School Programs

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

Our programs focus on inquiry-based education. Our hikes 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.

More Than a Field Trip

If you are looking for a way to bring science textbooks to life, consider a field trip at Ijams Nature Center. At Ijams, we believe that outdoor learning is more than just a great hike. Through the use of standards-based activities, students will gain hands-on knowledge that supports classroom curriculum. Outdoor activities are inquiry-based, encouraging students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills as they learn more about the natural world around them.

Whether the program focuses on how animals adapt to winter or the relationship between plants and pollinators in spring, Ijams offers year-round learning opportunities. So pack your hiking boots and binoculars and come discover science!

School Field Trips

Grades K-5

Public and private schools can participate in year-round learning opportunities for their students. Programs are 2 hours in length, and feature a combination of live animal programs and outdoor learning experiences. Each program is tailored to meet Tennessee State Standards and Knox County Learning Expectations.

As an additional resource for teachers, Ijams Nature Center provides pre-visit and post-visit activities for use in the classroom. These activities are designed to introduce and support the content delivered during Ijams field trips. Teachers that are interested in utilizing these activities can request them at the time of booking their field trip.

For field trip requests, please email us with the following information: possible date(s), grade, and number of students.

*Please note that Fire Marshall guidelines prohibit us from hosting more than 80 students in our field trip room.

Field Trip Scholarships

We are pleased to offer reduced fees for schools requiring financial assistance. These programs are available from September through March. For more information, email our field trip coordinator.

Preschool Programs

At Ijams Nature Center, we believe that scientific discovery is a lifelong pursuit. As a result, we are pleased to offer Science Discovery programs to private and public preschool groups. Preschool programs last one hour, and include a live animal presentation and nature hike. The fee for these programs is $3 per student. A minimum of $75 (25 students) is required.

For field trip requests, please email us with the following information: possible date(s), grade, and number of students.

Homeschool Programs

Birthday Party at the pond

Homeschool families have several options for using Ijams Nature Center as an outdoor classroom. Whether you decide to come explore on your own, lead your group with one of our backpacks, or participate in our Nature Ed-Ventures, Ijams has something for everyone!

Backpack Program

Homeschool groups are invited to take advantage of our backpack education program. These backpacks contain all the materials and instructions necessary to complete a variety of fun, hands-on outdoor learning activities. The fee to rent a backpack is $25, and each pack is outfitted with materials for up to 15 children.

We currently have 4 topics available: Birds, Geology, 5 Senses, and Plants. Each topic is designed for a specific age range, so be sure to ask which pack would be best for your group. Backpack rental must be arranged prior to your visit to ensure that you receive all the necessary materials. Please call Jennifer at (865) 577-4717, ext. 130.

NOTE: For groups with more than 15 children, we recommend renting an additional backpack.

Nature Ed-Ventures

These exciting outdoor adventures are designed to help students gain a deeper understanding of the natural world through fun and hands-on experiences! Programs are led by Ijams senior naturalist Stephen Lyn Bales, author of two books: Natural Histories and Ghost Birds (both published by the University of Tennessee Press).

Due to an overwhelming response to our Homeschool Programs, there are now 3 sessions being offered. Spaces are filling quickly, so we cannot guarantee your first choice of session.


Living Clean & Green Outreach Programs

Can’t find the time to take your class on a field trip? Then let Ijams bring a field trip into your classroom! Thanks to generous funding from Knox County, Ijams is pleased to offer a wide variety of programming at little to no cost (travel fees may apply). Topics are part of our Living Clean & Green program, which focuses on earth-friendly options for living gently on the planet. Topics include:

  • Urban Wildlife
  • Backyard Birding
  • Green Cleaning
  • Recycling & Composting

For more information on scheduling Living Clean & Green programs for your classroom, call Peg at (865) 577-4717, ext. 114 or or email her.