fbpx Field Trips: High School | The Morton Arboretum

Field Trips: High School

Schedule and location

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

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 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 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
  • 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, two adults/teachers 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.
  • 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/teacher 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 high school students and are designed for student’s age 14 and up.  Details concerning fees and other information are listed below.

Guided Programs

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 Illinois Learning Standards.

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


Self-guided Programs


The Gateway to Tree Science - Newly Added!

75 students maximum

An interactive, outdoor exhibit highlights the biology and function of trees, the challenges they face, the plight of endangered trees, and the research taking place throughout this half-mile, wood-chipped path.

PDF iconThe Gateway to Tree Science - Scavenger Hunt

The Gateway to Tree Science video

The Canopy Career Chronicles


Joy Path Backpack

75 students maximum
Use an interpreted trail, teacher guide, activity backpack, and map to explore woodlands and aquatic ecosystems. Each pack serves 20 students and three 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

Teacher resources:

PDF iconJoyPathInfo-website.pdf


Woodland, Wetland, and Prairie

75 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.

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


Magnolia Collection - Newly Added

75 students maximum

Located on the west side of the arboretum, sits a living seed bank of the some of the world's oldest plants, magnolias. These trees are beautiful at all times of the year. Walk with your students through this new path with interpretation focused on the family history of magnolias, breeding/hybridization and the unique features of this flowering beauty. The self-guided digital guide is aligned to the NGSS and can be utilized in conjunction with our other self-guided options.  

PDF iconIMLS Magnolia Self Guided Walk-M.W.12.31.18 - FINAL.pdf

PDF iconIMLS Article PreReading For Magnolia Walk- FINAL.pdf


Tree Identification Self-guided Backpack

75 students maximum 
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 can 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 20 students and three chaperones.

Teacher resources:

PDF iconSelf Guided Tree ID - Website Info


High school