Firsthand Learning Experiences

Our field trips are offered in a variety of outdoor learning spaces and are open to schools, scout groups, home-school groups, community organizations and more. Tour offerings are approximately 1.5-2 hours long, weather dependent, led by trained docents and can accommodate a variety of group sizes. 

Special 30-minute activities can be incorporated at no additional cost

Guided tours and hikes must be scheduled one month in advance. A minimum of 15 people required. A maximum of 125 participants allowed. Larger groups will be divided into 25 people per group.

Teachers, scout leaders and group leaders are FREE!
Fees are $3 per children and $5 per adult.

Tours can be extended beyond the initial 2 hours in 2-hour increments. For each additional 2 hours, students are an additional $3. There are no additional adult fees.

Taltree education staff offer guided hikes that can help fulfill scout badges.  These educational experiences vary in cost due to the supplies needed and lesson planning required.  Please email our  for more information!

If questions, please contact Youth Education Manager Ellen Kapitan at or (219) 462-0025.

Field Trip Options

Adventure Garden Tour

Dipper GourdTaltree’s newest garden hosts a variety of fun choices for visitors of all ages.  Students will learn about Seed to Table, in which they will explore a vegetable, fruit, and herb garden.  The Adventure Garden is also home to five unique breeds of Bantam chickens, some of which lay colored eggs, have blue ears and black skin, and beards! Other features include loose parts play areas in our miniature Oak Islands, Prairie ABC trail and a woodland path that leads to a hidden music garden.

Offered to grades K-8
Indiana Science Standards: K.1.1, K.1.2, K.2.3, K.3.1, K,.3.2, K.3.3, 1.3.3, 1.3.4, 3.2.5, 3.2.6, 3.3.1, 4.3.2, 4.3.4, 5.3.2, 6.3.4

Night Hikes

owlThese hikes are a great way to see how nature behaves, or not, at night. Nocturnal wildlife is elusive, but under the right circumstances it is possible to catch a glimpse into a world we would otherwise never know exists. Students and teachers will have the opportunity to learn about nocturnal animals, explore the 5 senses, and listen to creatures that roam during the night.

Only available on weeknights. Hikes are 45 minutes long and start between 5 pm and 8 pm, sunset dependent. A maximum of 25 people allowed; a minimum of 15. Groups must be chaperoned by at least two adults. Cost is a $1 more per student and adult. one group leader free.

Offered to grades 3-12
Indiana Science Standards: 4.3.2, 4.3.4, 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 5.2.3, 6.2.1, 6.2.2, 6.2.3, 6.2.4, 6.2.5, 6.3.2, 8.2.1, 8.2.8

Prairie Investigations Hike

Taltree is home to a vast tall grass prairie that once covered much of the Midwest. See the big and little bluestem grasses, Indian grass, and switchgrass. Look for purple coneflowers, rattlesnake master and black-eyed Susans. Learn about the animals living in the prairie, like white-tail deer, coyote, ground squirrels, voles, foxes and chipmunks. You might spot American goldfinch, bobolink, bobwhite, common grackle, dickcissel, eastern bluebird, grasshopper sparrow, pheasant, red-winged blackbird and northern cardinal. A prairie is a most interesting place, alive with diversity of flora and fauna.

Offered to grades K-8
Indiana Science Standards: K.1.1, K.1.2, K.2.3, K.3.1, K.3.2, K.3.3, 1.3.4, 3.3.1, 4.3.2, 4.3.4, 5.3.2, 6.3.3, 6.3.4

Taltree Railway Garden Tour

The Taltree Railway Garden is an outdoor G-scale (garden-scale) model railway garden that offers learning experiences in horticulture and history. The garden features 750 tons of limestone crafted into mountains, valleys and tunnels that support seven unique rail tracks where trains continually run through nine historical vignettes from the early steam era in U.S. history, including President Lincoln’s funeral, prairie towns, limestone quarries and the Civil War.

Offered to grades K-12
Indiana Education Standards: Middle and High School History

A Walk by the Wetlands Hike

Walk along Taltree’s Savanna Wetland and observe the beaver lodge and dam, spot geese families, and perhaps the Great Blue Heron. Learn about the restoration of this wetland and the wide range of plants and animals that live here. This field trip is ideal for younger students, but is applicable to all ages.

Offered to grades  K-8
Indiana Science Standards: K.1.1, K.1.2, K.2.3, K.3.1, K.3.2, K.3.3, 1.3.1, 1.3.4, 2.3.2, 3.3.1, 4.3.1, 4.3.2, 4.3.3, 4.3.4, 5.3.1, 5.3.2, 6.3.1, 6.3.3, 6.3.4

Winter Hike Expeditions

skunk cabbageStudents will hike and investigate our three ecosystems in the winter season! They will identify animal tracks and trees, look for scat, and play games in the snow!

Offered to  grades K-8
Indiana Science Standards: K.1.1, K.1.2, K.2.3, K.3.1, K.3.2, 1.3.1, 1.3.4, 1.3.5, 2.1.4, 4.3.3, 4.3.4, 5.3.1, 6.3.5

Woodland Exploration Hike

Shagbark HickoryJoin us to explore the Taltree woodlands surrounding the Heron Pond and along the Owl Trail. Learn the history of the woodlands and how to identify trees by their bark, leaves and fruit. We will see oak, hickory, aspen, hawthorn, cottonwood, black cherry and more. Depending upon the time of year you might see Jack in the pulpit, Trillium and violets.

Offered to  grades K-8
Indiana Science Standards: K.1.1, K.1.2, K.2.3, K.3.1, K.3.2, K.3.3, 1.3.4, 3.3.1, 4.3.1, 4.3.2, 4.3.3, 4.3.4, 5.3.1, 5.3.2, 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.3, 6.3.4