Field Trips and Outreach Programs

Field Trip Guide

Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb. Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets. And any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of education.                        

–Luther Burbank (American horticulturalist and botanist, 1849-1926)


Field trips often have a hike and active game to reinforce the concepts presented.

Message from Education Coordinator

With the increasing screen time and longer school days, having a local and convenient way to connect with nature is helpful. Research shows that nature helps our students in so many ways, from stress relief, increased focus, spatial awareness, academic improvement, reduced symptoms of ADHD, and more! Woodlawn Nature Center is a great place to explore nature in the Elkhart area. Children readily use sensory-based exploration in the outdoors, leading to deeper academic understanding and appreciation. Our hands-on programs directly correlate to many of the state learning requirements. We can also make a custom program that fits your needs. Join us in our mission to connect as many people as possible to nature, natural history, and our future on this planet!

Our Mission Statement

To intimately connect as many people as possible to nature, natural history, and our future on this planet.


Children get an opportunity to touch and feel real artifacts and objects from nature.

Things to Know

Fee $5/child, with a $75 minimum. Adults and extra siblings are $3. One free adult per 10 children is allowed to serve as a chaperone, including teachers. Please have all money collected for cash or check payment at the time of service. Buses can park on the west end of the building in the parking lot along Garden Street. All trips include a program and related activities, hike (weather permitting—wear appropriate clothing and bug spray if needed), and museum exploration. Please have a phone number, e-mail, number of students, date and time for field trip, and topic ready when reserving a spot. E-mail is a great way to touch base ( Many programs are adaptable to younger or older grade levels. We have a small store at the museum with items available for purchase during open exploration (fossils, rocks, dinosaurs, etc. $2-8). Please plan on 1 ½ hours per field trip.

If you would like to pay for the field trip with credit card, you may pay below. Please include the name of your organization, number of children and paid adults, and date of the field trip. Thanks!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Outreach Programs

Outreach programs are available on many of the topics noted for $60 per hour program plus mileage. Inquire about availability by sending an e-mail today to!


Artifacts and items from the collection for an outreach program on Woodland Indians.

Cancellation Policy

Programs will only be cancelled due to school closures, extreme weather, or for situations beyond our control. We will reschedule in this case. If a group cancels last minute, they will be charged a $50 cancellation fee. Please let us know if your group size changes by more than 5 people.

Special Literature Connections

Special programs can be built around literature you are reading in class, such as Sign of the Beaver, My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet, Paddle to the Sea or Alone: Journey of the Boy Sims. Take a multi-faceted approach to learning. Ask about other nature related books for literature connection programs. Let us know if you have a particular piece of literature in mind.

See a seasonal listing of topic suggestions by month here.

Research shows that schools that use outdoor classrooms and other methods of direct-experience learning produce students with improved standardized test scores and grade-point averages and enhanced skills in problem-solving, critical thinking and decision-making.”                                                                                                        -Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods

About Woodlawn Nature Center

Woodlawn Nature Center is a small museum of natural history, nestled in 10 acres of forest and meadow in the heart Elkhart, Indiana. The park is a sanctuary for native flora and fauna. Both the park and museum offer educational opportunities, child development, hiking trails in a wooded setting, outdoor picnic areas, a center for community activities, and so much more. Inside you will find a dinosaur digging cave, Native American collection, Mastodon exhibit, nest and egg collection, wildlife dioramas, seashell display, wetland wonders room, wildlife viewing window, and a nature library. Outside, explore the wooded hiking trails, our evolving outdoor classroom, and a variety of native trees and plants. For more information visit or email us at


Spending time in nature increases focus, reduces stress, and helps children LEARN!

Suggested Grade Level Programs

All programs can be adapted for your group needs and interests. Please see applicable academic standards. Please contact us to work with your needs for an exciting program that meets educational standards.

See an additional seasonal listing of topic suggestions by month here. It may have the perfect fit for your group.

