Programs

Pre-K to Kindergarten Field Trips

Content Detail

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

  • Pre-K and Kindergarten programs are 1.25 hours and designed for students ages 4 to 5.
  • Morning programs are scheduled Monday through Friday, 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Afternoon programs are scheduled Monday through Friday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • For a full-day option, pair two half-day programs together (not currently available due to COVID-19 constraints).

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

Trees In A Nutshell

1.25 hours | 180 students maximum

Nature detectives hit the trail to uncover the life cycle of trees through games, role play, and guided observation. Students investigate seeds, saplings, adult trees, and fallen logs. Connections are made between fallen logs and soil production to bring the amazing cycle full circle.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards and Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards:

    • K-ESS3-1: Interdependence among plants, animals, and their environment
    • K-LS1-1: Survival
    • 12.A.ECa: Observe, investigate, describe, and categorize
    • 12.B.ECa: Needs of living things
  • Half day:
    $8 per student
    $15 registration fee
    Full day (paired with another program, see Fees and Policies):
    $12 per student
    $30 registration fee

Sensing Nature

1.25 hours | 180 students maximum

Animals, including humans, use more than their eyes to learn and survive in nature. In this hands-on program, students discover how all five senses can be used to explore nature. Discover shapes and textures in nature, and the various ways color and scent are used by trees.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards and Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards:

    • K-LS1-1: Survival
    • 9.A.ECa and 9.A.ECb: Shapes
    • 12.A.ECa: Observe, investigate, describe, and categorize living things
    • 23.A.ECa: Senses (body parts and functions)
  • Half day:
    $8 per student
    $15 registration fee
    Full day (paired with another program, see Fees and Policies):
    $12 per student
    $30 registration fee

Leave No Child Inside

1.25 hours | 180 students maximum

A growing body of research is telling us 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 your visit. One of the Arboretum's guides will be on hand to answer questions and guide students to exciting observations, but the focus is on the exploration of nature.

  • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards or Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards.

  • 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.

Children's Garden

1.25 hours | 400 students maximum

The Children's Garden is an enclosed 4-acre garden designed to spark curiosity about trees and the natural world as children play. The Children's Garden provides a self-guided option for students in kindergarten through third grade only. Registered school groups in grades pre-K to third grade can also reserve explorer backpacks to enhance their educational experience. Register one pack for every 10 students. (Backpacks are limited for groups of 200 or less.)

  • Potential to address the following Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards:

    • 11A: Observation and scientific questions
    • 12A: Characteristics of living things

    Potential to address the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • K-2-ETS1-1: Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change, or define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool. 
    • K-LS1-1: Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive. 
    • 1-LS1-1: Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs. 
    • 2-LS2-1: Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.
    • 2-LS2-2: Develop a simple model that mimics the functions of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants. 
    • 2-LS4-1: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.  
  • 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

1.5 hours | 180 students maximum

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 or Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards.

  • 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, the Arboretum 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 guests 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:

  • 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), plus 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 (two adults/teachers for every 10 students).
  • There is a minimum of 10 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

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