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School Field Trips

Bring your classroom to Knoch Knolls Nature Center for a day of exploration and investigation of the natural world!

  • Led by Naturalist staff
  • Pre-K through 5th grade programs
  • Two classroom maximum per field trip
  • Offered April/May and September/October/November
  • Available Monday, Tuesday and Friday; limited Wednesdays and Thursdays available
  • Registration for the Spring season begins first Monday in January (non-holiday); registration for Fall season begins first Monday in August 
  • K-5th grade programs incorporate Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core standards.
  • Previous Illinois Science Standard based programs available on request.
  • Playground time is included in the programs for K-2nd graders; playgrounds can be visited before or after the prorgram for Preschool and 3rd – 5th grade groups
  • Picnic areas are available for use at no extra cost but must be requested at time of booking
  • Field trips must be booked at least two weeks in advance
  • See program descriptions for fees and payment details
  • To request a program or for more information:


*Need money for a field trip? Grants are availble. For more information click here or here.*


Pre-K programs


  • 1 hour program
  • Each programs highlights the season during a short hike and then introduces the students to our nature center animals.
  • $60 for up to 20 students/adults
  • For groups of 21- 40 students/adults, two programs can run concurrently, $100 fee applies 
  • Payment due no later than the day of the field trip

K – 2nd grade programs

  • 1.5 hour program
  • Two classrooms maximum, divided into three groups
  • Three station rotation (30 minutes each)
    • Two different guided stations led by a naturalist
    • Playground time (station) supervised by teachers/chaperones (½ hour for snacks, restroom breaks and playtime at our nature themed playground)
  • $5 per student; teachers/chaperones are free; minimum of 20 students required
  • Payment due the day of the field trip

Kindergarten program


It’s not just a song; it’s what all plants and animals are trying to do!  We’ll figure out what plants and animals need to survive, including humans. During a hike students will investigate the life of an oak tree and a beaver.  Our live animals will be provide students with the chance to view, touch and compare two animals. Students will also discuss some ways animals and plants change their environments and simple ways people can reduce their impact on the Earth.

Program based on:

  • NGSS - Life Science: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystem: Animals, Plans and their Environments plus Earth and Space Science: Earth's Systems & Earth and Human Activity
  • PE: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-3
  • DCI: LS1.C, ESS2.E, ESS3.C
  • CCSSC: K.MD.A.2
  • CC: Patterns
  • SEP: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Engage in Argument from Evidence


1st grade programs


Springtime is a great time to study birds! Students will learn what makes an animal a bird, compare bird feathers, go on a hike to look for birds, discover how adult birds care for their young, and investigate how beaks are adapted to eat different things.

Program based on:

  • NGSS - Life Science: Structure, Function and Information Processing: From Molecules to Organisms & Heredity
  • PE: 1-LS1-1, 1-LS1-2, 1-LS3-1
  • DCI: LS1-A, LS1.B, LS1.D, LS3.A, LS3.B
  • CCSSC: W.1.8, 1.MD.A.1
  • CC: Patterns, Structure and Function
  • SEP: Constructing explanations and using empirical evidence
Making a leaf rubbing


Where would we be without plants? Students will discover the parts of plant and how plants grow, investigate plants by making leaf rubbings and comparing their sizes, experiment with how plants may communicate with each other and find out about some inventions that were inspired by plants.  They will also get a chance to view the nature center’s Living Wall of plants and say “thank you” for all that plants provide for us!

Program based on:

  • NGSS - Life Science: Structure, Function and Information Processing: From Molecules to Organisms & Heredity
  • PE: 1-LS1-1, 1-LS3.1
  • DCI: LS1-A, LS1.D, LS3.A, LS3.B
  • CCSSC: W.1.8, 1.MD.A.1
  • CC: Patterns, Structure and Function
  • SEP: Constructing explanations and using empirical evidence


2nd grade program

POLLINATION STATION – Spring or Autumn version

Why is pollination important? Learn about the Park District’s pollination stations and view Knoch Knolls Park’s Monarch Waystation. In the spring students will investigate animals that pollinate flowers and how pollination works. In autumn students will discover the product of pollination - seeds – by participating in hands-on activities that illustrate ways plants disperse their seeds.

Program based on:

  • NGSS - Life Science: Independent Relationships in Ecosystems: Ecosystems & Biological Evolution    
  • PE: 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1
  • DCI: 2-LS4.A
  • CCSSC: W.2.8, 2MD.D.10
  • CC: Structure and Function
  • SEP: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, developing and using models


3rd – 5th Grade Programs

  • 2 hour program
  • Two classrooms maximum, divided into three groups
  • Three different stations; topic depends on grade level
  • 4th Graders should be prepared to get wet and possibly muddy; wear boots or shoes that can get wet; bring a change of shoes and socks
  • $6 per student; teachers/chaperones are free; minimum of 25 students required
  • Payment due no later than the day of the field trip

3rd grade program

 Fossilized Tully Monsters have been found in Mazon Creek in Illinois


What used to live here and is it different than what lives here now? Discover fossils from the past and what they tell us about Illinois’ previous environment. Then explore two different habitats at Knoch Knolls Park, the pond and prairie, using scientific instruments to collect and analyze pond life and prairie critters.

Program based on:

  • NGSS – Life Sciences: Interdependent Relationships: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • PE: 3-LS4-1, 3-LS4-3
  • DCI: LS4.A, LS4.C
  • CCSSC: MP.2, MP.5
  • CC: Observable phenomena across time; Scale, proportion and quantity, patterns, cause and effect
  • SEP: Practices for K-12 Science Classrooms


4th grade program


Discover the secret lives of freshwater critters like macroinvertebrates and mussels by collecting these animals from the West Branch of the DuPage River. Learn about their physical adaptations for life in an aquatic environment and how they use their senses to survive. Based on what organisms are found in the water, students will also be able to assess the health of the river. Please note: Everyone will be wading into the river so prepare to get wet and possibly muddy!

Program based on:

  • NGSS – Life Sciences: Structure, Function and Information Processing: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • PE: 4-LS1-1, 4-LS1-2
  • DCI: LS1.A, LS1.D
  • CCSSC: 4.G.A.3, MP.2
  • CC: A systems is its components and their interactions.
  • SEP: Construct an argument with evidence, data and/or a model.


5th grade program

The nature center's 1,400 gallon rainwater cistern


Take a look at Earth’s major systems (geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere) and how they are interconnected. Focus on the hydrosphere to determine the amount of water on earth and what is actually available to people to use and drink. Then discuss how human activities affect these systems and what efforts are being made to protect our natural resources, including a tour of the L.E.E.D. Platinum Knoch Knolls Nature Center’s sustainable features.

Program based:

  • NGSS – Earth and Space Science: Earth’s Systems & Earth and Human Activity
  • PE: 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS2-2, 5-ESS3-1
  • DCI: ESS2.A, ESS2.C, ESS3.C, ESS3.D
  • CCSSC: MP.2
  • CC: Systems are components and their interactions; standard units are used to measure and describe quantities; science questions are answered with empirical evidence
  • SEP: Describe and graph quantities such as area and volume to address scientific questions.


Standards Abbreviation Key:

  • NGSS – Next Generation Science Standards
  • PE – Performance Expectations
  • DCI – Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • CCSSC - Common Core State Standards Connections
  • CC - Crosscutting Concepts
  • SEP - Science and Engineering Practices


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contact Stacey Fontechia Sales and Sponsorship Manager at 630-848-3575 or at
Please consider making a donation of any amount to our Fee Assistance Program.
Your contribution will help Naperville residents in need enjoy the benefits of recreation programs.
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