child on a school field trip

School Field Trips

The Highlands Center has provided quality school field trips for over 25 years.

Students, chaperones, and teachers should come prepared to be outside for the duration of the trip, regardless of weather. (Trips will be cancelled or rescheduled if weather is unsafe). Trips may include walking on uneven terrain for up to 1.5 miles.

If your group falls outside this definition, please contact us regarding Custom Programs.

Regardless of which topic you choose, all field trips include the following components: 

  • Formal lesson component designed by professional educators based on Arizona science standards and social/emotional and developmental milestones
  • Physical exploration and hike on our 80-acre site that encompass different plant/animal communities like woodlands, chaparral, meadows, and riparian areas
  • Facilitated reflection like journaling, crafting, or other quiet activities
  • All field trips begin at 9:30am.
  • All students will need to wear a backpack containing their own food and water. Hydration bladders (e.g. Camelbaks) with a pocket are encouraged. All students will stop for lunch on the trail about halfway through.
  • The program is entirely out on forest trails for the full three hours, and all participants will be outside walking on uneven terrain during this time. Notify Jessie if any accommodations are required for your students.
    • Grades Kinder – 2nd walk on our Stretch Pebble Trail, and our Homestead Trail #305, for a total of just over a third of a mile.
    • Grades 3 – 5 walk around our perimeter trail #442, which is about 1.25 miles long and goes down to Lynx Creek. It is a trail that does involve navigating some steep inclines and uneven terrain.
    • There are two composting toilets that are available for use.
    • Students stop for activities and lessons along the trail, and both groups get to do the same activities.

Below are the topics for K-5 field trips:

Home school field trip

Patterns in Nature

“Understanding life begins with understanding patterns” – Fritjof Capra

Nature takes a theme and runs with it, resulting in patterns all around us. This field trip teaches students the skills to notice patterns, then lays the groundwork to anticipate change and interpret natural phenomena.  This field trip focuses on physical science standards for K-5 students. Specifically, we’ll explore examples in the physics of light, sounds/vibrations, temperature, magnetism, and gravity in the natural world. Students learn that patterns are not only visual, but textural and auditory too. Patterns can be seen in animal markings and plant leaves, felt on rocks, and heard in the repeated rhythm of bird calls. Students will leave with a sense that patterns are not only seen, but experienced.

‘What Goes Up, Must Come Down’:

All About Erosion

This field trip offers the unique opportunity to get a ‘rocks eye view’ on weathering. Students will visit the highest and lowest places at the Highlands Center to get a broad perspective of how wind and water work to transport materials. Students will also explore how natural seasonal changes and human dimensions of the environment affect the cycles of erosion. This field trip focuses on earth science standards for K-4 students. Specifically, we’ll explore the role of wind and water in shaping the environment, how weather and climate affect our area, and the human impact on this process. Students will leave with an understanding of how earth materials are transported and an appreciation for how these processes help to define the Central Highlands landscape.

Elementary kids school field trips

Pricing and Registration

ParticipantPrice per Field Trip
Student (School has > 50% students on Title One)$5.00
Student (School has <  50% students on Title One)$10.00
Adult (teachers and chaperones)Free 1 for every 10 students, $12.00 after that

Highlands Center is committed to serving all students regardless of financial status. If pricing is a barrier, please call Jessica Manley Ewald at 928-776-9550.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Monthly News

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and special event announcements.

You have Successfully Subscribed!