Student Field Trips

Student Field Trips

Make learning fun.

Meijer Gardens believes every educational experience should be creative, age-appropriate and relevant. By focusing on main ideas and hands-on learning, our educational offerings are both informative and engaging. Four field trip options are offered (details below). When you are ready to schedule your field trip, please fill out the Field Trip Registration Request Form available HERE.

Reduced Group Admission (Self-Led Tour)

  • Explore at your own pace.

Reduced Group Admission:
$4.00 / Student

A minimum of ten students and two weeks preregistration is required. 

Various materials are available to enhance your experience - please request the materials at the time you make your reservation. Choose from the following options for self-led tours:

All sculpture gallery exhibitions offer a Gallery Guide describing the current exhibition, and many also have Family Looking Guides to provide additional, fun activities related to the artwork.

A set of imaginative, child-friendly Activity Cards will help chaperones navigate the ten distinct areas of the Lena Meijer Children’s Gardens. Cards provide suggestions for three age/difficulty levels.

Download Activity Cards PDF

Explore the Wetlands with our Wetlands Bingo worksheet. From dragonflies to cattails, students learn about this fascinating habitat as they try to find all the pictured features.

The 1930's come alive at our Michigan’s Farm Garden. Discover how farming used to be done by trying our Tool Matching Challenge in the barn.

Search for intriguing sculptures using the visitor map and worksheet. After you find them, try the accompanying activity. Have fun!

Download and print the Family Sculpture Hunt!

Sketching is welcomed throughout Meijer Gardens. There are clipboards as well as portable sketching stools for your use. Please request these materials at the time you make your reservation.

Hunt for weird and wild plants in our indoor conservatories – from a plant that can trap a frog to a cactus covered in ‘hair.’ As they search for plants from around the world, students answer questions that prompt them to discover more. 

Download and print the Weird and Wild Plants Around the World PDF.

Guided Tour

  • 45 to 60-minutes, curriculum-based, interactive experience

Reduced Group Admission:
$4.00 / Student, Plus Additional $1.00 / Student

A minimum of ten students and two weeks preregistration is required. 

Led by trained volunteer docents. Limited tours are offered during our annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World (mid-November through December) exhibition, and self-led tours are available during Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming (March through April). Otherwise, all tours are offered year-round unless otherwise noted. Choose from the following:

Offered in September and October, this tour is a perfect way to learn colors, sizes, shapes and number skills while exploring our plant conservatories. Children will participate in a variety of hands-on activities.

Pretending they are stranded on a tropical island, students are challenged to survive. They will develop life-saving skills as they search for hidden water sources, create a shelter, find food and signal for help. Focusing on the many unique adaptations found in the tropics, they will learn typical rainforest plants, animals and climate conditions.

This 1-hour outdoor tour focuses on exploring the 8-acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. Students will learn about the traditional elements and structures used in a Japanese garden, and discover the thought-provoking Contemporary sculptures that make our Japanese Garden so unique. Students should dress for the weather.

This tour focuses on biomes and plant adaptations. Students will compare a rainforest and a desert environment with Michigan’s own temperate deciduous forest. Students will ponder why cacti have spines and why the largest seed in the world can be found in only one spot.

This tour introduces the student to creative decision-making and the artistic process while exploring the works of major modern and contemporary artists such as Auguste Rodin, George Segal and Dale Chihuly. Whenever possible, this tour will include the current Sculpture Gallery exhibition.

This outdoor tour uses the work of world-renowned sculptors to illustrate certain artistic concepts. Among the principles explained are scale, materials, placement, style (realistic, abstract and non-objective), surface treatment and setting. Students will appreciate what makes Meijer Gardens unique, and understand why we enjoy an international reputation for our permanent sculpture collection. Students should dress for the weather.

This overview tour focuses on the uniqueness of Meijer Gardens combining both horticultural and sculptural elements. The students will visit our indoor gardens and galleries and receive a brief introduction to each area. Highlights include grass that grows taller than a house, plants that can count and a sculpture with more than 1,500 pieces.

This tour focuses on comparing nativity scenes from six countries or regions around the world.  Students will learn how each nativity is similar to the others, and yet distinct - they differ in their choice of materials and the elements of the story that they emphasize.  Each tells us something unique about the culture from which they came.   This tour is available during our annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition.

Students become globe-trotting explorers this season by investigating holiday traditions which span the globe. Students will learn how holidays vary by region and tradition as well as how many similarities the holidays share. Students use their observation skills to discover the meaning behind the displays and decorations. This tour is available during our annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition.

Classroom Activity

  • 45-minute classroom project

Reduced Group Admission:
$4.00 / Student Plus Additional $1.00 / Student

A minimum of ten students and two weeks preregistration is required. 

Classroom activities allow a teacher to reinforce concepts learned on one of our guided tours with a related classroom lesson.  Groups may also participate in classroom activities independently of a guided tour.  Cost includes room rental, materials, and instruction fees. 

