Schools and Education

Discover new ways to connect with the gardens

Explore the videos, activities and resources below to learn more about Descanso Gardens and our natural world.


Field Trips | Habitats (TK-2nd) | Adaptations (3rd-5th) | Nature Guides (All ages) | Partnerships


Field Trips

Field trips are available free of charge for qualifying schools with advance reservation. A qualifying school must have a minimum of 10 students and meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • An accredited California public or private school
  • A preschool providing instruction to students over two years of age
  • A program through a school that provides academic instruction to students
  • A Head Start or Child Development Center
  • Homeschool groups



1. Choose from a docent-guided or self-guided field trip:

Docent-guided field trips: Please note docent guided field trips are fully booked for March–May.

    • 1 hour guided tours on the topics below
    • Offered October–May on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 or 10am
    • Maximum of 30 students per day

Habitat Detectives,
Kindergarten–2nd grade: Be a nature detective! Through hands-on activities and play, students discover the many animals that make Descanso Gardens their home.

Spring Discoveries, Kindergarten–2nd grade, March–May: Students use observational skills and movement to explore plant and animal life cycles.

Adaptations and Interactions, 3rd–5th grade: Student scientists investigate plant adaptations and explore the many ways plants and animals depend on each other to survive.

Seasonal Garden Tour: Kindergarten–8th grade: Students explore and observe plant and animal life through experiential garden walks. The tour focus changes seasonally. Tour topics include plant life cycles, habitat explorations and more.

Self-guided field trips

    • Teachers structure and lead the educational experience. Download a self-guided chaperone guide and student activity booklet in either English or Spanish
    • Offered Monday through Friday at 9, 9:30 or 10am
    • Maximum of 90 students per school per day

2. Complete the form below to request a field trip.

field trip request form


3. Descanso’s Education staff will contact you within 3 business days to confirm your reservation. Your reservation is not complete until you receive your confirmation.

Questions? Call (818) 949-0120 or email


Learn how Descanso Gardens is a habitat for many animals.


Grade Levels: 4–7 years old, TK–2nd


Next Generation Science Standard, Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
    All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and grow.
  • LS1.A: Structure and Function
    All organisms have external parts. Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water and air. Plants also have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow.
  • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
    Plants depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.

Find out what animals need in their habitats to survive, and how oak tree habitats provide for local wildlife.

Habitats are different from one another, but still provide animals with what they need to survive. Compare and contrast different habitats at Descanso and learn about the animals that call the gardens home.


Adaptations and Interactions

Explore how plant adaptations support the balance of nature, and the many ways plants and animals depend on each other to survive.
Grade Levels: 7–11 years old, 3rd–5th grade


Next Generation Science Standard, Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
    All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and grow.
  • LS4.C: Adaptation
    For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Adaptations are about survival. Discover how adaptations help plants survive in their environments.

Investigate oak trees from the ground up and learn all about how these important trees survive.


Nature Guides


Descanso Partnership Programs


The Harvest Garden

The Harvest Garden encourages curiosity and discovery of the natural world by providing diverse communities the therapeutic benefits of gardening. Descanso Gardens partners with a variety of schools and organizations to bring these communities to the Harvest Garden.

A Day of Discovery

A Day of Discovery at Descanso Gardens is a collaboration with the LAUSD Beyond the Bell Office of Outdoor and Environmental Education. In this program students investigate several of California’s native habitats; explore relationships between living and non-living things, and record observations in journals provided. For more information, click here.

My Masterpieces: Discovering Art in My Community

A collaboration between Pasadena Unified School District, the Pasadena Educational Foundation, and local cultural institutions, My Masterpieces provides community-based arts learning opportunities for students in Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre. Descanso Gardens offers a 3rd grade program combining nature exploration and artmaking to build on students’ creativity, visual literacy, and observational skills. For more information, click here.