Field trips: 1st grade

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 is listed below.


REGISTER NOW for Spring 2015 Field Trips.


Guided adventures


Spring to Life

1.5 hours | 180 students maximum
From flowers on the ground to nests in trees, observe nature waking up from winter. Use you senses to experience new life and learn about how plants and animals adapt to the seasons. Enjoy flowery scents, observe spring colors, listen for baby birds and even catch a few insects.

This program emphasizes the following NGSS Standards:

  • K-LS1-1:Survival Patterns of plants and animals
  • K-ESS3-1: Interdependence among plants, animals and their environment.


This program emphasizes the following Illinois Standards:

  • 11AB-1b: Scientific Questions
  • 12B-1b: Interdependence/Survival
  • 12E-1b: Seasonal Change


Teacher Resources:

Spring to Life Vocab.pdf

Spring to Life Vocab.pdfSpring to Life Vocab.pdf



Bugs Abound

1.5 hours | 180 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 Standard:

  • K-LS1-1: Survival Patterns of plants and animals


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


Teacher resources:
Bugs Abound - vocabulary
Bugs Abound - butterfly labeling

Bugs Abound Pre Activity Book Directions.pdf

Bugs Abound Pre-Activity Student Book.pdf

Bugs Abound Post Activities.pdf

Baby Bug and Adult Bug Cards (2).pdf



Leave No Child Inside

1.5 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 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.

Teacher resources:
Leave no Child Inside - vocabulary
Leave no Child Inside - activity


Self-guided adventures


Children’s Garden

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 15 students. A list of materials, how to use them, and pre/post trip suggestions will be sent with trip confirmation.

Potential to address the following IL Learning Standards:

  • 11A - Observation and Scientific Questions
  • 12A - Characteristics of Living Things

Teacher resources:
Children's Garden Backpack - letter


Vanishing Acts: 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.

Teacher resources:
Vanishing Acts Exhibit Guide Grades Pre-K-2


Woodland, Wetland, Prairie

Maximum: 180 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’s 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.

Teacher resources:
ABC Hike
Observations of a leaf
Observe and Sketch
Sensory Investigation
The Living and The Non-Living Treasure Hike
Wetland Treasure Hunt


Field trips can include either or both guided and self-guided adventures. See fees and admission for more details.

Guided adventures

  • 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, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
  • Afternoon programs are scheduled Monday-Friday, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Self-guided adventures

  • Available year-round for grades PreK-12
  • Scheduled Monday-Friday during open hours

Field trip fees:

  • One guided advenure (1.5 hours): $7 per student, $15 registration fee
  • One guided adventure (3.0 hours): $10 per student, $30 registration fee
  • Two guided adventures (3.0 hours): $10 per student, $30 registration fee
  • One guided adventure (1.5 hours) + Self-guided adventure: $10 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 (two adults for every 15 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, two adults for every 15 students
Payment is due 2 weeks before the date of the field trip

CALL: Call the registrar at 630-719-2468, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

ONLINE: Fill out the online form for: Field Trips: 1st gradeREGISTER NOW