Please note: Classroom activities will be unavailable from September, 2017 through August, 2018 due to construction of our new Covenant Learning Center. For alternate educational activities for school groups, please see our Self-Led Tour, Guided Tour, School Program and Kids' Tram options. We look forward to offering new and improved classroom activities for the 2018-19 school year!

Choose from the following:

Students learn about metamorphosis while creating a pasta-art souvenir portraying the four stages of the butterfly life cycle. In addition, fascinating factoids about each stage are shared. Concepts discussed include insect anatomy, camouflage and other amazing defensive strategies. The class may also view Meijer Gardens’ own butterfly collection.

Students discuss what distinguishes sculpture from other art forms, what an artist needs in order to create sculpture (idea, tools, materials, money), as well as several different creative methods. Students learn about the work of artist Louise Nevelson, then create their own sculpture to take home using cardboard and small wooden pieces. Students display their work in a mock exhibition.

Students learn the function of roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits by comparing the plant parts to ordinary household objects such as a mop, a garden hose or a bottle of perfume. Students then categorize common foods by which part of a plant they represent. Finally, they create a fantasy plant by combining foods from all the categories into a single drawing. Imagine a plant with carrot roots, celery stems, cabbage leaves, broccoli flowers and tomato fruits—yummy!

Students discuss what distinguishes sculpture from other art forms, what an artist needs in order to create sculpture (idea, tools, materials, money), as well as several different creative methods (additive, subtractive, fabrication, assemblage). Students learn about the work of artist Mark di Suvero, then work in small teams to create a group sculpture using scrap metal pieces. Students title their sculptures and display them in a mock exhibition. Bring a camera to take souvenir photos of the artwork.

Students will discover that butterfly wings are not just beautiful—they’re critical to survival. Students will learn how butterflies fly and how their wings help to keep them safe from predators. Students will also observe pinned specimens and discover wings that are perfectly clear (providing camouflage) and wings that advertise they’re poisonous through bright colors. Those who look closely will discover what else wings can reveal—from a butterfly’s gender to its age.  Students will participate in a critical thinking activity, using their observation skills and their new knowledge of butterfly wings to become “butterfly detectives.”

Extend the learning with a special classroom activity where the students discover the fascinating history of the Polish szopka.  Dating back to medieval times, szopki are brightly-colored, gleaming architectural displays combined with a traditional nativity scene.  These magnificent creations were originally designed as puppet theaters and used as educational tools during the Christmas season.  Using recycled materials, the class will create a group szopka which can be displayed at school. Appropriate for K-12. 

Students can try their hand at the art of rangoli, the custom of decorating the threshold of the home with colorful designs using natural materials.  These geometric patterns create a special welcome for guests visiting during the holidays.  Students will learn more about the Hindu Festival of Light, Diwali, the culture of India, and the tradition of rangoli. Students will create individual rangoli using lentils and beans or other natural materials to take home.  Appropriate for all ages.

School Program

  • 90-minute, curriculum-based
    interactive experience
  • A minimum of 20 students and
    two weeks pre-registration is required. 

Reduced Group Admission:
$4.00 / Student, Plus Additional $2.00 / Student

Curriculum-based, hands-on educational activities led by experienced teachers. Choose from the following:

In this program students will learn how food starts at a farm, and ends up on their plates. They will explore what plants need to grow by planting a seed and harvesting a vegetable. They will discover the variety of food grown on a farm and the work involved by trying fun farm chores. They will also learn about parts of a plant and why eating a variety of food is important by tasting a root, stem, leaf and flower.

 Good summer program

Compare past and present by participating in 1930s-era farm chores, discussing present day alternatives, making real butter and playing old-fashioned games.

 Good summer program

A is for animal, B is for Barn...come and explore the ABCs with us on the farm. Students are invited to investigate language arts in new ways. They will discover word families by deciphering animal rhymes; play with sequencing and creating action words by role playing farm chores; practice letter and sound recognition by going on an amazing farm alphabet hunt.

Practice counting at a produce stand using colorful fruits and vegetables and play coins and currency; use a clock to time farm chores like gathering eggs, hanging laundry, pumping water and painting the fence or barn; and play a giant board game filled with farm math word problems. Math on the farm can be so much fun!

The waterfalls in the Sculpture Park provide the perfect spot for activities focused on water. Learn which animals and insects live in water and examine water samples, explore the water cycle through hands-on experiments, and find out why water is such a valuable resource.

Learn fun facts about rocks with a variety of activities such as using microscopes to look closely at what rocks are made of, experimenting with the power of glaciers, and digging for the three types of rocks. Learn why rocks rock!

Learn about the importance of trees by pretending to become a lumberjack, and find out why Grand Rapids became “furniture city.” Then unlock the secret to tree identification using a special identification “key.” Discover the many ways Native Americans, settlers and wildlife all used white pines—our state tree.

Armed with sketch pads and pencils, students will practice their observation skills as they explore a variety of unique plants and intriguing sculptures and record their findings with quick drawings and detailed descriptions.

