fbpx Field trips: 1st grade | The Morton Arboretum

Field trips: 1st grade

Schedule and location

Spring Field trips run from April 5th - June 11th

Winter Self-Guided Field Trips run from November 13th - March 29th.

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 our PDF iconProgram Adjustments in order to see how we are keeping you safe on your field trip.


Field trips can include either guided OR 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 A.M. - 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


Fees and registration

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 (Full-day programs not available in Spring 2021)
  • Two guided adventures (3.0 hours): $12 per student, $30 registration fee (Full-day programs not available in Spring 2021)
  • One guided adventure (1.5 hours) + Self-guided adventure: $12 per student, $30 registration fee (Full day programs not available in Spring 2021)
  • Self-guided adventure: $6 per student, $15 registration fee


Registration Details:

  • 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, 2 teacher/adults for every 10 students.
  • There is a minimum of 10 students for guided and self guided field trips. 
  • 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.


Fees include admission to the Arboretum for:

  • All registered and attending students
  • All registered and attending adult chaperones (two adults for every 10 students)
  • State required aides


*Once you have registered- Plan your Trip

Course description

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 students age six and up. Details concerning fees and other information are listed below.



Guided Programs


It's Fall! (Fall Only!)

1.5 hours | 50 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-close as we learn about fall, color, seeds and animals.

Teacher resources:

It's Fall - vocabulary activity 1

It's Fall - vocabulary activity 2

This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards: 

  • 1-LS1-1: Survival

  • 1-LS3-1: Seeds


Spring to Life (Spring Only!)

1.5 hours  |  200 students maximum

From flowers on the ground to nests in trees, observe nature waking up from winter. Use your 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 Next Generation Science Standards: 

  • K-ESS1-2: Make observations at different times of the year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of the year.

  • K-ESS2-1: Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.

  • 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.

 Teacher Resources:

Spring to Life Vocab.pdf

PDF iconSpring to Life Vocabulary List_Spanish.pdf


Bugs Abound

1.5 hours | 50 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: Survival
  • 1-LS1-2: Life cycle stages
  • 1-LS3-1: Body parts & adaptations


Teacher resources:

PDF iconBugs Abound - vocabulary

PDF iconBugs Abound Vocabulary List_Spanish.pdf
PDF iconBugs Abound - butterfly labeling

PDF iconBugs Abound Pre Activity Book Directions.pdf

PDF iconBugs Abound Pre-Activity Student Book.pdf

PDF iconBugs Abound Post Activities.pdf

PDF iconBaby Bug and Adult Bug Cards (2).pdf

PDF iconBugs Abound Post Field Trip Assessment.pdf-  (Cross-curricular assessment aligned to NGSS & CCSS)

PDF iconBugs Abound Post Field Trip Assessment - Modified.pdf


Leave No Child Inside

1.5 hours | 50 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 Next Generation Science Standards.

Teacher resources:
PDF iconLeave no Child Inside - vocabulary
PDF iconLeave no Child Inside - activity


Self-guided Programs


Children's Garden

Maximum: 75 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 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

  • 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. 


Vanishing Act: Trees Under Threat

Maximum: 75 students

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:
PDF iconVanishing Acts Exhibit Guide Grades Pre-K-2


Woodland, Wetland, Prairie

Maximum: 75 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.

Teacher resources:

PDF iconABC Hike
PDF iconObserve and Sketch
PDF iconSensory Investigation
PDF iconThe Living and The Non-Living Treasure Hike


1st Grade