Field Trips

In 2016 and 2017, our “Nature Education for All” grant from King Conservation District enabled us to provide free field trips for Seattle Public Schools with 35% or more of their students receiving free or reduced-fee lunches.  In total, over 1200 second and third grade students from 55 classes received free field trips through this program, which is now completed, but we hope to find funding to continue it in the future.

Birds of Magnuson field trip: "Nature's Grocery Store" activity

Birds of Magnuson field trip includes the “Nature’s Grocery Store” activity

Registration is now open for the Fall 2017 field trip season: 


Each of our field trips is a guided nature science adventure, filled with age-appropriate investigation and exploration for grades K-5.  All our field trip activities are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, which you can view at the links below each field trip description.

90-minute field trips:
After a warm welcome and introduction to the field trip theme for the whole class, students will divide into 3 groups that rotate through activities at three “nature stations”, plus a simple stewardship activity that reinforces the concepts and vocabulary that they have learned.   Teachers can chose from 3 different field trip themes, each held in a different part of the park:
Wetland Discoveries: "Dip like a Duck" activity

Wetland Discoveries and Habitat Connections field trips include pond water investigation activities!


  • “Wetland Discoveries”– visit the Magnuson Central Wetlands trails to  learn about this amazing ecosystem and the wide variety of wildlife that inhabits it!   At the “Water Wonders” nature station, children will examine pond water samples to discover the aquatic insects and other creatures that live in this underwater world;  at the “Animal Signs” nature station, children will learn about the food chain of the wetlands by looking for tell-tale signs left behind by birds, frogs, insects, and mammals; and at the “Wetland Homes” nature station, children will take a short hike to learn the 4 basic needs of all wildlife, and how the wetlands provides each of them.

Wetland Discoveries NGSS Correlations K-2

Wetland Discoveries NGSS Correlations 3-5

  • “Birds of Magnuson”– visit the Promontory Point Educational Pavilion in Magnuson’s oldest forested area, which provides a safe haven for many of the 185+ species of birds who live or visit this fabulous park, from Hummingbirds to Hawks, and more! At the “Owl Extravaganza” nature station, children will learn what makes this specialized predator so successful and dissect pellets from our resident Barn Owls; at the “Nature’s Grocery Store” nature station, children will go on a short hike to learn about the varied diets of the foraging birds in the park, and at the “Bird Nest Bounty” nature station, children will examine a variety of songbird nests and build a nest of their own with the same “tools” that birds use!

Birds-of-Magnuson NGSS Correlations K-2

Birds-of-Magnuson NGSS Correlations 3-5

Life in the Garden: "Snack Walk" activity

Life in the Garden field trip includes the ever-popular “Snack Walk” activity!


  • “Life in the Garden”– dig into nature at the Magnuson Children’s Garden and P-Patch to learn about the secret world beneath our feet and the plants we eat!  At the “Digging into Decomposition” nature station, children will examine worms and other compost critters that live in our worm bin and log pile, at the “Perfect Plant Protection” nature station, children will take a scratch-and-sniff tour of the garden to learn about the special features some plants have to prevent being eaten by animals, and at the “Snack Walk” nature station, children will have the chance to taste and plant a variety of crops growing in the healthy soil of our organic P-Patch plot!

Life in the Garden NGSS Correlations K-2

Life in the Garden NGSS Correlations 3-5


Two-hour field trip: 

We also offer a longer, more advanced field trip for 3rd – 5th grade classes!  Available in spring only.

  • “Habitat Connections”– This field trip begins in the Magnuson Historic District, which is like a little neighborhood within the park’s natural areas.  After a warm welcome and introduction to the field trip theme for the whole class at Magnuson Community Center, students will divide into 3 groups that rotate through activities at “nature stations” in the center’s two demonstration gardens:  The Resource Conservation Landscape and the Bird-friendly Landscape.  Then each group takes a hike down the route of the “underground river” that brings storm water from the Historic District down into the Headwaters and Entry Marsh Wetlands,  learning and observing the connections between the habitats in these very different areas!  During this unique field trip, children will also learn about the ways their own neighborhood is linked to Lake Washington at the “Where Does the Rain Go?” nature station, learn how healthy soil and plants filter storm water in the “Pollution Nabbers” game, do soil coring from multiple areas to compare and contrast, learn the ingredients of a healthy habitat by playing “Habitat Bingo”, and discover the linked life cycles of the plants, insects, birds, and animals in the wetlands at the “Dip like a Duck” nature station!

Habitat Connections NGSS Correlations 3-5


Stewardship activities are fun too!

Stewardship activities are fun too!

What teachers have to say:

  • “As a Montessori class, we appreciated the hands-on, kinesthetic activities and the docents’ calm tone and questioning teaching style. Thanks for being different”.  Ms. Becker, 1st-3rd grade at Eton School


  • “The adults leading the explorations stations were very knowledgeable.  This is our 3rd year of field trips, and it is always a very beneficial and enjoyable experience for all!”  Ms. Gonzales and Ms Salber, 2nd grade at Assumption/St Bridget School


  • “Thank you so much for the great field trip.  The 3 hands-on nature stations were perfect!  My students’ learning was greatly enhanced by the three activities, and I loved how writing was integrated into the Nature’s Grocery Store station.” Ms. Smith, 1st grade at Queen Anne Elementary


  • “Emily and the other Nature Educators are extremely knowledgeable about the amazing wetlands of Magnuson Park, and how to protect this beautiful park. Even more impressive than their knowledge and passion for the environment is their kind and inspiring rapport with students. Their fine program inspired me to completely change my spring science unit. I have taken what I learned from Emily on a field trip two years ago and built an entire wetlands science unit that addresses everything the Habitat Connections Field Trip Program teaches. My Wetlands Exploration unit addresses the plants, animals, water, insects, pollutants and history of Magnuson Park Wetlands, all first taught to me by Emily. Thank you Magnuson Park Field Trip Program!”  Ms. Smith, 2nd grade at Sand Point Elementary


Field Trip Schedule and Details:
  • Fall 2017 field trips can be booked for mornings or early afternoons between Sept 18th- October 6th.


  • We recognize that not all schools begin and end their day at the same time, so are somewhat flexible with our field trip start times.


  • Kindergarten chaperone requirements: Minimum of 1 chaperone per 6 students, maximum of 1 chaperone per 3 students


  • 1st to 5th grade chaperone requirements: Minimum of 1 chaperone per 8 students, maximum of 1 chaperone per 4 students



Field Trip Leaders:  Magnuson Nature Programs Director Emily Bishton, other environmental education staff, and Magnuson Nature Docents


Fee for any of the three 90-minute field trips:
  • $175.00 for the first 20 children, plus $7 per additional child (no fee for Teachers and Parent Chaperones)
Fee for a two-hour field trip:
  • $235.00 for the first 20 children, $9.50 per additional child (no fee for Teachers and Parent Chaperones)


For more information on any of these field trips, or to choose a field trip date for your group, email us at!
Looking for a nature adventure for a smaller or younger group? Visit our Custom Nature Walks page to find information about these walks, which are perfect for preschools, scout and campfire groups, birthday events, family events, and more!