Lincoln Park Zoo is humbled by the outpouring of support and unprecedented interest in Summer Camp. As such, a very small number of registrations and waitlist spots remain available. Scholarships are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Registration for remaining spots opens March 2 at noon. If you do not see the link at noon, please refresh your browser. With these record-breaking registrations, we will reevaluate the registration process for next summer to ensure it remains transparent, equitable, and accessible. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Campers may register for up to two different themed sessions of Zoo Crew. All campers must be registered by their legal guardian. 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.
Camp will not take place on July 4, and camp fees will be prorated for that session.
Practice for the Chicago Air and Water Show is expected to take place near the zoo from August 18–20. If your camper is sensitive to loud noises, please consider signing up for a different session of camp or providing them with noise-reducing headphones.
Aftercare is available from 3–5 p.m. each day. Caregivers may add Aftercare to their registration for a flat rate of $125 per week. Space for Aftercare is limited.
A limited number of scholarships are available for Zoo Crew. They will be awarded on a rolling basis though April 22 or until all spaces are filled.
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).
Safari-level members receive priority registration for camp. To join the zoo as a Safari-level member, click below or call 312-742-2321.
Refunds may be issued on cancellations if requested in writing by Monday, May 23, minus a 12.5 percent processing fee. Please send cancellation requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After May 23, 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.
Add-on lunches are available for purchase 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, non-refrigerated lunches and snacks.
Fee: $50 per week
Monday: Turkey sandwich (Vegetarian option: Grilled Cheese)
Tuesday: 6-piece chicken nuggets (Vegetarian/Gluten Free option: Cheese Pizza)
Wednesday: Cheeseburger (Vegetarian option: Veggie burger*)
Thursday: Grilled Cheese
Friday: Cheese Pizza
*Veggie burger contains gluten.
All meals will come with fruit, animal crackers, a Jell-O cup, and fruit juice.
Gluten-free bread is available and will be used on menu items when prearranged during registration. Menu items are subject to change based on availability.
Themes & Dates
Theme A: June 20–July 1, July 18–29, August 15–26
Grades 5–6: Safari Around the World: Understanding Animals and Ecosystems
Campers will discover how animals interact and thrive in an ever-changing environment. Through immersive learning experiences, campers will explore concepts such as predator-prey dynamics, carrying capacity and biodiversity. Zoo scientists, educators, and keepers offer their knowledge to help campers design an activity that promotes conservation awareness.
Grades 7–8: Road Trip USA: Conservation Around the States
Only available June 20–July 1, July 18–29
Campers will venture through the diverse and wonderful ecosystems of the U.S. They’ll explore different conservation programs designed to have positive impacts on wildlife across the country and learn about how they can help conserve species here at home. They’ll get a look at zoos’ efforts to conserve red wolves on the East Coast, reptiles in the Midwest, black-footed ferrets in the Great Plains, and songbirds and butterflies that migrate from north to south.
Theme B: July 5-15, August 1-12
Grades 5-6: More than ZooKeeping: Behind the Scenes at the Zoo
It takes a village to run a zoo! From animal science researchers and horticulturalists to educators and exhibit designers, everyone has a part to play. Campers will spend this session exploring the inner workings of the zoo and learning all about the various jobs needed to keep Lincoln Park Zoo running strong and fulfilling its conservation and education mission. Please note, for safety reasons, campers will not have direct access to zoo animals or their habitats.
Grades 7-8: More than Animals: How Zoos Make Global Change
Only available July 5–15
Campers will think big in this session focused on conservation work in Chicago and beyond. They will investigate the zoo’s efforts to maintain healthy animal populations at the zoo and in the wild. While focusing on team-building and immersive learning, they’ll discover the ways humans and wildlife interact around the globe and the importance of creating spaces for communities and animals to thrive together.
What are the procedures for check-in and check-out?
Check-in will take place each morning from 8:45–9 a.m. Check-out will take place from 3–3:15 p.m., unless the camper is registered for Aftercare or it is the night of the Zoo Crew sleepover. Caregivers will drop off and pick up campers in the designated area outside the Judy Keller Education Center on Cannon Drive. Check-out on the last day of the session takes place at 9:15 a.m.
My camper can’t attend both weeks of the Zoo Crew session. Can they still come?
Campers must be available for both weeks of the session. Zoo Crew is designed to be a two-week experience. Each day builds on the previous one, with campers working together as a team. Please only register if your camper can participate fully.
What gear does my camper need for camp?
- Each camper will receive two Zoo Crew T-shirts and a backpack with their registration. Campers should wear their T-shirt and bring their backpack every day they attend camp.
- Caregivers will have the option to purchase additional shirts during registration.
- All campers should dress to be outdoors and bring their own refillable water bottle and sunscreen. Families will provide their own gear (e.g., sleeping bag and pillow) for sleepovers.
- Gear pick-up events will take place shortly before the start of camp. Details will be 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 for 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 email@example.com 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, as well as a negative COVID-19 test at the start of each week in which your camper participates.
- All campers and staff in groups with campers who are not vaccinated (due to age or medical exemption) will be required to wear face coverings except when they are eating or drinking.
- Lincoln Park Zoo staff members are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Lincoln Park Zoo will follow city and state guidelines regarding face coverings and other health procedures. At times, campers may be required to wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status.
- Camp staff 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 doesn’t feel well at camp, caregivers will be called to pick them up. 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 three times per week.
- Outside time, as much as weather permits.
- Activities that help campers build knowledge, empathy, and curiosity about animals and conservation.
- Visits to many of the zoo’s animal residents; however, animal care is left to our professional zookeepers.
- Field trips on Thursdays.
- One sleepover each Zoo Crew session.
- 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 see or learn anything today that surprised them?
- Have they learned anything new from one of their peers?
- What did they do to be helpful today?
- What conservation issue are they exploring for their end-of-session project?
Will my camper get to touch or feed animals?
Your camper will see many of the zoo’s animal residents throughout their camp week. However, we leave care of the animals up to our professional zookeepers.
Are you taking friend requests this year?
There is only one Zoo Crew group for each grade band (rising grades 5–6 and 7–8) per session. If your camper and their friend are registered for the same session and are in the same grade band, they will be in the same group by default.
What if my camper needs accommodations?
Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. If your child needs accommodations or has specific needs, please contact our camp team at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 from August 18–20. 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.