to determine if testing for COVID-19 is warranted.
- If the camper has had no known contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and their healthcare provider does not recommend testing for COVID-19, the camper may return to camp once their symptoms improve and they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
- If the camper has had contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and/or they receive a positive COVID-19 test result, the camper should remain at home for at least 14 days. They may return to camp after their symptoms have improved and they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing drugs. Lincoln Park Zoo will notify the caregivers of campers who had close contact with the camper who has COVID-19.
- If the camper has had contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and they receive a negative COVID-19 test result, the camper should remain at home for 14 days after their last contact with the person who has COVID-19.
- Lincoln Park Zoo’s standard refund and cancellation policy will be in effect for summer 2021.
- Refunds may be issued on cancellations requested in writing by June 1, less a 12.5% processing fee. Please send cancellation requests to email@example.com.
- After June 1, camp fees are non-refundable, except in the instance that Lincoln Park Zoo makes the decision to cancel camp.
- Unfortunately, we cannot issue refunds for campers who are sick or who must quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19 outside of camp.
- Our team has made every effort to reduce the number of shared supplies used at camp. Camp activities will largely utilize natural materials gathered from outside spaces.
- Any supplies that are shared will be routinely sanitized according to CDC guidelines.
- Each camper will also receive their own set of craft supplies—such as markers, paper, and glue sticks—in order to fully participate in the week’s activities.
Themes & Dates
Week 1 (June 21-25) and Week 6 (July 26-30)
PreK–K: 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 1–2: What’s Size Got to Do with It?
Ever wonder how a mouse gets away from prey? 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 3–4: 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 wild inhabitants at Lincoln Park Zoo, starting from the inside out!
Week 2 (June 28–July 2) and Week 7 (August 2–6)
PreK–K: 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 1–2: Habitatitude
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 the variety of animal habitats, and the critters themselves, from around the world!
Grades 3–4: Conservation Heroes
How can you become a superhero to the 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 where you live!
Week 3 (July 5–9) and Week 8 (August 9–13)
PreK–K: Artistic Animals
Did you know that some animals, such as the humpback whale, sing beautiful and complex songs to impress a mate? Bees perform a waggle dance to help other bees find food, brightly colored peacock feathers and Himalayan monals attract females, and spiders weave intricate webs to catch their prey. Come learn about these animals and other artists of the natural world.
Grades 1–2: 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 and how they have inspired the human environment.
Grades 3–4: 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 engineering feats with our own designs.
Week 4 (July 12–16) and Week 9 (August 16–20)
PreK–K: All in the Family
Who is a part of your family? How does it compare to a zebra’s or a fish’s family? Come explore colonies, herds, packs, prides, blobs, and more while discovering animal relationships.
Grades 1–2: Leaders of the Pack
In the animal world, males are often dominant. But in Japanese macaque groups, it’s the females who make the rules. Other groups are ruled equally by a male and female pair, living as a family and working together to raise their young. Explore different types of animal groups and discover the real leaders of the pack.
Grades 3–4: Zoo Borns
Pups, kits, owlets, and cygnets are just a few of the “zoo borns” you can find now and then at Lincoln Park Zoo. Learn about the scientists and veterinarians who help these new additions make their way into the world.
Week 5 (July 19–23) and Week 10 (August 23–27)
PreK–K: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall—Animals Do It All
Do all animals hibernate in the winter? For those that don’t, how do they spending their time? How do polar bears deal with the summer temperature in the Arctic? Come take a journey through the seasons and learn how animals live their lives through their changing environments.
Grades 1–2: Animals Around the Clock
What’s your bedtime? And when do you feel the widest awake? While some animals snooze all day, some sleep hardly at all! Discover the unique behaviors and sleep habits of some of the most interesting animals, from hibernating bears to nocturnal bats!
Grades 3–4: Migrations Around the World
Where do the monarchs fly off to in the fall? Why do some birds migrate at night? Come explore the why, the when, the how, and the hiccups that come along with these grand animal movements.