Bring your students to experience hands-on learning and connect with nature through our free Discovery Field Trips at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. All field trips extend the life science concepts that you teach in your classroom. Curriculum based, they correlate with the Alabama State Course of Study and are aligned with the National Science Education Standards. For Kindergarten-6th grades Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. Each field trip is one hour and is designed for approximately 25 students. You may bring two classes, or up to 50 students. Each half will spend one hour on a field trip and one hour exploring The Gardens with our instructional scavenger hunt.
The Secret Life of Trees (September-November & January-May)
- Discover the life cycle of a tree and earn a tree detective badge.
- Count annual growth rings on "tree cookies".
- Compare tree bark and leaf shapes.
- Investigate a fallen log.
Alabama Woodlands (October-November & March-May)
- 1st-6th grades
- Discover how animals need plants as well as ways woodland plants depend on animals: interdependence!
- Search the Barber Alabama Woodlands and find evidence of all kinds of creatures who live there.
Native American (October-November & March-May)
- 1st-6th grades
- Identify varieties of plants used by Native Americans for food, medicine, ceremonies, travel, and shelters.
- Observe different farming methods used by Native Americans including a Three Sisters Garden.
- Photograph your students in an Indian dugout canoe.
Dr. George Washington Carver (September-November)
- 1st-6th grades
- Examine Dr. Carver's life and his unique contributions to science.
- Simulate the nitrogen cycle through an interactive game.
- Harvest peanuts, sweet potatoes and cotton in The Gardens to take back to class.
- Identify edible plants.
Garden Gates Workshop (January-February)
- 3rd-5th grades
- Enhances the science curriculum for 3rd-5th grade students.
- Students identify basic parts of a plant and their functions: roots, stems, leaves and flowers.
- Students pot a 3-cell pack using different propagation methods: seed, cutting, and division.
- Every teacher plants a paper-white bulb for the class to grow.
Tropical Rain Forest (March-May)
- 1st-6th grades
- Explore our Conservatory and discover plants from which we get chocolate, coffee, lemons, and bananas, to name a few!
- Find and describe six different plant adaptations for survival in a tropical rain forest.
Now Preschool and High School teachers can get their students involved at The Gardens. Teachers check out a free Discovery Backpack complete with a teacher guide (designed by educators) and materials you will need to lead your students on a field trip at Birmingham Botanical Gardens as they discover life science concepts related to plants and the environment. Correlated with curriculum. Available year round | Monday-Friday | Free | Contact 205.414.3953 to reserve your activity. Or, click here to submit an online reservation.
Preschool Discovery Backpack
Visit Southern Living Garden throughout the seasons exploring through the senses.
• Based on the Alabama Performance Standards for 4 year olds.
• Explore seasons at The Gardens through color, texture, scent, and sound.
• Identify The Gardens as home for plants and animals.
• Use a magnifier to investigate.
• Exercise skills for science including observation and communication.
High School Discovery Backpack
Teams trek our Big Tree Trail as they gain hands on experience identifying trees native to Alabama; making the most of time in the field surrounded by living plant material.
• Based on Alabama Course of Study, Science, 9-12, Biology 1, 9, 10 and Alabama Course of Study, Science, 9-12, Botany Elective 1.
• Investigate trees, including those native to Alabama, and parts of trees, for guided identification using a dichotomous key.
a.) Use scientific tools to make observations and record data.
• Gain familiarity with use of botanical names by recording accurately.
• Discover physical adaptations of trees.
• Identify characteristics of trees to later, through more research, classify as (monocots/dicots; angiosperms/gymnosperms; vascular/non-vascular).
• Collaborate with a team to exercise skills for science including observation, communication, classifying, measuring, predicting, and inferring.
Learn more about how Discovery Field Trips connect to the Alabama State Course of Study!
Reserve your Discovery Field Trip at least TWO WEEKS in advance. Contact 205.414.3953 to schedule your field trip. Or, click here to request a field trip.
This is only a request; you will be contacted by our staff to confirm your field trip. Birmingham City Schools: Save your bus receipt! The Junior League of Birmingham will fund bus transportation for 2 classes, or 50 children, for Birmingham Botanical Gardens' field trips.
- The Gardens' Discovery Field Trip Objectives
- The Gardens' Library Teacher Resource Center
- Tuskegee Univeristy: Carver Tribute
What teachers are saying about our Discovery Field Trips
100% of responding teachers say they would recommend our field trips to others!
"Hands-on, very interactive, students involved, children were interested in all activities."
"Relates to Alabama Course of Study."
"Subject matter matched class work."
"Excellent to teach science objectives."
"Aligns with our curriculum."
"Excellent: right on grade level, great outdoor science lesson."
"Docents excellent, exciting and motivating to children."
"Every child should have this experience."
Programs for Scouts
Girl Scouts earn their “Plants Try-It” badge during their visit to The Gardens! Leaders check out a kit including a troop leaders’ guide and materials to complete requirements on site. Birmingham Botanical Gardens patches are available. Available Monday-Friday 3- 5 p.m. | Saturday 10-noon and 1-3 p.m. | Sunday 2-4 p.m. | $10 per troop material fee | Contact 205.414.3953 to reserve your activity. Or, click here to submit an online reservation.
• Based on “Try It” requirements for Brownie Girl Scouts.
• Plant a variety of seeds including flowering plants, herbs and vegetables you can take home to experience the excitement of seed germination and plant growth.
• Investigate leaves through a game and art.
• Discover Bruno Vegetable Garden and more.
• Take a closer look at simple plants living near and within water.
Meet The Gardens: A Treasure Map
Before your visit to The Gardens, make sure to download our Treasure Map as your guide to discover highlights of our living collection. Designed for all ages to enjoy. Great for children’s groups and families. Based on Alabama Course of Study, Science. Curriculum resources are available per teachers’ request. Monday-Sunday | Free
Download your treasure map by clicking on the image above.