Adult Field Trips

Our adult field trips are a great way to travel a little further afield and experience natural history first-hand with friends and family. Whether it’s a field trip with Highlands Center staff to a local nature preserve or a guided tour or presentation at a regional science or nature-related organization, we’re sure you will enjoy these special outings offered in the Spring and Fall. sdkfa;skjd

A Field Trip with Geologist Wayne Ranney to Montezuma Well, the Verde Valley and Sedona

Nearly five million people visit the Sedona area and they come mostly for the spectacular scenery, another word for geology! On this trip, we will have geologist extraordinaire Wayne Ranney to explain the varied and interesting story of how the Sedona area and the Verde Valley came to be. We will travel via coach with Wayne pointing out interesting landscape features along the way and our first stop at Montezuma Well where we will take a short walk. Next we stop at the US Forest Service Red Rock Visitor Center to learn how the Red Rocks were formed. The Sedona Airport Overlook provides a wide panoramic view of the Sedona area and here we will enjoy. We will next get a view of the House Mountain volcano where Wayne made a geologic map and interpreted the volcano’s history. Wayne will provide commentary for much of the journey.

Note: Wayne is the author of “Sedona Through Time,” and “Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau,” two books that have captivated readers about the landscape. 

Where: Highlands Center for Natural History (1375 South Walker Road)

When: October 3, 2019 : 8am – 4pm

Cost: $110 for field trip, 10% discount for members

Past Trips

Behind the Scenes at the Desert Botanical Garden

with Lee Atonna, Tina Wilson, and Dr. Shannon Felberg

The Desert Botanical Gardens is celebrating its 80th year of being a national leader in education, conservation, and research. This guided tour of this outstanding facility with Tina Wilson, Director of Horticulture, and Dr. Shannon Felberg, Conservation Biologist, demonstrated how DBG has remained at the forefront in horticulture and desert plant species research. Tour included stops at propagation greenhouses, Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics Laboratory, Herbarium, the Hazel Hare Center for Plant Science, and Learning Lab.

Tonto Natural Bridge

with Steve Van Slyke, Linda Stromquist, and Greg Horner

In November, we traveled to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park to explore one of Arizona’s unique geological features! Tonto Natural Bridge is the world’s largest travertine bridge and was created by an extraordinary combination of volcanism, sedimentation, erosion, and chemical reactions. Geologists Linda Stromquist and Greg Horner and Highlands Center Naturalist Steve Van Slyke guided our participants through geological history in this interactive field trip.

Behind the Scenes at Embry-Riddle Planetarium

with Eric Edelman

In June, we took a trip to the Embry-Riddle Planetarium!  The Jim & Linda Lee Planetarium is the only one in central and northern Arizona and offers an amazing 360 degree experience.  They provided a special showing and behind-the-scenes presentation to teach us more about what it can do and help us get up close and personal with the night sky.

Have questions about visiting the Planetarium?
Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions

Hassayampa River Preserve

with Eric Hough

In March, we took a guided tour of the Hassayampa River Preserve!  This 770 acre preserve presents a unique opportunity to experience a riparian oasis within the Sonoran desert.

For most of its 100-mile course through the desert, the Hassayampa River flows only underground. But within the preserve its crystal clear waters emerge, flowing above ground throughout the year. This lush streamside habitat is home to some of the desert’s most spectacular wildlife. Yet many of them have become dangerously imperiled as riparian areas have disappeared from the Arizona landscape.  -The Nature Conservancy

Butterfly Wonderland

with Adriane Grimaldi

In November, we took a behind-the-scenes tour of Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale with Education Director Adriane Grimaldi.  The trip began with an introduction to the organization by Adriane Grimaldi as well as a first-hand experience tagging a monarch to assist with the monarch tracking program!

Once inside the museum, we were able to travel virtually to Mexico to experience the monarch migration first hand with the help of some 3D glasses and their amazing short film, “Flight of the Butterflies.”  It was so beautiful!  You really had the sensation of being in the forest surrounded by butterflies.  From there, we visited the emergence gallery to see the butterflies emerging from their chrysalises and then the butterfly conservatory, where we were surrounded by so many different species of butterflies!

Participants had free time to explore the other galleries in the museum as well as the restaurants and stores that make up the Odysea in the Desert Complex before finally reboarding the bus to return to Prescott.


Museum of Northern Arizona

with Dr. Dave Gilette

In August, Dr. Dave Gilette gave us an insiders tour of the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, complete with stories of his early days as a paleontologist riding around in a pickup truck with dinosaur bones in the back.

Have you been to the museum to see the Therizinosaur skeleton?  Did you know that the first bone that was found in this skeleton was from one of the toes?  Or that it is believed that this dinosaur only ate plants despite coming from carnivorous ancestors?

We learned a lot about the discovery of the Therizinosaur and the evolution of paleontology in the American Southwest in this informative and educational trip.


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