Skip to main content

Field trips

The following programs are offered to school groups. Once you have made your program selection and chosen two or three dates that will work for your group, please call us at 231-843-9261 to make your reservation. All programs are reserved in two-hour blocks. We suggest that groups of more than 45 students be divided into two separate groups.

Spring and fall programs

Sand Dunes (third-12th grade)
Get set to discover the fascinating world of sand dunes at Ludington State Park! Ludington is home to one of the largest freshwater sand dunes in the world. Your students will learn firsthand how the dunes were formed, the diversity of life in the dunes and why the dunes are protected. See some of the unusual plant and animal life that call the dunes home.

Great Lakes (fourth-12th grade)
Come out to Ludington State Park and discover how Lake Michigan, one of our Great Lakes, plays an important part in our lives. We search out geological evidence to show us how these magnificent lakes were formed. We will look at the changing lake levels and our impact on the lakes. Students will leave with a better understanding of lake ecology.

Park History (third-12th grade)
Ludington State Park has a rich history. In this program, students are shown locations and artifacts that tell the story of what this park was like beginning with the white pine logging era. From those who built and lived in the logging village called Hamlin up to the time where the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp built this park during the Great Depression, the story unfolds in front of the students during this historic walk back in time.

Lighthouse in the Dunes (third-12th grade)
This program ties together the sand dune ecology on which this lighthouse sits and the lighthouse's role in Michigan's maritime history. The park interpreter leads students on a guided sand dunes walk on their way to the lighthouse. The walking distance to the lighthouse is approximately 2 miles one way. Students will discover the fascinating world of sand dunes, how they are formed, the diversity of environments within the dunes, plants and animals that make the dunes their home, and why the dunes are protected. Students are shown equipment used in lighthouse operations and given a tour through the lighthouse. Everyone gets to climb the 130 steps to the top of one of the tallest light towers on Lake Michigan. We will cover the sciences (geology, biology, botany, ecology) and Michigan maritime history. The lighthouse and trail are not wheelchair -accessible.

River Discovery (first-third grades) 
Students have fun discovering and examining the abundance of animals that live in the river. From birds and fish to microscopic animals that call the river home, this program shows the children how these living organisms need each other. This program is specially designed to be hands-on. Experience the excitement that spring brings in! Come get your hands wet!

Michigan Rocks (fourth-12th grade)
Michigan Rocks is a fun program that gets students thinking about what a stone or rock means to them when they are outdoors. The rocks they pick up or look at in Ludington State Park or in their schoolyard or home hold a wealth of information. It is a science lesson and history lesson wrapped in this hard natural form. Rocks tell us stories just like science and history books tell stories. Students will learn how to unlock these stories by observing and feeling rocks. They'll discover that our Great Lakes State has not always looked as it does today. This program can be done either in the park or as an outreach program in the classroom.

Fall-only programs

Autumn Changes (first-third grades)
It happens every fall. Animals and plants are busy preparing for the upcoming winter. We will head out on an adventure hike to search out what seasonal changes are occurring in Ludington State Park. Students will discover numerous changes along the Sable River Trail. Birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and plants will be our observation topics during our walk.

Winter-only programs

Snowshoe Nature Walks (third grade-adult) 
Experience what it is like to walk in snowshoes! Students will learn how snowshoes have been an important part of survival through thousands of years, especially in the Great Lakes region. Students will be fitted in a pair of snowshoes for an exciting walk in the park. During the snowshoe walks, we will discuss the unique, natural and historic resources in Ludington State Park. The program begins at the warming shelter, which is heated and has space for group meals with an outdoor firepit for cooking.

Winter Birds (first-third grades) 
The Sable River in Ludington State Park becomes a winter home for large populations of birds. Students discover why birds find this area such a popular spot to spend the whole winter season. Students can see birds up close and see some species that are not present during the summer. Students learn why these birds don't freeze their feet in the icy, cold river. Starting at the warming shelter, students get a brief introduction to winter birds using mounted specimens. The highlight of this program is a walk along the river to see the birds. Sorry, please do not feed the wild birds. We will explain why it is better not to feed "people food" to the birds.