Zoo Adventure Passport & King Conservation Science Explorers 

KCLA-Logo.JPGThe Chicago Zoological Society offers free, inclusive, community-based programming for all ages through our King Conservation Leadership Academy Community Engagement team. The programs of Zoo Adventure Passport! (ZAP!) and King Conservation Science Explorers (King Explorers) both welcome individuals and families to participate in nature-based learning that cultivates science skills and conservation awareness as they connect to the environment, our communities, and each other.

Generally, these programs take place on weekdays after school hours during the school year and at various times during the summer. Weekend activities are also occasionally offered throughout the year.

Both ZAP! and King Explorers offer programming in-person and virtually. Registration is highly recommended and preferred, but not required, for all programs.

Participants from throughout the Chicagoland area are welcome to attend our in-person learning opportunities currently offered in and around the Chicago neighborhoods of Back of the Yards, Canaryville, Englewood, Fuller Park, Pilsen, Chinatown, Near South Side, Douglas, West Belmont, Cragin, and the suburbs of Cicero, Maywood, and Melrose Park. Some virtual programming requires prior participation in in-person learning opportunities, but some virtual programming will not be dependent on previous in-person learning experiences.

Click here to view our October calendar of events. 

Click here to view our November calendar of events. 

Click here to join our virtual programming



Family-based Learning Opportunities
for all ages (children and adults)

Zoo Adventure Passport (ZAP!) is a multi-generational program intended for the entire family to learn together, gain appreciation for the urban ecosystem, and connect with other conservation-minded individuals from their own neighborhoods and surrounding communities.

ZAP! families have experiential learning opportunities that may include:

• Awareness, identification, and care for wildlife in and around their neighborhood;
• Learning about the animals of Brookfield Zoo and their natural habitats;
• Gardening, harvesting, and composting basics;
• Introductions to individuals doing conservation work (locally, nationally, and/or globally);
• Organized trips to parks, preserves, and cultural institutions dedicated to conservation around the Chicagoland area.

In addition to these opportunities, our staff designs ZAP! programs to gradually foster:

• Independence and leadership skills among individuals ages 11 and up;
• Guided inquiry and communication skills among children ages 8 and up;
• Foundations of observational and reasoning skills in younger children, with parent or caregiver support.

ZAP! families are invited to participate in our annual Conservation Action Days held annually in partnership with the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

ZAP! families, with children finishing Grade 5 and/or older than age 11, are encouraged to have eligible children join the King Conservation Science Explorers.


Click here to view our Fall 2022 Programming

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Guided Learning Opportunities
for Middle School Children (grades 6-8)

King Conservation Science Explorers (King Explorers) is designed to be a safe and inclusive community of young people who see themselves as scientists and change-makers for our local and global community. Individuals are encouraged to explore their unique S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) interests with the Chicago Zoological Society’s encouraging staff. Each year-long program centers on an important environmental theme that supports the growth, learning, and development about conservation science knowledge and skills as well as personal responsibility.

King Explorers have experiential learning opportunities the may include:

• Investigate local Chicago ecosystem by participating in community science projects;
• Explore outdoor spaces through field trips around the Chicagoland area;
• Learn about and interact with Brookfield Zoo animals and their care specialists;
• Connect with local, national, and/or global conservation projects;
• Nurture a sense of identity as a young conservationist and explore future opportunities in related S.T.E.A.M. fields

In addition to these opportunities, our staff designs King Explorers programs to gradually foster:

• Collaborative goal setting to make a plan that highlights personal skills and community supports;
• Effective communication skills to establish positive relationships and share perspectives;
• Participation in efforts to address the need for conservation awareness, education, and action.

With the support of Chicago Zoological Society staff, King Explorers help organize a culminating community-based event in their respective neighborhoods. Consisting of family-friendly activities centered on the annual theme of the program, King Conservation Science Explorers are able to showcase their knowledge, talents, and blossoming leadership skills.

King Explorers are encouraged to also participate in Zoo Adventure Passport programming. Volunteering time to assist CZS staff in these programs can be documented for community service hours.

King Explorers are also encouraged to join the King Conservation Science Scholars as high schoolers.

Click here to view our Fall 2022 Programming

Sign Up Now


Questions? Contact us at outreach@czs.org


All programming presented by the King Conservation Leadership Academy Community Engagement team of the Chicago Zoological Society aims to provide learning opportunities that support lifelong S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) education. This is done by supporting individuals in:

• Developing interest in environmental science and conservation;
• Understanding environmental science and conservation knowledge;
• Engaging in scientific reasoning related to environmental science and conservation;
• Reflecting on their own process of learning about environmental science and conservation;
• Engaging in scientific practices used in environmental science and conservation; and
• Identifying as a member of the global pro-environmental community by contributing to environmental science and conservation action in our programs and in their everyday lives.

The Community Engagement programs, which may also be referred to as the Early Learner programs, of the King Conservation Leadership Academy are made possible, in part, by support from the King Family Foundation, Bank of America, BNSF Railway Foundation, FedEx Corporation, the Julius N. Frankel Foundation, the Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky Foundation Inc., the Edmond and Alice Opler Foundation, Peoples Gas Community Fund, the Schmidgall Family Foundation, the Dr. Scholl Foundation, Wintrust Financial Corporation, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services Grant MA-10-18-0018.