Make outdoor science fun and engaging on a field trip through The Morton Arboretum. Guided and self-guided programs listed are for 1st grade and are designed for student’s age six and up. Details concerning fees and other information are listed below.
*Interested in Fall Programs? REGISTER NOW for Fall 2018 (September 4th-November 9th) Programs!
*Once you have registered- Plan your Trip
1.5 hours | 180 students maximum
Explore seeds and leaves of trees to discover how nature prepares for winter. Use your senses to experience the life in the Arboretum and learn about how plants and animals adapt to the seasons. Observe nature in autumn up-closer as we learn about fall, color, seeds, and animals.
This program emphasizes the following Illinois Standards:
- 11A-1a: Observation
- 12A-1b: Observable Features of Living Organisms
- 12B-1b: Interdependence/Survival
1.5 hours | 200 students maximum
Get up close and personal with insects and other invertebrates. Students use active inquiry to explore the component parts and life cycles of bugs and butterflies. Sweep the fields to discover the diversity of bugs in this region, find out how bugs move, locate and compare habitats and diets, and observe interesting characteristics.
This program emphasizes the follwing NGSS Standards:
- 1-LS1-1: Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.
- 1-LS1-2: Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.
- 1-LS3-1: Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.
This program emphasizes the following Illinois Learning Standards: :
- 11A-1b: Scientific Questions
- 12A-1a: Component Parts of Living Things
- 12A-2a: Simple Life Cycles
- 12B-1a: Invertebrate Characteristics
Leave No Child Inside
1.5 hours | 200 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 your students will have an opportunity to explore whatever is most interesting on the day of your 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 Illinois Learning Standards.
Maximum: 400 students
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 grades K through 3rd grade only. Registered school groups grades Pre-K – 3 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 Learning Standards:
11A - Observation and Scientific Questions
12A - Characteristics of Living Things
Potential to address the following Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
K-2-ETS1-1: Ask questions, make observations and gather information about a situation people want to change or defina 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 or 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.
Vanishing Act: Trees Under Threat
Time is running out for more than 8,000 tree species. Yet, few people know of their plight. All over the world forces threaten wild tree species. Explore this new outdoor exhibit and offer your students a timely and compelling look at endangered trees, reasons to care about this pressing global issue, an inspiring view of how trees enrich our lives and simple actions for environmental stewardship. The exhibit is located in the Conifer Collection on the east side of The Morton Arboretum.
Vanishing Acts Exhibit Guide Grades Pre-K-2
Woodland, Wetland, Prairie
Maximum: 200 students
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 lot #8 walk the “Joined Loops 3 & 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 lot #25) walk the Prairie Trail loop and go to parking lot #30. For a longer experience, walk to the nearby Millennium Oak.
Schedule and Location
Field trips can include either or both guided and self-guided adventures. See fees and admission for more details.
- Available during spring and fall school season for grades PreK-12
- Duration: 1.5 hours (PreK and Kindergarten programs are 1.25 hours)
- Morning programs are scheduled Monday-Friday, 9:45-11:15 a.m.
- Afternoon programs are scheduled Monday-Friday, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
- Available year-round for grades PreK-12
- Scheduled Monday-Friday during open hours
Fees and Admission
Field trip fees:
- One guided adventure (1.5 hours): $8 per student, $15 registration fee
- 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
- Self-guided adventure: $6 per student, $15 registration fee
Fees include admission to the Arboretum for:
- All registered and attending students
- All registered and attending adult chaperones (three adults for every 20 students)
- State required aides
Registration must be completed 3 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 for every 20 students
Payment is due 3 weeks before the date of the field trip
BY PHONE: Call the registrar at 630-719-2468, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.