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Standard day camps, for ages 6 to 12 years old, run six weeks, from June 25-August 3.
Standard day camps, for ages 6 to 12 years old, run six weeks, from June 25-August 3.
Photo: Chicago Park District

Regular programs run the week of June 18 through the week of August 20, standard day camps run for six weeks from June 25 through August 3

Chicago Park District’s online registration for its popular summer day camp and park programs opens April 23 at 9 a.m. This year, the summer day camp curriculum will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics and the Chicago Park District's commitment to provide recreational opportunities for every individual throughout Chicago regardless of their abilities. The Chicago Park District’s new camp theme Unified: We Choose to Include will enhance the summer day camp experience by engaging campers in inclusive activities and education programs as well as weekly physical fitness routines that encourage campers to interact with one another. 

“Building on our theme, the Chicago Park District helps strengthen connections within the parks and with the community through improved all-inclusive programming, access, and engagement,” said Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO. “The Chicago Park District offers a menu of camps at parks throughout the city and ensures that we are able to accommodate everyone who wishes to participate in all our programs, from recreation to cultural.”

The Chicago Park District experienced record numbers in 2017 for program registration.  Compared to 2012, park program enrollments increased by 49%. The Park District has also surpassed 100,000 registrations eight times. Last summer, the Park District recorded a 31% increase in enrollments in summer programs, and summer camp sold out for the first time with over 49,000 enrollments. 
This year, the Park District is partnering with the Jordan James Boys & Girls Club & Family Center, located at 2102 W. Monroe St., to meet a growing demand for recreation and leisure opportunities in the Near West community. The Center will host a six-week summer camp program offered by the Touhy-Herbert Park staff and expand summer camp opportunities to children in this neighborhood.  Walk-in registration for the program will be held at Skinner Park on Monday, April 28 at 9 a.m. 

Day camp will provide participants with the opportunity to participate in energetic team building and cooperative games, visual arts and writing activities, outdoor and environmental education, performing arts and imaginative play, and active games and fitness activities.

Online registration for parks located west of California Ave. is open. Parks located east of California Ave. kick off their online registration on Tuesday, April 24, at 9 a.m.

In-person registration for summer programs will begin either Saturday, April 28 or Monday, April 30, depending upon the park.

Standard day camps, for ages 6 to 12 years old, run six weeks, from June 25-August 3, typically from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. or 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Play Camp offers options for children ages 3 to 5 years old, and Teen Camp for participants ages 13 to 15 year olds. Numerous specialty camps are also available, including Sports Camps. Late Summer Camps offer extended opportunities to engage in park activities from August 6 to 10 or 17; date varies by park. Early bird and extended options offer convenient hours to cover the full day (eight to ten hours, varies by park). Eight-week camps are available at Rutherford Sayre Park, Indian Boundary Park, Avondale Park, Paschen Park, Haas Park and Gill Park.

Gymnastics centers, one of the Park District’s most popular programs, will open online registration for the summer season on Tuesday, April 24, at 12 p.m. The summer gymnastics season runs from Monday, June 18 through the week of August 20. Summer program registration for McFetridge Sports Center & Morgan Park Sports Center opens Tuesday, May 29. 

Fees vary depending on location, offerings and hours.  No child will be turned away for inability to pay.

Given the popularity of programs, patrons are encouraged to browse through the list of programs for 2018 and create wish lists in advance here

Financial Assistance

The Chicago Park District has limited funds available to provide financial assistance for families who wish to enroll in the 2018 summer day camp program. Financial assistance and family discounts are available.  Financial assistance is only available to City of Chicago residents. Eligibility for financial assistance does not guarantee a slot for day camp and cannot be used in conjunction with any other reduced/voucher programs. Applicants that do not qualify for financial assistance may inquire about the payment plan option at their local park. 

For more information on how to solicit the scholarship, please visit the day camp page

The Chicago Park District aims to provide summer camp financial assistance to thousands of children each year, requiring more than $2 million.  Tax-deductible gifts of any size may be made to the Summer Day Camp Assistance Fund to help support children and families across the city through this financial assistance program here

Family Discount

When patrons register for two or more programs for family members less than 18 years of age in one transaction, the order qualifies for a 10% discount on the less expensive program(s).
Discount is available for online and in-person orders, but cannot be combined with the CHA or DCFS discount programs.  All family members should be entered into one account on the Chicago Park District’s registration system.

Summer Food Service Program

In accordance with the Illinois State Board of Education’s Summer Food Service Program and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) federal regulations, the Chicago Park District will participate in the Summer Food Service Program in conjunction with summer day camp.  Lunches and/or snacks will be provided for enrolled children at most camps. 

Meals are made available to all eligible participants without regard to race color, national origin, disability, sex or age.  Any person who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in any USDA-related activity should write immediately to: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202/720-5964 (voice and TTD).

For more information, contact your local park, visit or call 312-742-PLAY.