Curriculum enhancing studies in nature
for groups of all ages

Our Free education programs are offered throughout the year for children with varying interests and ability levels. Programs are designed with student academic achievement and environmental responsibility in mind. Learn more about the variety of programs we offer in the descriptions below. If you are interested in scheduling a field trip or scheduling one of our programs at your location please click here for our contact & scheduling information.

Animal Programs

Animals are a great way to captivate children’s attention and imagination and teach science concepts. Learn about Ohio Wildlife through hands-on activities including seeing some animals up close.

Eagle in flight through the trees at Highbanks. (Dale Miller)
Photo: Dale Miller

Animal Adaptations

Discuss how various Ohio animals adapt to the changing seasons and their habitat while looking at animal furs, skulls, and maybe even a live animal.

Animal Tracks & Signs

Look for clues along the trail and find out what animals live in the park by identifying tracks, scat, sounds, and other tell-tale signs of animal life.

Bats

Explore the unique characteristics of these flying mammals. A short walk to look at bat homes may be included.

Birds

Become a birdwatcher by learning about bird identification, migration, behavior, and more. Then search the forest and fields for a variety of birds. Binoculars and field guides are helpful.

Birds of Prey or Owls of Ohio

Learn about Ohio birds of prey and their importance in our ecosystem with special emphasis on the adaptation of beaks, feet, and feathers. A short walk is included. Binoculars are helpful.

Fishing

Cast for bluegill, bass, or catfish from the docks and pond edge. Learn about fishing equipment, technique, and safety. Please limit group to 20 or less, with at least 3 adult helpers.

Insects & Butterflies

Catch (and release) insects with nets and jars while studying their unique structure, identifying features, and adaptations. Please wear long pants to walk through fields.

Mammals

Identify skins and skulls of several common Ohio mammals. A short walk to find mammals in the wild is included.

Ohio Animals/Wildlife

Learn about the abundant wildlife found in our backyard and Metro Parks through an interactive presentation including animals furs, models, skulls, and maybe a live animal.

Reptiles & Amphibians

Discuss the life cycle of reptiles and amphibians as well as their survival needs. Meet a few of the park’s education animals. Possibly take a walk to explore the habitats of amphibians and reptiles.

Waterfowl

Look high and low to identify common wetland birds such as ducks, geese, and herons. Find out why wetlands are so important to these birds. Binoculars and field guides are helpful.

White-tailed Deer

Learn about Metro Parks’ deer dilemma on a 1-mile walk in search of deer. Discuss how the overpopulation of deer affected the forest and its inhabitants and how Metro Parks worked to solve the problems.

Plant Programs

Each Metro Park has a wide variety of trees and plants that Naturalists use to teach students. Naturalist can customize topics based on classroom learning.

Kids in Inniswood Sisters Garden
Photo: Bryan Knowles

Science of Plants

Learn what plants need to grow, plant a seed, and discuss the ecology of a forest or field habitat.

Trees

Discover what makes trees special. Learn leaf shapes and/or the 3 B’s – buds, bark, and branches – to identify several species, depending on the season. Activities may include meeting a tree, learning tree identification and fall color variations, and forest ecology basics.

Wildflowers

Look for some of the season’s prettiest blooms on a walk. Learn identification, folklore, and edible and medicinal uses of these flowers.

Nature, Ecology & Earth Science

Engage in outdoor field studies taking advantage of the many unique features in Metro Parks. These hands-on activities inspire science learning for students.

Dusky salamander (Andrea Krava)
Photo: Andrea Krava

Creek Study

Wade into the creek with nets and jars to catch (and release) aquatic insects and fish. Discover what these aquatic insects tell us about the stream and water quality. Please wear close-toed shoes and clothes that can get wet.

Discovery Hike/Seasonal Change

Use your senses on a walk through forests and fields to learn about forest creatures, importance of plants, and the many habitats in our Metro Parks. Program topics will vary depending on the season and participant focus.

Landforms (Erosion, Glaciation, & Weathering)

Find out about the geology of the park while hiking. Discuss rock formation in central Ohio and the changing landscape in our parks.

Nature in Winter

Using animal furs, learn how wildlife survives the cold Ohio winters.

Ohio Habitats/Ecosystems

Explore fields, forests and wetlands to compare and contrast the ecosystems in Ohio.

Pond/Wetland Study

Get your hands in a wetland to take water samples, catch aquatic insects, identify plants, look for birds, and more. This hands-on program discusses the importance of the food chain and a balanced ecosystem. Please be prepared to get wet and muddy.

Rocks and/or Minerals

Learn about the rock cycle and the difference between rocks and minerals through hands-on activities and looking at various rocks.

Soil & Leaf Litter

Take a closer look for the decomposers and insects that recycle the leaves on the forest floor into quality soil.

Vernal Pools/Swamp Life

Dip a net, pan, or jar into the vernal pool and/or swamp to find out what lives below the water’s surface. Please wear clothes that can get wet or a little dirty.

Cultural History

Bring to life the culture and history of Metro Parks through these educational programs.

Slate Run Farm volunteers in 19th-century costume.
Photo: Kirt Beiling

Farm Life, Guided

2-hour presentation that includes a visit to house, summer kitchen and barn. Discuss work and recreation, food production and preservation, and uses of crops and animals. Costumed guides adapt presentation to fit student age.

Farm Life, Self-guided

Group chaperones lead students at their own pace on a self-guided tour. Costumed staff are available to answer questions and demonstrate aspects of farm life. Map and question sheets provide chaperones with information to discover how farm families lived.

Hands-on History

Participate in hands-on activities that may include baking on wood burning cook stove, learning about draft horses, playing parlor games and using 19th century toys, and discovering the uses of farm equipment.

Prehistoric People

Take a hike to discuss how people lived before European settlers arrived. Look at burial mounds and artifacts from the past.

Primitive Skills

Use flint and steel to start a fire, build a debris hut, maybe throw an atlatl, and discuss survival without modern tools.

Special Interest Programs

Teach conservation topics and enhance student learning through recreation in the parks.

Archery Program boy and volunteer.
Photo: Gil Sears

Archery

Learn to shoot a compound bow. Ages 8 an older.

Conservation

Find ways you can help preserve and protect our wild resources.

Geocaching

Learn how to use a GPS unit to search for caches hidden in the park.

Natural Play Area

Go off trail into our Natural Play Areas to explore the forest through games and activities.

Pollution Solutions

Use a watershed model to discuss how to decrease pollution in our storm drains.

Tram Programs

From April through October, groups may schedule a program on a Metro Parks tram. Participants will travel through a park with a naturalist and learn about the park’s natural and cultural features. For tram locations and availability please call the naturalist at the park where you’d like to schedule your program. The naturalist will have a list of available dates and times.

Sunflowers along the trail at Blendon Woods. (Betty Elliot)
Photo: Betty Elliot

Blacklick Woods Metro Park

614.861.8759

Sharon Woods Metro Park

614.865.4507

Three Creeks Metro Park

614.409.9914

Blendon Woods Metro Park

614.895.6221

Glacier Ridge Metro Park

614.971.5211

Highbanks Metro Park

614.846.9962

Get Outside, It’s Your Nature!