Field Trips at Ijams

Ijams Nature Center offers classes and other groups a truly unique outdoor education experience. We are the only facility in Knoxville that gets students out in nature on hiking trails that wind through forests and meadows, along creeks, ponds, and streams. Led by trained naturalists, students notice their senses come alive as they become immersed in the sounds, sights, and scents of their environment.

Our field trips focus on inquiry-based education and provide the opportunity for students to investigate their surroundings and discover more about the world around them. All programs are grade-specific and tailored to meet the Education Standards established by the State of Tennessee and Knox County.

Public and private schools, youth organizations, and other groups can participate year-round in Ijams’ outdoor learning opportunities for their students. Field trips are typically 2 hours in length and feature a combination of live animal programs and outdoor learning experiences. Standard programs begin at 9:30 a.m. and end 11:30 a.m*. Please note that some programs are only available to certain group sizes and during certain seasons. Please see Program Descriptions below for more information.

*If you would like to request a different start/end time, be sure to make note of the change during the online request process.

Field Trip Descriptions





Sense of Wonder


Students use their ears, eyes, noses, and hands to explore the natural world around them. In addition to exploring nature through texture and sound, they learn how animals use their senses to survive in the wild. Abbreviated (1-hour) programs are available at a discounted rate ($6 per student during fall/spring) for pre-school groups.

$8 per student (Fall, Spring)

Animal Form and Function


Formerly named “Hunt for the Mini-beast”, during this program students explore the various ecosystems around Ijams Nature Center in search of local wildlife residents. Using bug nets, eyes, and ears, groups observe animals in their native habitats and learn how they interact with them.

$8 per student (Fall, Spring)



Students explore the green world of plants in this program. Groups hike through forests and meadows as they learn about how plants make their own food and provide energy for the entire ecosystem. Students gain a better understanding of the role plants play in the ecosystem and how they interact with their environment.

$8 per student (Fall, Spring)

Follow the Food Chain


Through hands-on activities and nature exploration, students explore the interaction between different species through exploring food web dynamics. How do plants get their food? What do omnivores eat? Groups learn the answers to these questions and more!

$8 per student (Fall, Spring)

Pond Party


In Pond Party, students explore the watery world of aquatic ecosystems and the species that live their lives underwater. Students have the opportunity to use dip nets to search local ponds for different aquatic insects and amphibians.

Note: April-October ONLY. Also, this program is open to groups of 45 or fewer students; larger groups may enjoy much the same experience in the HYBRID program below.

$10 per student (Fall, Spring)

NEW: Hybrid Pond Party/Animal Form and Function


For groups that would like to explore both aquatic AND terrestrial habitats and/or have more than 45 students but want to enjoy a guided dip-netting experience in our ponds, this field trip is for you! During this hybrid program, students interact with and investigate a variety of aquatic and terrestrial animals living in the diverse habitats at Ijams.

Note: April-October ONLY.

$10 per student (Fall, Spring)

Southern Appalachian Survival


Formerly named “Native Appalachia”, this field trip transports students back in history to a time when people survived with only what the land provided them in our rugged East Tennessee landscape. Topics such as shelter, edible and medicinal plants, navigation (reading the land and maps), and other important survival skills are the focus of this program.

$8 per student (Fall, Spring)

Citizen Science


Students learn how they can contribute to scientific research taking place all across the globe. Whether taking inventories of bird species, conducting assessments of aquatic habitat health, or monitoring forest ecology, everyone can be part of gathering data to help protect the Earth’s ecosystems!

Note: April-October ONLY. Also, this program is open to groups of 45 or fewer students; 2- and 3-hour programs available.

$10 per student (For 2-Hour Programs in Fall or Spring)

$12 per student (For 3-Hour Programs in Fall or Spring)


Basic Field Trip Structure

Most field trips follow the same program schedule:

  • (15 min) Introduction
  • (75 min) Field-based Activity (varies by topic)
  • (20 min) Live Animal Presentation
  • (10 min) Conclusion

Occasionally time limitations, group size, and/or weather conditions may require altering this schedule.

Scheduling a Field Trip

To streamline field trip requests, we have started an online request system. Please complete an Online Request Form. Once your request is received by our Education Staff, we will contact you to finalize program details and scheduling. NOTE: A group must have a minimum of 8 students to register for any of our field trip programs.

Field Trip Scholarships

Thanks to a generous grant from the Chapman Family Foundation, we are pleased to offer reduced fees for schools requiring financial assistance. For more information about scholarships, please include a note in your Online Request Form in the questions and comments portion.