Programs

Second through Third Grade Field Trips

Content Detail

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

  • Available for pre-K through 12th grade
  • Second through third grade 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.

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

Eco-Explorers

1.5 hours

Plants and trees are an important part of the food web in all ecosystems. In this popular and engaging program, students hunt for producers, consumers, and decomposers in three different ecosystems: woodland, aquatic, and meadow. Through hands-on activities, students compare the unique characteristics of living things in each ecosystem.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 2-LS4-1: Plants and animals of different habitats
    • 3-LS3-2: Adaptations
    • 3-LS4-3: Survival

    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

Animal Homes

1.5 hours

Trees provide shelter as well as food for animals. Animals are adapted to live in groups, near and within trees, to support their need for food, water, and space. Discover the unique places animals call home, and what they need to survive in their habitat. Through engaging hands-on activities, students will identify the interdependence between animals and the trees they live in.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 2-LS4-1: Plants and animals of different habitats
    • 3-LS2-1: Survival in groups
    • 3-LS4-2: Survival in habitats and interdependence

    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

Terrific Trees

1.5 hours

Every tree is unique. Gain an appreciation for the diversity of trees by comparing their shapes, sizes, leaves, barks, and seeds. Discover the unique characteristics of Illinois oaks and other trees. Through hands-on discovery and field notes, find out what all trees have in common and what makes each species different and easy to identify.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 2-LS2-2: Seed dispersal and flower pollination by animals
    • 2-LS2-1: Plants need sunlight and water to grow
    • 3-LS1-1: Diverse life cycles of plants and animals

    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

Leave No Child Inside

1.5 hours

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 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.

Children's Garden

Self-paced

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 is a self-guided option for students in kindergarten through third grade only. Registered school groups in pre-K through 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 Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 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.

    Program capacities are outlined here.

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

  • $6 per student
    $15 registration fee

Joy Path

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.

  • Potential to address the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 3.LS1.1: Life cycles 
    • 3.LS4.3 and MS.LS2.1: Habitats 
    • 5.PS3.1, 5.LS2.1, MS.LS1.6, and MS.LS2.3: Energy and food webs 
    • 3.LS3.2, 4.LS1.1, and MS.LS1.4-5: Survival, adaptation, and reproduction

    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

Habitat Hike Self-Guided

Self-paced

Explore three different habitats, and how plants and animals are adapted to their environment using a teacher guide and activity backpack on an interpreted trail. Each pack serves 20 students and three chaperones.

  • Potential to address the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 2-LS2-2: Animals assist with pollination and seed dispersal
    • 2-LS4-1: Diversity of life in different habitats
    • 3-LS4-4: When the environment changes, plants and animals change
    • 3-LS4-3: Organisms in a habitat can survive, others cannot
    • 5-LS2-1: Energy flow, food webs

    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 at 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

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 we are keeping you safe on your field trip.

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 the 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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