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Programs and Classes



Critter Club                                                   (5-8Y)

Does your child love watching nature documentaries?  Does he/she love visiting zoos, hiking, and learning about wild animals? Each week the Critter Club focuses on a different nature topic.  We’ll hike on the Middlefork Trail and have classroom activities that include interaction with members of our world-class collection of animals.  Please equip your child with appropriate attire for both indoor and outdoor sessions.  We suggest your child bring along a small snack and a water bottle.

Location:  Wildlife Discovery CenterInstructor: Wildlife Discovery Center Staff

Session 1      Mondays      3:00-4:15pm      January 15- February 19

Session 2      Mondays      3:00-4:15pm      March 3- April 16, No class March 26.

To register, click here.

Little Naturalists

Your budding naturalist will explore his/her world with hands-on, nature-themed experiences, real-life animal encounters, participation in group activities and nature walks each month.  Please provide your child with appropriate attire for both indoor and outdoor activities.  All children in attendance must be registered and accompanied by an adult guardian.

Location:  Wildlife Discovery Center
Instructor:  Wildlife Discovery Center Staff

Session 1     Friday         9:30am-10:30am    January 19

Session 2     Friday         9:30am-10:30am    February 16

Session 3     Friday         9:30am-10:30am    March 16

Session 4     Friday         9:30am-10:30am    April 20

To register, click here.


Saturday Zookeeper

Since 1997, this program has been very popular among children with a great affinity for nature.  Your aspiring young zookeeper will begin to learn the complexities of caring for animals in captivity and have opportunities to put those new skills to use.  Proper handling techniques, diet planning and feeding methods, exhibit design and other important elements of captive animal management and biology will be covered.  Each session will include a field trip to an off-site location for additional learning opportunities.  Older students will develop leadership skills as they mentor the younger participants.  Space is limited to allow for maximum interaction with the participants.  Classes are currently split by age groups.  If you have requests/special circumstances, please contact our Program Coordinator by clicking here.

Location:  Wildlife Discovery Center
Instructor:  Wildlife Discovery Center Staff


Session 1     Saturdays    9:00-10:30am  January 13-Febraury 17

Session 2    Saturdays    9:00-10:30am  March 3- April 21

To register, click here.


 Adult VIP Behind-The-Scenes Experience

Looking to get together with some friends and do something really unique? The Wildlife Discovery Center offers small groups (up to 8 people) the opportunity for a special VIP, behind-the-scenes tour of the WDC and interact with our animals, observe and participate in feeding demonstrations, and take a short hike outside to see the Middlefork Savanna. Your group will be up close and personal with our birds of prey, bobcat, and a variety of amazing reptiles including snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises, alligators and crocodiles. You may even get to see a special feeding demo in our exhibit halls that will surely leave you speechless! (upon request) This can be a stand-alone program (1.5 hours), or, for larger groups/ functions, you can request this with private rentals at Elawa Farm (weddings, receptions, corporate events, private gatherings). This will be very popular with your guests! For groups like this we will have two to three staff on hand to provide interactive tours during cocktails and makes a great pre-event activity. All proceeds from this program goes right back into  the costs of taking care of our animals.

For prices and setting up a program, contact our Program Coordinator by clicking here.

Sit Back And Let Your Child Have The Best Wildlife Experience Ever for his/her birthday!

We can provide an entertaining, interactive and educational experience at the WDC for a birthday or other celebration!
90-minute party includes:
• Staff setup of room, tables and chairs
• 30-45 minutes wildlife program (featuring live animals)
• Coloring sheets provided upon request
• Room for the party with tables and chairs
Refreshments and decorations are the responsibility of the host.

• Private party hours are Saturday or Sunday, between 10:30am to 3pm

BASE Fee: Up to 30 people | Resident Fee - $395  Non-Resident Fee - $474
  Up to 50 people | Resident Fee - $475  Non-Resident Fee - $570

For date/form requests, contact our Program Coordinator by clicking here.


For Wildlife Discovery Center summer camps, please refer to the camp section of the City of Lake Forest Website.  

Family Fun Camp-Out
(All ages)

Bring the family down to Forest Park Beach for a night of camping. Pitch your tent and get ready for an evening of family fun! The Wildlife Discovery Center will entertain you with a reptile show, while local astronomers will teach participants how to use (provided) telescopes to observe the heavens. Try your hand at metal detecting, watch a movie in the pavilion, or just enjoy the campfire. A catered dinner on Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning will be provided. This is the ONLY night of the year camping is allowed on LF Beach so don’t miss out on this unique family bonding experience!
Price is for a group of up to 5 participants. Each additional participant in the group is $35.

Location: Forest Park Beach - Pavilion North
Instructor: Wildlife Discovery Center Staff

30390101-01 Sat Sept 30 5-11:59 pm- Sun Oct 1 12:00-8:00 am  R:  $327 NR: $393

To register, click here.  Search by class number.


220 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2600
Non-Emergency Police:  (847) 234-2601

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