We believe that field trips are an important way for students to make connections between the classroom and the real world, and to deepen their learning across subject areas. We are here to provide an exciting and educational experience for your group, and look forward to helping you plan an engaging and meaningful self-guided field trip to our facility.
We have an array of resources developed and compiled with teachers like you in mind! We know that you’ve got more than enough to do without creating specialized activities for field trips, so we’ve done some of the work on your behalf.
Peruse the options in the links below and choose what works best for you and your students. And remember: studies show that the best way to get the most out of a field trip is to connect it to your classroom curriculum through pre- and post-visit activities!
All of our free, self-guided field trips include:
- A choice between different science themes, depending on grade band
- Intro to Plants, PreK – 3rd
- Decomposition, K – 8th
- Pollination, 1st – 5th
- Plant Adaptations, 3rd – 12th
- A pre-reading sent before the trip to familiarize students with the topic
- An orientation based on the science topic of your selection with a staff member upon arrival
- A themed activity to do in the plant collection
- Eat a free picnic lunch outside (unavailable in November through March), or rent our lunch room for a small fee
- Lunchrooms are half-price during the fall semester! From the last week of August through the end of December, 2022, all school group field trips can book a lunchroom for 50% off.
- Free parking for buses
- The opportunity to deepen student learning across subject areas in one of Chicago’s most beautiful institutions!
Check out the Themed Resources page to learn more about the science themes and to preview the resources.
Add a workshop to your visit! Groups of up to 30 students can participate in a hands-on, 60 minute long engineering workshop about plant adaptations. Your students will investigate plants on a staff-led tour, learn about how different plants use water, and participate in a challenge activity – creating homes that save water using limited resources.
Please note, there are a limited number of workshops that can run each day. Our staff will contact you after purchase to make sure that we can accommodate your students. Each workshop is for a max of 30 students.
Taking a field trip at the Conservatory is easy! Book your trip by clicking the big green button.
Please note: If your desired trip time and date are not visible, that means those dates and times are already booked by other groups. Please choose a different date and time. School group visits currently must be booked at least two weeks in advance. Please only make bookings that you intend to keep.
For School, Camp and Youth Groups: Expectations & Reminders
- Students will remain with their chaperones and stay together as a group or small groups at all times, whether inside the main Conservatory building or outside on the grounds.
- Students will be mindful of other guests by using quiet voices inside the Conservatory.
- Students will move at a moderate (slow to moderate) speed at all times while inside the building.
- Students will gently touch plants and will not under any circumstances pick any leaves, flowers, fruits, or vegetables.
- Students will not feed or attempt to touch the fish or turtles in our ponds. Students must also refrain from throwing rocks or coins into our collections or our ponds.
- Students, teachers, and chaperones will not gather in walkways, doorways, or in the lobby of the Conservatory. Groups must only gather in the pre-designated gathering spaces as outlined in your orientation.
- Groups will not bring any balls, Frisbees, or other recreational equipment into the Conservatory
- Students who destroy, damage, or vandalize any plants, fixtures, or the facility or otherwise disrespect any of Conservatory rules and expectations will be asked to leave immediately. Groups will be held financially and legally responsible for the cost of any damage.