I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~ John Muir, 1913
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Sugar Grove Nature Center School Field Trips With a Program

Sugar Grove Nature Center in beautiful, historic Funks Grove, IL, offers a variety of nature-related field trip experiences for all grade levels.  We are located off Old Route 66, between Shirley and McLean, just a short distance from Bloomington-Normal. 

What can you expect on your field trip to Sugar Grove Nature Center?
A full day of educational fun!  While we can certainly accommodate a shorter time frame, we encourage school groups to stay the day in order to experience all we have to offer!  Bring your lunches to enjoy in our picnic shelter.  Larger groups will be divided to ensure a quality program for all.  Students will travel between the stations listed below throughout the visit. 

1) Program of your Choice
Choose from a wide variety of programs offered on the following page, or suggest your own!

2) Exploration in the Nature Center
Your students will explore the many hands-on interactive exhibits inside Sugar Grove Nature Center.  They can go on a “campout” in a tent while coyotes howl in the background.  Their own puppet shows take center stage in the cabin.  Animal pelts are displayed for feeling, and the Touch Table encourages students to pick up and examine an assortment of nature materials from bones to shells.  Several native animals such as turtles and snakes are on exhibit in Critter Corner.  And our Wildlife Observation Room offers the opportunity to view birds, chipmunks, and other wildlife up-close.

3) Guided Hike
An experienced naturalist will lead your group through the trails of Funks Grove, making discoveries at every turn.  Each hike is different, as your guide will share natural encounters and discuss seasonal occurrences while tailoring the program to your group’s specific interests through questions and discussion.

4) Nature Play in Imagination Grove
Students will experience unstructured nature play in Imagination Grove.  This area is designed to create a bond between children and nature that lasts a lifetime.  Children of all ages are invited to tromp in the creek, climb a tree, pretend to be an early explorer, dig to China, and just be kids.


Program Possibilities
(All programs are adapted to the appropriate grade level.)

Tracks, Scat, and All of That
Just because you don’t see any animals, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there!  Learn what to look for while on a hike, as well as good hiking “etiquette.”

Dead Tree Biology
When a tree dies, that isn’t the end…it is just the beginning!  Take a first hand look at a tree that is no longer living, but is giving life to the plants and animals around it.

Meet the Critters
Visit with the animals of the Nature Center, and learn all about them: turtles, snakes, and other critters.  In this hands-on program, students get to touch selected animals.

Incredible Insects & Invertebrates
There are spineless creatures all around us!  Discover what makes an insect different from the other animals without backbones.  Weather permitting, we’ll then go on an “insect safari!”

Amazing Adaptations
From the top of the head to the tip of the tail, from the leaf to the roots, we’ll examine the characteristics that help living things survive.

Plants, Flowers, & Seeds
Imagine that for your entire life, you had to stand in one place.  How would you get food?  Defend yourself?  Reproduce?  This program examines the life of a plant, and how it gets what it needs to survive.

Create Your Own Adventure
Many other programs are available, both seasonally and year round, including our popular Maple Sirup Experience from late February through early March.  Don’t see it?  Just ask!  We will do our best to accommodate any special topics you’d like us to cover, including incorporating math, art, history, or other subjects into your program.

General Information
Cost is $5/student.  Chaperones, up to one per 8 students, are free.  Additional chaperones will be charged $5/person.

Visiting Sugar Grove Nature Center on Your Own
While a program will ensure you get the most out of your visit, you are welcome to spend the day on your own.  A reservation is still required for groups of 10 or more, even if you do not want to have a program. This reservation will ensure that large groups do not overlap.  There is a nominal per person site-use fee for these group visits. Please email register@sugargrovenaturecenter.org if you would like to schedule a field trip without a program. Additional information on group visits can be found here.


To book your field trip with a program contact Jill Wallace, Environmental Educator, at
309.874.2174 or jill@sugargrovenaturecenter.org.

For directions, hours, and group visiting guidelines see Visit Us.