Docent Guided Field Trips

Experienced and knowledgeable Descanso Gardens docents lead immersive educational garden explorations tailored to appeal to students from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. All programs are held outdoors and last approximately one hour. Field trips are offered free of charge to qualifying schools with advance registration.

Pre-kindergarten and transitional kindergarten/kindergarten

Seeds of Wonder: Students ages 3 to 5 participate in hands-on, garden-themed activities that nurture wonder through experience, observations, discovery and play. Program is held in the Harvest Garden the 2nd and 3rd Wednesday of the month from 10 to 12:15 am. (60 students maximum.)

Kindergarten through 8th grade

Garden Exploration: 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.

Kindergarten through 2nd grade

Descanso Habitats: Through hands-on activities and play, students discover the many animals that make Descanso Gardens their home.

Spring Exploration: For kindergarten through 2nd grade. Students use their observational skills to examine how plants and animals are busy in the spring. Available March through May.

3rd through 5th grade

Plant Adaptations: Explore how plants adapt to their environment and how they support an important ecosystem. Available March through May.

California History: Students take a close look at native plants and learn how the Tongva people used these plants for food, medicine and handicrafts. Select dates only, 30 students maximum.

Field trip guidelines

  • Field trips are available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from October 4, 2016, to June 1, 2017, unless otherwise noted.
  • Field trips begin at 9:30am and can accommodate up to 60 students per day, unless otherwise noted.
  • Classes must have at least 1 adult chaperone for every 8 students. Chaperones are admitted free with the group unless they exceed a ratio of 1 adult for every 4 students. Adults in excess of this ratio are required to pay $6 admission.
  • Classes will be divided into small groups to explore the Gardens with a docent. When the field trip reservation is made, the teacher will be told how many small groups the class will be divided into and the required number of chaperones.

To arrange a field trip

Call the Education Programs Office at (818) 949-0120 to make a field trip reservation. Please have the following information on-hand:

  • Supervising teacher’s name, phone number, and email address
  • School name, phone number and address
  • Number of students on field trip
  • Preferred dates for the field trip (please offer at least 2 dates)
  • Any special interests or needs


Schools that qualify for the free field trip program
  • An accredited California public or private school
  • A preschool providing academic instruction to students over 2 years of age
  • A program through a school that provides academic instruction to students
  • A Head Start or Child Development Center
  • Homeschool groups

We look forward to exploring nature with your students at Descanso Gardens!