Curated for your group
ICG welcomes groups of all ages: school groups, homeschool groups, scouts, after-school programs, daycares, garden clubs, landscape designers, parks and public garden professionals, graduate students, play advocates, politicians, tourism bureaus, and more.
Interested in a field trip to ICG? Your first step is to complete the field trip request form.
Field Trip Programs
Wetland Explorers (K-5):
Wade in and explore the diversity of plants and animals that make their homes in ICG’s wetland habitats. With nets, containers, magnifiers, and field guides in tow, we’ll observe these creatures up close and see their unique adaptations at work.
Pollen and Parts (2-5):
Dive inside flowers to discover more than their beautiful facades. Dissect their unique structure and inner workings. Become a grain of pollen and figure out how to make your way by wind, animal, or insect to fulfill your mission of ensuring the futures of fruits, seeds, and all life on earth.
Compost Magic (PreK-5):
What’s going on in the deep, dark depths of the compost bin? Explore the kingdom of tiny creatures and crucial energy cycles that fuel the decomposition of organic matter in our world. Get your hands dirty turning and sifting and feeding the plants that grow in the Garden.
All 5 Senses (PreK-5):
Enter ICG’s Kitchen Garden and awaken your senses to the tastes, smells, textures, sounds, and sights within. We will use all our senses as we find the hidden rainbow growing, taste and smell herbs, discover why some stems are hairy, and listen out for the creatures hidden out of sight.
Animal Helpers: Bees & Hens (PreK-5):
Find out what all the buzzing and clucking are all about. Pet chickens, taste honey and learn how these two very different creatures help care for the Garden and how we care for them.
Purely Play (PreK-12):
Play is not just fun, it is critical to learning and healthy child development. Children also develop a relationship with nature through play. It’s that relationship that inspires our future environmental stewards. See what magic unfolds when children have time, space, and permission to play.
Service Learning (5-12)
Who says hard work can’t be fun? Bring your group on a service learning field trip at ICG to learn what it takes to maintain a public garden. Through hands-on work, youth will see the impacts of their labor and the value of teamwork. Project type change according to the specific needs of the Garden at the time of your visit.
Pre-registration is required. Payment is due at the time of your visit unless other arrangements have been made. Please use the field trip request form to express your interest in a field trip to ICG and request your preferred dates and program. (Buddy Up details below- this can be delineated on the form.)
Garden Field Trips: $8/student; no charge for adult chaperones
Buddy Up Field Trips (this special program through KDT includes a little less structured teaching time and more space for peer connections) 2 classrooms: $160
Self-Guided Field Trips are free (NO ICG staff involvement on site), but still require advanced registration.
If cost is a barrier to your group participating in field trips, please still fill out the form and ask about scholarship availability!
Please plan for a 2-4 hour field trip. We generally ask teachers to divide students into small groups for the activity portion of your field trip. Once scheduled, teachers will receive an informational email before the visit including a proposed itinerary, a map of the Garden, and background information for teachers and chaperones as well as information to share with parents and students.
Groups arrive at the Garden’s Main Entrance, enter through the purple gates, and gather in the Village Green. An ICG educator will welcome and orient your group to the Garden followed by a rotation of ~20-minute garden lesson(s)/exploration(s)/game(s). Groups are welcome to stay for as long as they’d like to explore, play, and picnic lunch.
Self-Guided Field Trip
Groups that would like to visit Ithaca Children’s Garden independently are welcome to do so. The Garden is open every day, from dawn to dusk. However, please complete the field trip request form so we can avoid scheduling conflicts and alert you to anything that may affect your trip, like construction projects, the status of restrooms, or special teachable moments.
“My students were very excited to have the opportunity to find, see, and touch living creatures in the compost, chicken coop, and in the creek. My students loved getting to eat outdoors and have unstructured playtime after the tour.” – ICSD teacher
“The Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone was absolutely a wonderful and surprising highlight. I loved watching my students come alive in that area!” – ICSD teacher
“I’ve been bringing my second and first-grade classes to ICG for the past 8 years. I am fortunate that it is an easy walk from Beverly J. Martin School. My goal in bringing the children is always very simple: go explore! We keep the majority of the time there unstructured. What do the kids do? Climb on the turtle and wonder at the relationship between shell sections and moons. (I always read them 13 Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Bruchac). Explore the frog pond…in GREAT detail. Head to the garden to munch. Run and roll in the grass. Follow the labyrinth. Create and imagine in the Anarchy Zone. Watch birds. Collect insects, worms, etc.
For many of my students, playing outside is not a given. Playing outside with lots of room to explore, create and grow is even less probable. Ithaca Children’s Garden provides us with a place to take teaching into the world. Our studies of life cycles, animal habitats and composting come alive. Many students report returning to the garden with their families following our school visits.” ~ 2nd-grade teacher, BJM Elementary