Nature Discovery (Field Trips & Outreach)

Nature Discovery Field Trips provide students with the opportunity to experience science and nature at its finest, exploring the many seasonal wonders of nature at Lincoln Marsh. Educators lead classes on exciting, fun filled adventures in hands-on discovery and exploration.

Can’t come to Lincoln Marsh? Let us bring a little nature to you. Invite an educator from the Lincoln Marsh to visit your classroom for a fun-filled, hands-on outreach program. We will need you to provide an area for our educator to set up program supplies. An area large enough for the students to sit in a half circle is preferred. If you don’t have a space to meet, please contact the Lincoln Marsh office to make arrangements.

Our programs are designed to be as hands on as possible and are therefore intended for individual classrooms/small groups. Home school groups welcome! If you don’t see what you’re looking for, give us a call! We’ll do our best to design or adapt a program to meet your goals.

Programs support Next Generation Science Standards. Click here for details.

Group Size

  • Maximum 30 participants/program 

Program Length

  • 45 minutes-1 hour


  • Field Trips
    • In Wheaton/Dist. 200: $4.75/participant (min. $71.25/program)
    • Out of Wheaton/Dist. 200: $6.00/participant (min. $90.00/program)
  • Outreach
    • In Wheaton/Dist. 200: $95/program ($85/additional program*)
    • Out of Wheaton/Dist. 200: $120/program ($110 additional program*) plus travel fee based on distance
      * Additional programs are those scheduled less than 30 minutes after the preceding program.
  • Add a Campfire
    • $40 for 1 hour

Mouse Walk (Preschool-Kindergarten) *NGSS K

Magically transform into field mice! Through games, role-play, and a short hike, we’ll use our senses and imagination to discover what mice need to survive.

Terrific Trees (Preschool-1st Grade) *NGSS 1st

Discover how terrific trees really are! We’ll learn the parts of a tree and how trees can be homes for
animals then go on a hike to see how many different trees we can find.

Sensory Hike (Preschool-2nd grade)

Take a walk on the wild side! Through creative hands-on activities we’ll discover that everything in nature has a unique smell, touch, sound, and look.

Nature’s Recyclers (Preschool-3rd Grade) *NGSS K

Head into nature’s basement to meet the cleanup crew of the forest floor. We’ll investigate the lives and roles of millipedes, centipedes, and other decomposers.

Insectmania (Preschool-3rd Grade) *NGSS 1st

Join us on a six-legged adventure to explore the exciting lives of insects. Discover how they are similar and different and what makes them important.

A Plant’s Life (Preschool-3rd) *NGSS 2nd

Dig into a plant’s life with us as we learn about their parts, needs, and how they spread their seeds. Visit the different habitats of Lincoln Marsh to see which plants call them home.

Habitat Hikers (Preschool-3rd) *NGSS 2nd

Hike through a wetland, forest, and prairie as we explore how different plants and animals can meet their needs in each habitat.

Wetland Explorations (Preschool-5th Grade)

Explore the marsh first hand as we discover what a wetland is, who calls it home, and why wetlands are important.

All About Birds (Preschool-5th Grade) *NGSS 4th

What makes a bird a bird? Find out as we learn what all birds have in common. We’ll take a walk to observe these fine-feathered friends in their natural habitat.

Wetland Ecology (Water Quality) (3rd-5th Grade) *NGSS 3rd

Discover how wetlands help keep our water clean and evaluate the water quality of Lincoln Marsh through aquatic invertebrate sampling. Great to pair with Wetland Ecology (Flood Control).

Wetland Ecology (Flood Control) (3rd-5th Grade) *NGSS 3rd

Investigate the flood control capabilities of wetlands through a flood reduction demonstration and other hands-on activities that show the composition of wetlands. Great to pair with Wetland Ecology (Water Quality).

Web of Life (4-5th Grade) *NGSS 5th

Explore food chains while participating in group activities that emphasize the interrelationships of plants and animals. Can be done as a field trip or outreach.

Custom Outdoor Education

Build your own program utilizing a combination of our Nature Discovery Field Trips, Challenge Course, Outdoor Adventures and/or Nighttime Nature options. Please contact us for more information and a customized quote.

