Field Trip Program Offerings

Field Trips to the Belle Isle Nature Center are FREE! These engaging visits are designed to be hands-on experiences in science and place-based environmental education, while building a connection with nature. Please complete the Group Visit Request Form below to begin planning your field trip.

We recommend a 1:10 chaperone to student ratio for field trips to the Belle Isle Nature Center. 

Please note each vehicle — including charter buses (school buses are exempt) — will need a Recreation Passport to enter the island. They are available at the entry booth or island headquarters for $13 for the year. 

For information about grants for field trips to the Belle Isle Nature Center and other natural areas in Michigan, click here.


Nature Tots
Grades: Toddler – PreK; 45 minutes

What shapes can you find in the clouds? What’s the recipe for the perfect mud pie? Can you paint without a paintbrush? Questions like these and more will be answered in Nature Tots, a sensory-rich exploration of the natural world for children ages 2 to 4 years old and their caregivers. Each session is designed to support early learning with stories, crafts, movement and adventures in nature.

Guided Nature Center Tour
Grades: All Ages; 45 minutes

Enjoy a guided tour of the newly renovated Belle Isle Nature Center with Nature Center educators or volunteers. Large habitats throughout the Nature Center feature species of turtles, snakes and amphibians who call Detroit home. Interactive exhibits such as a bird viewing window and an indoor bee hive provide a close encounter with local wildlife. This experience can be added to another program.

Self-Guided Nature Center Tour
Grades: All Ages; 45 minutes

Take a trip around the Belle Isle Nature Center with your school’s teachers and chaperones. The Belle Isle Nature Center’s signs and interactive exhibits provide a great guide to explore the Nature Center for students of all ages. This program can be added to another Nature Center program.

Please contact us to book this field trip before arrival so we can greet your class with a warm welcome. We are happy to provide supplemental materials for your visit.

Nature Hike
Grades: All Ages; 45-90 minutes

Get ready for an outdoor adventure! The Belle Isle Nature Center provides an introductory hike for learners of all ages to become familiar with local plants and animals. Extend your learning outside the classroom with this exploration of a nature oasis in Detroit. This experience is available year-round if you are dressed for the weather! This program can be modified and given a theme based on student interest and class curriculum.

Animal Homes
Grades: Early Elementary; 45 minutes

Have you ever wondered what’s inside an animal’s home? Take a journey outside to observe animal homes and learn how animals change the environment to meet their basic needs. Participants will also design and create their own animal homes using materials found in nature.

Insect Encounter
Grades: Elementary; 60 minutes

Turn over rocks, carefully observe a small patch of grass or see what’s buzzing about as you go on an insect adventure. How many different species will you identify while visiting? Learn the characteristics of a true insect and how they adapt to the seasons.

Animal Signs Hike
Grades: Elementary – Middle; 90 minutes

Nashua Canal travels through a wet woodland populated by beavers, deer and birds. This experience focuses on animal signs and includes a visit to an active beaver lodge along the canal. Students will learn about the adaptations animals use for survival, spot evidence of animal activity and experience a wet woodland ecosystem.

Pollinator Celebration
Grades:Elementary-Middle; 60 minutes

Participants will learn about the importance of pollinators for plants, humans and more! Investigate the Belle Isle Nature Center’s native pollinator garden, examine adaptations of pollinators and flowers and encounter the Belle Isle Nature Center’s honeybees and native bees.

Water Quality
Grades: Older Elementary and up; 75 minutes

Students will venture outside to nearby bodies of water in search of aquatic animals. Using humane procedures, they will catch and identify the animals they find and then draw conclusions about the health of the ecosystem. This program may get a little muddy!
This program is offered between May and October.

Ecosystem Inventory
Grades: Middle School; 90 minutes

What makes one ecosystem different from another? Using data collection and scientific tools, students will investigate the physical and biological aspects of different areas on Belle Isle and then compare their findings. A guided hike will provide participants with exposure to nearby ecosystems such as wetlands, woodlands and prairies.

Mudpuppy Survey Field Experience
Grades: High School; 75 minutes

Collect data and draw conclusions while learning about the mudpuppy, the Detroit River’s unique aquatic salamander. This field trip is a data collection and analysis experience that utilizes field science procedures the Detroit Zoological Society Amphibian Team uses while studying the Belle Isle mudpuppy population (offered Nov-Feb).

Program Time Grade Level
Nature Tots 45 minutes Ages 2-4 years old
Guided Nature Center Tour 45 minutes All Ages
Self-Guided tour 30-60 minutes All Ages
Nature Hike 45 – 90 minutes All Ages
Animal Homes 45 minutes Elementary
Insect Encounter 60 minutes Elementary
Animal Signs Hike 90 minutes Elementary – Middle
Pollinator Celebration 60 minutes Elementary – Middle
Ecosystem Inventory 90 minutes Middle – High
Water Quality 75 minutes Elementary – High
Mudpuppy Survey Field Experience 75 minutes High


Group Visit Request Form