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Field trips: High School

Make outdoor science fun and engaging on a field trip through The Morton Arboretum. Guided and self-guided programs listed are for high school students and are designed for student’s age 14 and up.  Details concerning fees and other information are listed below.


*REGISTER NOW for Summer 2016 (Self-Guided Trips, with limited Guided Field Trip Availability) 


Guided adventures


Restoration Stewards

1.5 hours (or 3 hours with a lunch break) | 60 students maximum
This is a great opportunity for Ecology Clubs! Help us with natural areas management and conservation work here at The Morton Arboretum. Education guides will lead your group of students as they do an educational service project in restoration. Activities can include pulling invasive plants, collecting seeds, hiking off the trail and in heavily vegetated areas, and more. Students learn about ecological restoration while doing restoration!  For more information contact our Education Department at 630-719-2468 prior to sending in a registration form.

Teacher resources:
PDF iconRestoration Stewards - vocabulary
PDF iconRestoration Stewards - crossword

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:
PDF iconLeave No Child Inside - vocabulary
PDF iconLeave No Child Inside 6th-8th - crossword

Self-guided programs


Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat Exhibit

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.  Age appropriate classroom activities for before, during and after your visit are available:  Vanishing Acts Exhibit Guide Grades9-12.pdf  The exhibit is located in the Conifer Collection on the east side of The Morton Arboretum.

Joy Path

180 students maximum
Use an interpreted trail, teacher guide, activity backpack, and map to explore woodlands and aquatic ecosystems. Each pack serves 15 students and two chaperones.
Potential to address the following IL Learning Standards:
11A – Scientific Inquiry
12A – Life Cycles
12B – Habitats and Food Webs
12E – Natural Cycles
16E – Environmental History
For more detailed information about the Joy Path Backpack materials and activities, download:
PDF iconJoy Path Pack Information for Self Guided Groups

Woodland, Wetland, Prairie

180 students maximum
Make discoveries on your own while exploring the Arboretum’s woodland, wetland, and prairie (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:
Printable Activity Pages for Self-Guided Adventures

PDF iconObservations of a leaf
PDF iconObserve and Sketch
PDF iconSensory Investigation
PDF iconThe Living and The Non-Living Treasure Hike
PDF iconWetland Treasure Hunt


Tree Identification Self-guided Backpack Program

60 students maximum (15 students per backpack)
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.  Each student will create a series of sketches of Illinois trees.  Each student should bring a notebook or sketchpad and pen/pencil for this activity.  Each pack serves 15 students and two chaperones.
For more detailed information about the Tree ID backpack materials and activities, download: 

PDF iconTree ID Pack Information for Self Guided Groups


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, 9:45-11:15 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: REGISTER NOW  for Summer 2016 (Self-Guided Trips, with limited Guided Field Trip Availability)