Camp children walk across the snow-covered zoo Camp children walk across the snow-covered zoo

Winter Break Camp

Calendar Icon Monday-Thursday
December 20-23
Clock Icon 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Clock Icon $70/day
$60/day for members
Age Icon Grades PreK–Grade 4


Winter Break Camp offers in-person, exciting exploration opportunities for animal and nature lovers in grades PreK-4. Each Winter Break Camp group will explore the zoo and participate in activities to learn about animal diversity, environmental conservation, and ways Lincoln Park Zoo cares for animals at the zoo and conserves them in the wild.

To attend, campers must be 4 years old on their first day of camp. Each camp day is independent, so campers can choose which days to attend. Registration includes a camp T-shirt.

Click here to register

More Info


Lincoln Park Zoo’s standard refund and cancellation policy will be in effect. Refunds may be issued on cancellations requested in writing by December 8, less a 12.5% processing fee. Please send cancellation requests to

After December 8, 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.

After Care

Unfortunately, Lincoln Park Zoo is unable to offer after-care for Winter Break Camp in 2021.

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).

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


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.

View Nutrition Information


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

Application deadline: December 1

Click here to complete scholarship application in English

Haga clic aqui para completar la solicitud de Becas en Español

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, caregivers should park in the designated parking spaces on Cannon Drive and proceed to the camp table outside the Judy Keller Education Center. At pick up, caregivers must show ID in order to pick up their camper. Camp staff will escort campers in and out of the building, and caregivers are not allowed inside.
  • Zoo staff will use a no-touch forehead thermometer to check each camper’s temperature every 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.

After Care

  • Unfortunately, Lincoln Park Zoo is unable to offer after care for Winter Break 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, one group 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.
  • Many Winter Break Camp activities will take place outdoors if weather allows, so please dress appropriately.

Camp Gear

  • Camp registration fees will include one camp T-shirt that campers will receive on their first day of camp. They should wear it every day they attend. 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.
  • Because we will be spending time outside, campers should dress for the weather.

Face Coverings

  • 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

  • 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.
    • 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.

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.

Sharing Supplies

  • 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.

Themes & Dates

Campers are divided by age group (preK–K, grades 1–2, grades 3–4). Camp groups will explore the same themes each day but will participate in different hands-on activities appropriate to their age.

Cool Climbers: December 20

Imagine if you could spend nearly all of your life high above the ground. Discover how most primates are adapted for climbing or swinging through treetops, and explore how hooved animals like takins thrive high in the mountains.

Rapid Runners: December 21

For many African savannah animals—like cheetahs, gazelles and zebras—running fast has become an evolutionary race for survival, with prey and predator species constantly working to outrun the other. Explore the science of animal speed and see how you match up to some of the fastest animals on the planet.

Beneath the Surface: December 22

River otters splash and play underwater, naked mole rats create entire colonies underground, and fish explore a whole different world under the sea. Discover how animals are adapted for mysterious and complex lives beneath the surface.

Frequent Flyers: December 23

While humans have been flying planes for only a century, birds, bats, and insects have been perfecting the art of flying for millennia. Investigate the adaptations and mechanics of flight in our furry and feathery friends.