The Unhuggables: Nature’s Superheroes (Preschool-Kindergarten)

Learn the important roles that bats, bees, and spiders play in nature. We’ll sing songs and share in activities that help dispel the fear and misunderstanding associated with these unhuggable critters.

Winter Adaptations (Preschool-Kindergarten) *NGSS K

Through music and play, we’ll discover the challenges faced by native animals during winter as we are introduced to the concepts of migration, hibernation, and adaptation.

Marsh Mysteries (Preschool-3rd Grade) *NGSS K

Build a model marsh, find out who calls this habitat home, and meet some live critters as we explore the mysteries of the marsh!

Insect Investigations (Preschool-3rd Grade) *NGSS 1st

What makes an insect an insect? Discover insect characteristics and visit with a live six-legged creature.

Who’s the Wise Bird (Preschool-5th Grade) *NGSS 1st

Explore the mysteries of owls! We’ll examine owl biofacts and discover the many unique adaptations of this nocturnal predator. Add on owl pellet dissection for $30, increases program length by 30 mins, students work in pairs.

Those Amazing Animals (Preschool-5th Grade) *NGSS 4th

Learn about animal groups and adaptations while examining and touching specimens and live animals.

Web of Life (4-5th grade) *NGSS 5th

Explore food chains while participating in group activities that emphasize the interrelationships of plants and animals. Can be done as a field trip or outreach.

9495470570_6c15da08f8_bOutdoor Adventures

An adventure awaits! Choose from four different options.

Group Size

  • Maximum 30 participants/program, unless otherwise noted.

Program Length

  • 1.5 hours


  • Geocaching/Orienteering/Snowshoeing
    In Wheaton/Dist. 200: $7.50/participant (min. $75.00/program)
    Out of Wheaton/Dist. 200: $9.50/participant (min. $95.00/program)
  • Canoeing
    In Wheaton/Dist. 200: $9/participant (min. $90/program)
    Out of Wheaton/Dist. 200: $11.25/participant (min. $112.50/program)
  • Add a Campfire
    $40 for 1 hour
Explore Lincoln Marsh while using GPS units to find hidden treasures. Chaperones are needed for every 5 participants under the age of 18.
Learn how to use a compass including taking a bearing and walking paces then find your way through the orienteering course at Lincoln Marsh. Chaperones are needed for every 5 participants under the age of 18.
Enjoy a guided snowshoe hike through the picturesque Lincoln Marsh finished off with a campfire. Optional add-on of $1/person for hot chocolate and marshmallows. Programs include use of snowshoes. Must have at least 3 inches of snow. Maximum participants: 14 adult/youth & 5 children.
Come out and paddle around Northside Park Lagoon. Program includes basic instruction. Maximum 16-24 participants (2-3 people per canoe). Children ages 6-8 must have one adult in each canoe.

Nighttime Nature

We have three different night outings to choose from. Each program includes a campfire and marshmallow roast.

Group Size

  • Maximum 30 participants/program

Program Length

  • 1.5 hours


  • In Wheaton/Dist. 200: $9/participant (min. $90/program)
  • Out of Wheaton/Dist. 200: $11.25/participant (min. $112.50/program)
Discover the native owls that call Lincoln Marsh home and hit the trails in search of these magnificent nocturnal predators. Available October – December.
Go on a hike and discover the mysteries lurking in the dark at Lincoln Marsh.
Enjoy songs and stories around a cozy campfire.

How Do I Make a Program Reservation?

  • Decide which of our programs you would like your group to participate in.
  • Choose several dates in the event that your first choice is not available.
  • Contact the Lincoln Marsh Office at 630-871-2810 for additional information and reservations.
  • Reservations should be made at least two weeks in advance; earlier reservations are appreciated and recommended.
  • A covered picnic shelter may be available for use before/after your program. Reservations must be made at the time the program is scheduled.
  • Onsite programs are held entirely outdoors and are conducted rain or shine except when inclement weather creates unsafe conditions.
  • Reservation information will be emailed to you prior to your program. Review it carefully and call us as soon as possible if anything is incorrect or changes (i.e. number of participants).