February 2017 Homeschool Day. Students planting terrariums to take home. Photo by Ivory House Photography

Students & Teachers

Interested in helping your students grow their love of nature? Consider a field trip to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Students will be engaged in fun hands-on learning while exploring plants and growing their science skills. We offer interdisciplinary tours and programs aligned with the Iowa Core, Next Generation Science Standards and local curricula for grades Pre-K-High School.  Programs are offered Sept. to May.

Schedule a Field Trip

Please fill out this reservation form to request a program.

Reservations will be confirmed within three business days and must be booked two weeks in advanced. Programs are offered Sept. to May. 

Guided Programs (Minimum of 8 Students)                       Independent Study (Minimum of 10 students)
$5.00 per student                                                                     $3.00 per student 
$0.00 per chaperones (in 1:8 ratio)                                          $0.00 per chaperones (in 1:8 ratio) 
$5.00 per chaperone (outside ratio)                                         $5.00 per chaperone (outside ratio)

Add On: Guided tours are available to add on to your field trip program for an additional $3 each. 

Important Field Trip documents:

If you have further questions, please contact the Youth Education Coordinator at education@dmbotanicalgarden.com or 515.402.4273.

Student Field Trip Programs

 Information about each field trip program is below or for a PDF document check out our School Field Trip Catalog. Programs are offered Sept. to May.

Petals & Pages

In order for curious minds to bloom, it is essential to plant a love of reading at a young age. According to the National Education Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, students that are read to at a younger age have higher success rates in school, increased vocabulary skills, better developed imaginations and more. In Petals & Pages, we combine Houghton Mifflin PRE-K curriculum with garden related stories and activities to immerse children in literacy and plant science. Join us for this fun and educational story time. (Pre-K-K)

Reading Schedule | Petals & Pages Standards

The Scoop on Soil

Sand, silt, clay and worms, Oh My! Soil is everywhere and is more than the ground under your feet. In this lesson, students will investigate soil’s various parts, discover that not all soil is the same and learn why soil is important to people. Designed to complement local Pebbles, Sand and Silt units, this lesson promises that students will get their hands dirty as they dig deep into the world of soil. (K-4th)

The Scoop on Soil K-4th Standards

Pollinator Palooza

Flowers aren’t just pretty, they also serve an important purpose. In this plant parts lesson, students will uncover the inner workings of flowers and the functions of their parts by dissecting their own flower. From there students will then be engaged in fun stories, demonstrations and games as they learn about pollinator preferences and pollen transfer in our conservatory and outdoor gardens. Get your class ready to buzz like the bees as they discover the antics and magic of pollination. (K-5th)

Pollinator Palooza K-2nd Standards | Pollinator Palooza 3rd-5th Standards

Ecosystems on the Edge

To understand our world, one must understand how the ecosystems interact with each other. The world has many different ecosystems and each has their own unique biotic and abiotic factors. In this lesson, students will discover the difference between biomes and ecosystems, the two biomes we have in the conservatory, what charactersitc's plants (specifically the orchid) needs to thrive in the ecosystems they live in, and how symbiotic relationships work in the plant world. (3rd-8th)

Ecosystems on the Edge 3rd-5th Standards | Ecosystems on the Edge 6th-8th Standards

Wonders of Water

Water is important for every living thing! Dive into the world of water and learn what water is made of, how valuable the finite resource is and ways the living world uses it. Students will use their investigative skills and test different water samples including the Des Moines River, the Botanical Water Garden and tap water. Schools can also bring their own water sample to test. After the water tests, students will create a filter using natural materials to remove sediment and other debris from water. This program is seasonally offered during the months of Sept. thru Nov. and March thru May. Limited to groups of 25 at one time. (6th-12th)

Wonders of Water 6th-12th Standards

Guided Tour

This 45 minute guided tour will included opportunities for you and your students to learn about the garden in a whole different way. Botanical Garden educational staff or volunteers will lead an interactive walking tour of the conservatory and outdoor gardens (weather permitting). Besides learning the history of the Botanical Garden, tour groups will have the opportunity to explore and interact with different exhibits while participating in a scavenger hunt along the way. (All Grades)

Independent Study

In this unguided experience, educators have the opportunity to visit the Botanical Garden and deliver their own content. This is perfect for educators who wish to bring in students for drawing, photography, and other educationally-related field trips. Classes that participate in Independent Study programs receive their own 90 minute period without distraction from other schools. Other visitors may be present. Teachers are permitted to use their own lessons and materials. Please discuss the specifics of your Independent Study with our Youth Education Coordinator to learn how you can lead an Independent Study with your class. (All Grades)


Outreach Opportunities

Can’t make it to the Botanical Garden? Let us come to you! One of our educators will lead a fun, engaging program for your students. All programs meet state and national standards and involve a take-home component. Programs are offered Tuesday through Thursday from Sept. to May. 

Limit 30 students per program, Minimum of 10 students. Travel outside a 10 mile radius from the garden is $0.54/mile.

Fill out the reservation form here.

A Garden Exploration

Using songs, stories and plants each student will learn about the senses and plant an edible herb to take home. (Pre-K-K) ($70/program)

A Garden Exploration Standards 

The Seedy Side of Plants

Explore the concept of seed dispersal and learn about the ways plants have evolved to disperse its seeds. Students will dissect a seed and plant a seed to take home. (1st-3rd) ($70/program)

The Seedy Side of Plants Standards

Tropical Terrariums

How can plants live in a closed container? Find out through this hands-on workshop about the water cycle and plant your own terrarium to take home. (4th-6th) ($100/program)

Tropical Terrariums Standards


If more than one program is booked the same day at the same location, the additional programs will be $50 per program, except Tropical Terrariums which will be $100 for the first program and $80 for the additional programs.

Want to stay up-to-date on school field trip offerings? Sign-up to be part of our list serve here.