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Alton Baker Park School Nature Walks

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Walk on the Wild Side!Guide with Kids

Want to spend more time outdoors with your students? Looking for new ways to meet science learning goals or in-town Outdoor School activities? Want your kids to be happy, healthy, and ready to learn? Nearby Nature can help!

School children are invited to join us on weekdays in the fall or spring for morning nature walks in the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park.

  • Location: Alton Baker Park (meet outside the Eugene Science Center, 2300 Leo Harris Pkwy)

  • Times: 9:30-11:30/45 am (or 9:30 am-1 or 2 pm with afternoon extension), optional time for lunch included

  • Capacity: Two classes per day (around 64 kids)

  • Cost: Morning walks = $3.50/child, afternoon extensions = $3-$3.25/child. Scholarship assistance available.

  • Staffing: Walks led by trained volunteer guides. Groups of 7-9 children. Schools provide one adult per group.

  • Morning Nature Walk Topics: River Quest, Kalapuya Quest, Critter Quest, Nature Detectives, Forest Quest, Learnscape Adventures, and Kinder Quest. Complete descriptions below.

  • Afternoon Program Extensions: From 12-2 pm with Nearby Nature (pond dipping and Earth Art) or 12-1 pm with the Eugene Science Center. Details below.

  • Scholarships: Request when you register here. Priority to Title I schools.

  • Confirmation: Final program date/s, scholarship level, and program prep instructions provided via email.

  • Registration: Click here to register.

  • Alignment with Science/Social Studies Standards: Click here for information.
Note: Non-school youth groups or families hosting birthday parties are welcome to request walks with us during non-school hours or seasons. Non-school nature walks cost $4 per child, max 50 kids, with a minimum charge of $60 per group. Times are subject to volunteer availability.

Morning Nature Walk Themes

  • Nature Detectives Walks (1st-5th graders) – Using all of their nature-detecting senses and observation skills, kids will explore the park and look for signs that plants and animals are waking up for spring or getting ready for winter! We'll focus on whatever fascinating discoveries your students make and try to solve whatever mysteries inspire their curiosity.
  • Critter Quest Walks (1st-5th graders) – Kids will spend half of their time using pond dipping nets to look for aquatic critters and half of their time on a wildlife-themed nature walk. Life cycles, adaptations, and camouflage are some of the topics that will be addressed.
  • River Quest Walks (1st-5th graders) – Kids will visit the Willamette River to see the water cycle in action, learnCamas Gallery about local watersheds, and check out riparian plants and animals. Our new Frohnmayer Bridge mural will be a highlight! They will also learn specifically about Willamette River history.  
  • Kalapuya Quest Walks (3rd-5th graders) – Kids will explore the park and discover how the Kalapuya people historically used native plants and animals for shelter, food, and clothing. They will also learn about Kalapuya transportation, traditions, language, games, and stories.
  • Forest Quest Walks (1st-5th graders) – Kids will learn about all the parts of healthy forest, from soils that grow seeds to towering trees that provide everything from homes for critters to the oxygen we breathe. Plant life cycles and wildlife habitats as well Northwest plants and animals will be addressed.  

  • Learnscape Adventures (pre-school-5th graders) – Kids will visit our Learnscape Garden and Outdoor Classroom. They will enjoy garden activities in our Edible Classroom, a session of cooperative games/supervised free nature play, and storytelling in the Hazelnut Hollow. (Note: we have limited availability for this program and can serve only one class per day.)

  • Kinder Quest Walks (pre-school-kindergarten). Young children will get to know nature nearby through games, nature tales, and hands-on activities that engage all of their senses. Walks will be appropriately paced for the age of your students. If you have a specific topic you would like us to address, feel free to ask. Note: these programs can be shortened to 9:30-11 am if desired.

Afternoon ProgramsKids take a closer look during pond study in Alton Baker Park

  • Nearby Nature Afternoon Adventures (12-2 pm): After their morning nature walk, your students will split into larger groups and spend two hours enjoying pond study (kids use dip nets themselves) and Earth Art (click here for a photo album of this activity).
  • Earth to Sky (12-1 pm) – After their morning nature walks (any topic is okay), your 1st-5th grade students will enjoy a planetarium show at the Eugene Science Center. Topics will be provided to interested teachers. Planetarium visits cost $3 per child. Some scholarship assistance is available from the Science Factory. Nearby Nature manages these funds and will assign grants as available.
  • Eugene Science Center Exhibit Hall Visit (12-1 pm) - After their morning nature walks (any topic is okay), your 1st-5th grade students will enjoy exploring the Eugene Science Center's current Exhibit Hall program.

Kids play "Bat and Moth"

Information for Teachers

If you are a teacher who is currently registered for a nature walk field trip in Alton Baker Park, click here for downloadable copies of registration materials.


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