Program PreK K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Nocturnal Animals X X X X X X
Animals in Winter/Spring X X X X
Animals/Tracks X X X X X
Angry Birds X X X X X X
Nature Recycles X X X X X X
Seasons X X
Tree-mendous Trees X X X X X X
Natural Shapes X X
Exploring Nature with my 5 Senses X X
Maple Sugaring (Feb-Mar) X X X X X X X X
What is a Habitat? X X
What’s Bugging You? X X
Butterflies X X
Life in a Pond X X X X
Splendid Spiders X X
Geology Rocks! X X
Fossils/Dinosaurs X X
Predator/ Prey X X X X X
First People of the Great Lakes X X X X X

Each field trip includes active, hands-on learning and exploration.

Suggested Programs per Grade Level


Nocturnal Animals, Animals in Winter, Animals/Tracks, Angry Birds!, Nature Recycles, Seasons, Tree-mendous Trees, Natural Shapes, Exploring Nature with my Five Senses, Maple Sugaring

1st —2nd

Maple Sugaring, What is a Habitat?, Nocturnal Animals, Animals in Winter, What’s Bugging You?, Tree-mendous Trees, Butterflies, Nature Recycles, Life in a Pond, Splendid Spiders, Angry Birds!

3rd — 4th

Life in a Pond, Splendid Spiders, Angry Birds!, Nature Recycles, Maple Sugaring, Nocturnal Animals, Geology Rocks!, Fossils/Dinosaurs, Animals/Tracks, Predator/Prey, First People of the Great Lakes


First People of the Great Lakes, Predator/Prey, Maple Sugaring, Animals/Tracks

Program Descriptions

Animals in Winter/Spring—Explore the various adaptations animals make during winter for survival, such as dealing with the cold and having little food. Hike to look for evidence of animals in the winter.

Animals/Tracks—Look at animal needs, tracks, furs and skins, and more. Watch for evidence of animals on a hike. Become a nature detective as we search for clues of wildlife!

Angry Birds!—Explore various bird adaptations, eggs, and nests.

Butterflies—Look at the life cycle of a butterfly, record observations, and learn about their unique adaptations.

Exploring Nature with my 5 Senses—Hike the trails, exploring nature with all five senses as you listen to birds, sniff leaves, try wild edibles, and touch critters and more!

First People of the Great Lakes—Learn about Indian groups of North American, explore examples of goods and services produced over time periods, and look at the colonization of North America and the impact on Eastern Woodland Indians.

Fossils/Dinosaurs—Identify fossils and describe how they tell of plants and animals of long ago.

Geology Rocks!—Explore local geology, sort and categorize excellent rock samples, and examine physical properties of rocks.

Life Cycles—Check out how mammals, insects, and other animals find during their life cycles. Take a hike to discover various stages of the life cycles. Use the outdoor classroom to investigate life cycles even more!

Life in a Pond—Discover pond life, meet local fish, and play games associated with local water living. Use scientific tools to discover what is under the water!

Maple Sugaring (Feb-Mar)—Explore how sap was collected and processed historically, experience related Eastern Woodland literature, discover the process of photosynthesis, identify maple trees, drill a tap hole to collect sap and taste maple syrup!

Natural Shapes—Explore the many sizes and shapes in nature. Categorize and compare natural items on a hike. Look at seasonal signs.

Nature Recycles!—The wonderful world of decomposition is an amazing process to explore!

Nocturnal Animals—Discover what happens in the woods after the night sky turns dark! Explore myths and facts about these curious animals.

Predator/Prey—Let’s look at food chains! Play active games to find out the connection between predators and prey, the energy source of food chains, and hike the trails to look for evidence of native predators. Who is for dinner?

Seasons—Discover how plants and animals change during the year, with particular focus on our current season.

Splendid Spiders–Spiders are splendid in every way! Investigate and hunt for live spiders, play a web game, and discovering unique characteristics of spiders.

Tree-mendous Trees—Make a tree factory to explore how trees make food, count the rings on tree cookies, discover why leaves change color, and more. Hike our 10 acres of old Oak Forest with a special visit with Indiana’s state tree!

What’s Bugging You?—Look at the cycle of life, the changes in insect form, and the habitat needs of our six-legged friends.

What is a Habitat?—Who lives here and why? Explore various habitats on the property, look at signs animals leave behind, and find out how animals adapt to the world around them.