Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor offering in-person, virtual field trips

ANN ARBOR – Get out and explore Matthaei Botanical Gardens this season with its youth education field trips.

Tours are guided, self-guided and virtual and take place on weekdays.

Here’s how the programs break down, according to Matthaei’s website:

Guided field trips

  • Field trips are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with a reservation.
  • Docents lead the trips and cover a variety of topics, from basic botany to ecosystems.
  • Pricing: 1-hour field trip: $3 per person; 2-hour field trip: $6 per person; themed field trip with materials: $8 per person. Bus parking is included.
  • Deposit is due 30 days prior to field trip date.
  • Scholarships are available for Title One schools.

Self-guided field trips

  • Field trips are available Tuesday through Friday and reservations are required to visit the conservatory. Groups that arrive without a reservation may not have access to the gardens or conservatory.
  • Teachers and chaperones lead the tours and there must be a 1:8 ratio of teachers and students on each trip.
  • Self-guided trips are free and donations to the gardens are welcome. There is a $15 parking fee for each bus. Individuals parking on site must pay for parking ($1.80/hour).
  • For more information on self-guided trips, click here.

Topics of field trips include:

  • Roots and shoots (Pre-K, K and first grade): “Explore plants and their needs. Compare the diversity of plant life and relationships to animals.” 
  • Plant & Animal Pairs (Second and third grades): “Living and non-living things are part of all ecosystems. Explore the ways plants & animals around the world depend on each other for pollination, seed dispersal, shelter and food.”
  • Biomes are Beautiful (third and fourth grades): “Explore three unique biomes and the characteristics that make them uniqueLearn about plant adaptations that help them thrive from the Tropics to the Desert.”
  • Ecosystems: Flowers, Fruits & Seeds (third and fourth grades): “Plant structures are uniquely adapted to their role in an ecosystem. Explore plant adaptations from roots to flowers that aid in survival for both plants and animals.”
  • Ecosystems; Energy flows, Matter cycles (fifth and sixth grades): “Ecosystems are complex with interdependencies between living and non-living elements. Explore ecosystem interactions, food webs and energy flows.”
  • Great Lakes Ecosystems (middle and high school): “Explore the biotic and abiotic elements of ecosystems around the Great Lakes while exploring the Great Lakes Gardens. Learn how soils, weather and humans impact these unique and diverse plant communities.”

Virtual field trips

  • Virtual field trips can be booked from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
  • Pricing: $30 per classroom and $1 per student.
  • Virtual field trips are 45 minutes long and include time for a student Q&A session.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens is located at 1800 N. Dixboro Rd.

For more information about field trips at the gardens, contact Youth Education Coordinator Liz Glynn at

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.