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Field Trips - School Year

A group of children visit the OAC on a field trip

Field Trips - School Year

Field trips to the Outdoor Adventure Center are the perfect combination of education and fun for all ages, from preschool through high school! Check out all of our available options below.

General information:

Fee: General admission for groups of 20 or more is $2 per person (both children and adults).

Lunch: There is a cafeteria area for groups to have lunch. Space is not reserved; we recommend that chaperones eat with their group of six as space allows. We have a limited number of carts to secure your bag lunches - no refrigeration or microwaves are available.

Supervision: The building is best experienced in small groups. We require one adult chaperone to accompany every six children throughout the OAC. Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Active and engaged supervision is required.

Field trip application form »

Financial assistance opportunities:

Grants may be available to cover transportation. Visit the sites to review eligibility:


Educational programming add-on:

For an additional $2 per student, you may choose to add a classroom experience to your visit. All programs include background information, age-appropriate activities and hands-on learning components meeting teaching standards for Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and Next Generation Science.

Please indicate your program selection on the field trip application form.

  • The following programs are for preschool students.

    Animal ABCs (30 minutes)

    Practice letters and spelling with Michigan wildlife! Learn about Michigan species and the differences between mammals, birds and reptiles through stories, rhymes, and hands-on exploration of their characteristics featuring a few of the OAC's live animals. We'll also discuss differences between wild and domestic animals.

    Maximum 20 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Forest Friends (30 minutes)

    Trees are important for everyone! We'll discover which Michigan animals live in trees, how they use trees and why our forests are such an important habitat. Students will participate in a fun forest animal story and use hands-on exploration with a mix of puppets and real specimens to observe some unique forest animal characteristics up close.

    Maximum 20 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Pond Pals (30 minutes)

    What is a pond? And who lives there? We will read a story, practice spelling the names of some of our favorite common pond animals, describe what they look like and figure out why they are so well-suited for living in or around ponds. Students will get a chance to feel some real fur or feathers of our pond pals and even dress up like a very special pond-loving animal in this exciting, interactive program.

    Maximum 20 students
    Cost: $2 per student

  • The following programs are for students in kindergarten through second grade.

    Bird is the Word (45 minutes)

    What makes a bird, a bird? In this program, we will explore what makes birds stand out from other classes of animals. Students will learn what birds eat, where they live, and get some up-close looks at the adaptations and features of birds that help them to survive in their habitats. Students will practice identifying which birds are well suited for different activities or environments and will have an opportunity to design their very own bird!

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    F is for Fish (45 minutes)

    Fish are made of fins, tails, scales and so much more! We'll learn the parts of a fish and what each is used for with a fun game, and we will discover why fish have different body shapes and colors and practice identifying those features. We will end with each student designing their very own fish!

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Flight of the Butterfly (45 minutes)

    Butterflies and moths are an enjoyable sight in any landscape! They come in all different sizes and colors, and different traits make them look intimidating or camouflage them completely. We will learn about what makes butterflies and moths insects throughout the stages of metamorphosis with an interactive activity and get a close-up look at different butterfly and moth specimens!

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Life in a Pond (45 minutes)

    What lives in a pond? We will explore the wildlife species in a pond habitat and how their characteristics help them meet their basic needs. We will use movement, modeling and hands-on exploration to learn about these Michigan wetland species.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    To Be a Tree (45 minutes)

    Trees are in the forest and parks and our own backyards! Learn about the parts of a tree, how trees change with the seasons and how they provide more than just shade for us. A interactive activity will have students working together to compare and contrast different leaf samples.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Wild in Michigan (45 minutes)

    All animals have the same basic survival needs - food, water, shelter, and space - the components that make up a habitat. We'll take a closer look at several Michigan wildlife species from mammals to birds to reptiles, and we'll compare and contrast some of their specific habitat needs using hands-on discovery and exploration.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student

  • The following programs are for students in third through fifth grade.

    Avian Antics (1 hour)

    What makes a bird different from other animals? In this program we will learn the characteristics and adaptations that make birds special, as well as how to identify different families and species of birds. We will also explore these species' roles in the food web, and why each role is an important component in the system. Students will work in groups to identify different bird species and design their own food web.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    City Slickers (1 hour)

    Wildlife is found everywhere, including right here in Detroit! We will look at some adaptable urban mammals and birds and the unique characteristics they have that allow them to thrive in our city. We will also learn the importance of keeping our urban wildlife wild!

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Great Lakes Invaders (1 hour)

    What does it mean to be invasive? How are invasive species in the Great Lakes different from our native species? We'll answer these questions and more while we introduce several of our Great Lakes invaders through a group discussion activity. Then we'll meet one of our most destructive invaders - the sea lamprey. Through a modelling activity, we'll demonstrate the impact that sea lamprey have had on our native species populations.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Mammal Mania (1 hour)

    Is it a predator or prey? What does it eat? How do we know? We'll answer these and other questions about some common Michigan mammals by observing skulls, teeth and pelts up close. We'll also explore these species' roles in the food web, and why each role is an important component in the system. Students will work in groups to identify species and design their own food web.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Michigan Rocks! (1 hour)

