Interactive adventure

Transform classroom learning into an exciting interactive adventure with our educational field trips at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Our tours, led by trained guides, cover a broad range of topics. Join us and discover firsthand the wonders of native Michigan plant and animal species.

Two students on a tour of the botanical garden


Guided field trips

Tours of the conservatory and trails are available throughout the academic year. Trained guides cover topics including botany, adaptations, and ecosystems, which relate to Michigan education benchmarks and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Scheduled trips are offered Tue-Fri, 10am to 12pm. Scholarships are available for Title One schools.


Self-guided field trips

Self-guided tours are led by the teacher and chaperones and can include exploration of both Matthaei’s trails and conservatory. Topics that can be investigated at Matthaei include native Michigan plant and animal species, plant parts and functions, adaptations, pollination, and ecosystems.

Self-guided field trips are offered Tues-Fri. Reservations for the conservatory are required. 

Two young teens smil as they hold leaves up to their faces

Many Diverse Topics

We cover a selection of topics that meet classroom curriculum standards and relate to Michigan's native and contemporary ecosystems.

Roots and shoots

Explore plants and their needs. Compare the diversity of plant life and relationships to animals.  (pre-K, K, 1st)

Plant & Animal Pairs
Living and non-living things are part of all ecosystems. Explore the ways plants & animals around the world depend on each other for pollination, seed dispersal, shelter and food.  (2nd, 3rd)

Biomes Are Beautiful
Explore three unique biomes and the characteristics that make them unique.  Learn  about plant adaptations that help them thrive from the Tropics to the Desert. (3rd, 4th)

Ecosystems—Flowers, Fruits, & Seeds
Plant structures are uniquely adapted to their role in an ecosystem. Explore plant adaptations from roots to flowers that aid in survival for both plants and animals.  (3rd, 4th)

Ecosystems—Energy Flows, Matter Cycles
Ecosystems are complex with interdependencies between living and non-living elements.  Explore ecosystem interactions, food webs and energy flows. (5th, 6th)

Great Lakes Ecosystems
Explore the biotic and abiotic elements of ecosystems around the Great Lakes while exploring the Great Lakes Gardens.  Learn how soils, weather and humans impact these unique and diverse plant communities.  (Middle and High School)

Other Opportunities

Young adults together in a tree

Youth Scout Integration

Our nature education seamlessly integrates with scout programming, enabling youth to explore nature while meeting scout goals.

Adult learners walking through the arb

Adult Learning

Our adult programing mixes learning and enjoyment and puts humans at the heart of our dynamic ecosystems.

A child showing a small flower to two adults

Nature Play Activities

Nature play activities that can be enjoyed from home or school, creating an easy opportunity to connect children with the outdoors.