Winter Break Camp

Winter Break Camp

January 2–5, 2024
9 a.m.–3 p.m. each day
$400, $340 for members
PreK–Grade 5


Winter Break Camp offers exciting, in-person exploration opportunities for animal and nature lovers in grades PreK–5. Each Winter Break Camp group will explore the zoo and participate in activities to learn about animals, the environment, and the ways in which Lincoln Park Zoo cares for different species at the zoo and conserves them in the wild.

To attend, campers must be at least 4 years old on their first day of camp. Registration includes a camp T-shirt.

Camp Theme: Animals in Motion

This Winter Break, campers will explore how animals move through the world. Whether they’re swimming through the ocean, swinging through the forest canopy, or flying across long distances, the ways animals move help tell the stories of the amazing creatures around the planet.

All campers will participate in age-appropriate games and activities about the same theme.

More Information


Lincoln Park Zoo’s standard refund and cancellation policy will be in effect. Refunds may be issued on cancellations requested in writing by December 18, minus a 15% processing fee. Please send cancellation requests to

After December 18, 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, and registered participants will receive an email about how to purchase After Care. Caregivers may add After Care for a flat rate of $100 for all of Winter Break Camp. Unfortunately, we are not able to sell single days of After Care. Space is limited.


Camp Scholarships

A limited number of scholarships are available for Winter Break Camp.

Application deadline: December 1

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 Winter Break Camp; 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.

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, non-refrigerated meals and snacks.

Fee: $50 for all of Winter Break Camp



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.


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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 from 3–3:15 p.m., unless campers are 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.

What gear does my camper need for camp?
  • Each camper will receive a blue Conservation Camp T-shirt with registration. Campers should wear their blue camp T-shirt every day they attend camp.
  • Many camp activities will take place outside, weather permitting. All campers should dress to be outdoors.
  • Campers may be required to wear a face covering indoors for certain activities, so please be sure to send a mask with them.
  • All campers should bring their own refillable water bottle.
  • Unless you have purchased lunch, all campers should bring a non-refrigerated, nut-free lunch and snack.
  • Registrants will receive an email about how to purchase lunch, After Care, and additional camp T-shirts at a later date.
What are your policies regarding health and safety?
  • Lincoln Park Zoo encourages all campers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo will follow city and state guidelines regarding face coverings and other health procedures. For certain situations, campers may be required to wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status, so please be sure to send a mask with them.
  • All campers must be able to independently use the bathroom, including wiping.
  • Camp staff are 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 are sick may return to camp if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing 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 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. These are times when campers can ask their most pressing animal care questions.
    • Outside time, as much as weather permits.
    • Activities that help campers build knowledge, empathy, resiliency, 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.
  • 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?
    • 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 zoo’s animal residents throughout their time in camp. However, we leave care of the animals up to our professional zookeepers. Campers will not have the opportunity to touch or feed the animals.

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. Campers must be able to independently use a public bathroom, including wiping, in order to attend camp. Campers who require the use of single stall, accessible, or all-gender bathrooms, such as trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming campers and campers who utilize mobility devices, may do so.

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.


For more information about Winter Break Camp or any other Lincoln Park Zoo camps, email

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