    It may seem crazy to think that Michigan's Lower Peninsula was once covered by a shallow, warm, tropical sea, with coral and other ocean creatures abounding - but it was! We'll travel back to the Devonian period, when Michigan's environment was quite different; we will examine the processes that took place to make and shape what we now call the Michigan Basin. Activities will include hands-on identification of rocks, minerals and fossils specific to the Michigan Basin.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Trappers and Traders (1 hour)

    Detroit was founded in 1701 as a fur-trading post in the wilderness. We'll explore how the abundant natural resources of the Detroit River shaped our local history, and discover the roles of Native Americans and the French Voyageurs during the era of the fur trade here in Michigan and the Great Lakes.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Tree-mendous Trees (1 hour)

    Whether it's a tree in your backyard or one in a forest, trees are important resources that improve our lives! Learn more about the different parts of trees and some characteristics that will help you tell them apart. We will discuss the many things trees provide for wildlife and provide to us. Trees aren't immune to pests, so we will also discuss the invasive species affecting our trees. Students will work through different stations, learning about topics from seed dispersal and aging trees to tree identification.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Wetland Investigations (1 hour and 30 minutes)

    Only available April, May, June and October. During this outdoor program, students will visit the wetland area at Milliken State Park to discuss and observe the characteristics and benefits of wetland habitats for people and for wildlife. We will explore what kinds of wildlife reside in our local wetland, and students will conduct water quality monitoring tests through a macroinvertebrate search, pH test and dissolved oxygen test.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student

  • The following programs are for students in sixth through eighth grade.

    Michigan Forest Food Webs (1 hour)

    There is more to a forest than meets the eye! From soil microbes to insects to large mammals and everything in between, each member of this biodiverse ecosystem has an important role to play. Using the Michigan deciduous forest as a model, we'll meet some of the species that rely on this ecosystem, and construct a food web to show the movement of energy. We'll wrap up with a fun activity that demonstrates the importance of each trophic level in the system.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Migration Science featuring the Southeast Michigan Osprey (1 hour)

    Bird migration is an absolutely incredible feat, but to make the journey, migratory birds still require the basic needs - food, water, shelter and space - as they migrate. How do birds know where to fly? How do they know where to stop for food and rest? How have humans impacted bird migration over the last several decades? We'll answer these questions and more as we take a closer look at one local migratory species - the osprey. We'll track the migratory journeys of actual osprey and see how local biologists have used technology to track their migration.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Story of the Sea Lamprey: Our Great Lakes Vampire (1 hour)

    Did you know there is an invasive "vampire" living in the Great Lakes? Come hear the story of the most destructive invasive species to enter the Great Lakes and what has been done to remove them. We'll use real data and problem-solving to take a look at how agencies are currently managing sea lamprey numbers. You may even have an opportunity to meet this fascinating species up close!

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Story of the Sturgeon: A Detroit River Fossil (1 hour)

    Lake sturgeon are sometimes called a "living fossil" - they've been on the planet since the days of the dinosaurs! Hear the story of these long-lived giants of the Detroit River - what makes them unique, why their numbers declined and what is being done to bring them back. We'll use real data and habitat restoration projects happening here in the Detroit River to tell their story - you might even have an encounter with live lake sturgeon!

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Wetland Investigations (1 hour and 30 minutes)

    Only available April, May, June and October. During this outdoor program, students will visit the wetland area at Milliken State Park to discuss and observe the characteristics and benefits of wetland habitats for people and for wildlife. We will explore what kinds of wildlife reside in our local wetland, and students will conduct water quality monitoring tests through a macroinvertebrate search, pH test and dissolved oxygen test.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student

  • The following programs are for students in ninth through 12th grade.

    Story of the Sea Lamprey: Our Great Lakes Vampire (1 hour)

    Did you know there is an invasive "vampire" living in the Great Lakes? Come hear the story of the most destructive invasive species to enter the Great Lakes and what has been done to remove them. We'll use real data and problem solving to take a look at how agencies are currently managing sea lamprey numbers. You may even have an opportunity to meet this fascinating species up close!

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Story of the Sturgeon: A Detroit River Fossil (1 hour)

    Lake sturgeon are sometimes called a "living fossil" - they've been on the planet since the days of the dinosaurs! Hear the story of these long-lived giants of the Detroit River - what makes them unique, why their numbers declined and what is being done to bring them back. We'll use real data and habitat restoration projects happening here in the Detroit River to tell their story - you might even have an encounter with live lake sturgeon!

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    Wetland Investigations (1 hour and 30 minutes)

    Only available April, May, June and October. During this outdoor program, students will visit the wetland area at Milliken State Park to discuss and observe the characteristics and benefits of wetland habitats for people and for wildlife. We will explore what kinds of wildlife reside in our local wetland, and students will conduct water quality monitoring tests through a macroinvertebrate search, pH test and dissolved oxygen test.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student


    White-tailed Deer … Coming to a Neighborhood Near You! (1 hour)

    Have you been seeing more of Michigan's state mammal in your community? You're not alone! Numbers of white-tailed deer have gone up significantly in recent years - especially in our cities and suburbs. Join us to take a look at the reasons behind this increase, its ecological impact and the unique challenges this mammal has created for citizens, municipalities and wildlife managers in Michigan's urban areas.

    Maximum 30 students
    Cost: $2 per student