 Good summer program

Move large rocks using levers, lift heavy weights with pulley systems and carve into wood using wedges. Then go on a scavenger hunt to find many other farm implements made up of simple machines. This is a wonderful program for making sense out of science.

Imagine being a scientist by exploring our wetlands, recording  observations, sketching wildlife and performing simple experiments. Discover the amazing variety of plants and animals that make the wetlands home, and the important work that wetlands do from filtering our water to reducing flooding. A wetlands journal and bingo game are included.

Stretch, lunge, squat, jump, lift and dance your way to fitness using world-renowned sculpture as a springboard. Walk the mile-long Sculpture Park path stopping at various pieces to participate in fitness activities inspired by each. A truly unique combination of art education and exercise.

 Good summer program

Kids’ Tram Program

  • 45-minute, curriculum-based 
    interactive experience.
  • Minimum of 20 students
    and two weeks preregistration
    is required.

Reduced Group Admission:
$4 / Student,
Plus Additional $2.00 / Student

Board the Kids’ Tram for an interactive, engaging and unique educational experience. Themes can be adapted for a variety of age levels and include:

We’ll be Comin’ Round the Gardens on this sing-sational Kids’ Tram tour.  Students will have the opportunity to participate in rhythms, rounds, rhymes and raps as they roll along; learning about sculptures through fun and familiar songs such as The Wheels on the Tram and Did you Ever See a Spider.  

In Let’s Get Moving, students will learn about sculpture through movement and fun. They will practice balance next to Galileo’s Wedge, move geometrically like Five Lines and learn the best ways to get their heart pumping a la Scarlatti. Students will strengthen their muscles, their heart and their brain! All activities can also be done seated as well.

During this tram program, students will journey around the Sculpture Park and discover who needs water and why. Along the way, they will have the opportunity to move like a fish, imitate a bird, and become part of a “frog chorus.” They will also learn about the many sources of water and why water is an important resource.

This tram program will take students on an incredible journey around the Sculpture Park – learning about sculptures and plants, and using their imaginations. Riders will imagine they are a mountain stream, flowing swiftly around rocks and boulders, then pretend to sprout roots, and grow branches like a great White Pine tree – Michigan’s state tree. Follow up this unique tram ride with a special Imagination Looking Guide to use in the Children’s Garden.

By traveling through the Sculpture Park students will learn a variety of tree-mendous tree facts.  Which trees are used to make baseball bats, musical instruments and Popsicle sticks? Students will also use puppets to identify the creatures that live in trees and learn why leaves change color. 


  • Please fill out the Field Trip Registration Form available HERE.


To schedule a field trip, complete a Registration Request Form. All field trips must be scheduled a minimum of two weeks in advance. If scheduling during our Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition, please register early. Please note: once our Education Assistant has confirmed your field trip date and time via confirmation email, then you may consider your field trip scheduled. If applying for a scholarship, groups must first have a confirmed field trip scheduled. 

Please make note of the Meijer Gardens Field Trip Policies HERE.


If you are interested in a scholarship, please complete the form available HERE

Scholarship funds and transportation assistance is available to groups with a confirmed field trip. Scholarships are awarded to Title I schools on a first-come, first-served basis. Two scholarships are available for eligible applicants. The transportation scholarship helps defray bus costs while the admissions scholarship reduces the entrance fee. Download the scholarship application and email completed applications to 
Please note, teachers may be granted only one Meijer Gardens scholarship award per fiscal year (October 1- September 30).

Please see our field trip policies for further details.

Eating Options

There are several eating options for field trips including boxed lunches from our Taste of the Gardens Café, a rented classroom, and outdoor picnic pavilions.

Eating Outdoors
  • Sack lunches may be eaten at three outdoor picnic pavilions, located near the parking lot. Each pavilion has three, eight-foot picnic tables. The pavilions operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and may not be reserved.
  • Two pavilions have large grassy areas adjacent to the building; students may sit and eat in the grass as long as trash is disposed of properly.
  • Sack lunches are not permitted in any other outdoor area.
  • The amphitheater pavilion is located near the designated bus-parking area. If you plan to access this pavilion, please leave your lunches on the bus.
  • For your convenience, your lunches may be unloaded and left near the front entrance. Please package your lunches in large containers labeled with the name of the school as well as the teacher. A greeter will be available to help unload your lunches.
Eating Indoors
  • If space is available, a classroom may be reserved for your use. Please email for rental fee pricing. A deposit is necessary. Groups are requested to leave the room in a tidy condition. Because Meijer Gardens is a popular corporate meeting site, it is recommended that you reserve your room in advance.
Taste of the Gardens Café
  • The café does not take reservations.
  • Because of Health Department regulations, food from home cannot be brought into the café.
  • Hot food and daily specials are served until 3:00 pm; cold foods are served until closing.
  • Boxed lunches are available. Please email for pricing and availability. 
  • If ordering lunches from the cafe, fax the request 10 days prior to the field trip. The outdoor patio is for café customers only.