Guided Field Trips

Tours of the conservatory and trails at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are available throughout the academic year. Trained interpretive guides cover a variety of topics including basic botany, adaptations, and ecosystems, which relate to Michigan education benchmarks and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Schools in which 40% of the students qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program (FRLP) are eligible to apply for a scholarship to subsidize the cost of a guided school field trip. Please contact Liz Glynn ( for more details and to schedule a guided field trip.


Tuesday-Friday, 10 am-12 pm

Trail tours are conducted in most weather conditions. Please dress for the weather. In case of heavy rain, guided field trips include an indoor activity in addition to the conservatory tour.


One hour conservatory or trails: $3.00/person (2 free admissions per classroom)

Two hour conservatory and trails: $6.00/person (2 free admissions per classroom)


A deposit of $30.00 per classroom is required when booking with the balance due upon arrival. Cancellations 2 weeks prior to the field trip date receive a refund of 50% of the deposit. No refunds for cancellations within 2 weeks of the field trip.

Title One Subsidy

Schools with Title One status may be eligible for tour fee subsidies. Free subsidies are available on a first come basis, based on availability of funds. Please inquire about a Title One subside when scheduling a tour.

Guided Programs

Guided tours can cover a variety of topics, including native Michigan plant and animal species, biomes, ecosystems, plant parts and functions, and adaptations.

When you arrive:

  • Bus drivers and parents drop students off at the main entrance.
  • Bus drivers pick up parking hang tags from visitor services desk and park in west lot. For guided school tours there is no bus parking charge. For self-guided tours, there is a $15 charge for bus parking, per bus, per day.
  • Individual drivers park in west lot and pay at kiosks ($1.50/hour).
  • Teachers stay with students or float among groups.
  • Special permission required for collecting materials of any kind.