Programs

High School Field Trips

Content Detail

Guided adventures are available during the spring and fall school seasons.

  • Available for pre-K through 12th grade
  • High school guided programs are 1.5 hours
  • Morning programs are scheduled Monday through Friday, 9:45 to 11:15 a.m.
  • Afternoon programs are scheduled Monday through Friday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
  • Program capacities are outlined here.

Visit the Plan Your Field Trip webpage to help you and your classroom prepare.

Leave No Child Inside

1.5 hours

A growing body of research says that unstructured time spent outdoors in nature is critical to children's physical, social, and emotional development. Such outdoor experiences can foster creativity, emotional well-being, independent learning, and problem-solving. The beauty of the Arboretum changes daily, and students will have an opportunity to explore whatever is most interesting on the day of their visit. One of our guides will be on hand to answer questions and guide students to exciting questions and observations, but the focus is on free exploration of nature.

    • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.
    • Program capacities are outlined here.
    • To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.
  • Half day:
    $8 per student
    $15 registration fee
    Full day (paired with another program, see Fees and Policies):
    $12 per student
    $30 registration fee
  • Self-guided adventures are available year-round and can be scheduled Monday through Friday during open hours.
  • Program capacities are outlined here.
  • To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

The Gateway to Tree Science

Self-paced

An interactive, outdoor exhibit highlights the biology and function of trees, the challenges they face, the plight of endangered trees, and the research taking place throughout this half-mile, wood-chipped path.

    • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.
    • Program capacities are outlined here.
      To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.
  • Half day:
    $6 per student
    $15 registration fee
    Full day (paired with another program, see Fees and Policies):
    $12 per student
    $30 registration fee

Joy Path Backpack

Self-paced

Use an interpreted trail, teacher guide, activity backpack, and map to explore woodlands and aquatic ecosystems. Each pack serves 20 students and three chaperones.

    • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.
    • Program capacities are outlined here.
    • To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.
  • Half day:
    $6 per student
    $15 registration fee
    Full day (paired with another program, see Fees and Policies):
    $12 per student
    $30 registration fee

Woodlands, Wetlands, and Prairies

Self-paced

Make discoveries on your own while exploring the Arboretum’s woodlands, wetlands, and prairies (no support materials provided). Below are some suggested itineraries that take up to approximately 90 minutes. These options may include interpretive trail signs.

East Side: Starting at Parking Area P-8 walk the Joined Loops 3 and 4 Trail to Big Rock Visitor Station. Continue on the Woodland Trail to Big Rock. For a longer experience, walk the long way around the Heritage Trail back to the Big Rock Visitor Station.

West Side: Starting at the Prairie Visitor Station Parking Area P-25, walk the Prairie Trail loop to Parking Area P-30. For a longer experience, walk to the nearby Millennium Oak.

    • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.

    • Program capacities are outlined here.

    • To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • Half day:
    $6 per student
    $15 registration fee
    Full day (paired with another program, see Fees and Policies):
    $12 per student
    $30 registration fee

Magnolia Collection

Self-paced

Located on the West Side of the Arboretum, sits a living seed bank of some of the world's oldest plants—magnolias. These trees are beautiful at any time of year. Walk with your students through this new path with interpretation focused on the family history of magnolias, breeding/hybridization, and the unique features of this flowering beauty. The self-guided tour can be utilized in conjunction with other self-guided options.

    • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.
    • Program capacities are outlined here.
      To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.
  • Half day:
    $6 per student
    $15 registration fee
    Full day (paired with another program, see Fees and Policies):
    $12 per student
    $30 registration fee

Tree Identification Backpack

Self-paced

Use a teacher guide, activity backpack, and map to explore plants up-close. Through this map-reading scavenger hunt, students are given the task of locating and identifying different tree species. Students can create a series of sketches of Illinois trees and should bring a notebook or sketchbook and a pen or pencil for this activity. Each pack serves 20 students and three chaperones.

    • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.
    • Program capacities are outlined here.
    • To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.
  • Half day:
    $6 per student
    $15 registration fee
    Full day (paired with another program, see Fees and Policies):
    $12 per student
    $30 registration fee

COVID-19 mitigations:

Please note that this season, due to new safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot book full-day field trips, host schools for a lunch location, or offer lab programs with guided field trips. Please read the Program Adjustments in order to see how the Arboretum is keeping students safe during field trips.

Half-day trip fees:

  • One guided adventure (1.5 hours): $8 per student, $15 registration fee
  • Self-guided adventure: $6 per student, $15 registration fee

Full-day field trip fees (not available in spring 2021):

  • One guided adventure (3.0 hours): $12 per student, $30 registration fee 
  • Two guided adventures (3.0 hours): $12 per student, $30 registration fee 
  • One guided adventure (1.5 hours) + self-guided adventure: $12 per student, $30 registration fee 
  • One self-guided adventure: $6 per student, $15 registration fee

Registration details:

  • Registration must be completed three weeks prior to field trip date.
  • Dates are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, so early registration is strongly encouraged.
  • Adult chaperones are required (three adults/teachers for every 20 students).
  • There is a minimum of 15 students for guided and self-guided field trips.
  • Payment is due three weeks before the date of the field trip. Call the registrar to process payment at 630-719-2468, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Fees include admission to the Arboretum for:

  • All registered and attending students
  • All registered and attending adult chaperones (two adults/teachers for every 10 students)
  • State required aides

Aligned Activities and More

To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

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