School Field Trips

Located on the west bank of the Scioto River at Griggs Reservoir, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department offers environmental education and outdoor skills programs at the McKnight Outdoor Education Center. Nature trails, caves, creeks, and the Scioto River form the backdrop for your students to explore and discover the many wonders of nature.


Check out our list of programs below for descriptions and Ohio Science Standards that are covered.

When you schedule a program, let us know what you are hoping to learn in the program and what you are studying in the classroom so that we can be sure to fit your needs.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? We offer additional programs and can customize programs to fit the needs of your group. Please call to discuss with our staff. 



  • Programs are offered for kindergarten to eighth-grade students from Sept. 15 through May 15.
  • Programs must be booked a minimum of two weeks in advance.
  • Reservations can be made up to 12 months prior to your event.
  • Full payment is due within two weeks from booking. A signed contract is due before the time of attendance.
  • Complete the field trip request form to schedule your visit.
Field Trip Request


All pricing is per one-hour class.

At McKnight Outdoor Education Center


Schools within
Columbus city limits


Schools outside of
Columbus city limits

At Your School


Schools within
Columbus city limits


Schools outside of Columbus city limits,
in Franklin County and Surrounding counties

Program Descriptions


Explore the characteristics that make birds unique and how they differ from each other. Students will go on a hike to look for birds and bird nests, gather nest-building materials, and construct a bird’s nest of their own.


(Weather Permitting)

Beavers are truly the most amazing architects around! Students will discover the remarkable adaptations of this busy rodent then go out to the stream and attempt to create a dam just like a beaver. Students will get wet during this program!


What is a fossil? How was it made? Students will make their own “fossil” and then search outside and in the stream bed to find ancient fossils.

Getting Ready for Winter

(Winter Only)

How do animals survive the long cold winters in Ohio? Students will discover what animals do to get ready for winter and how they spend the winter months. Find out which animals migrate and which animals truly hibernate! 


Many mammals call Ohio their home. There are many ways mammals adapt to survive in their environment, come investigate what makes mammals unique. Students will learn about the fur, skulls, and tracks and then head out on a hike to search for mammals. 


(Weather Permitting)

Join us as we learn about pollination and the importance of our native pollinators. Discover how pollinators can be beneficial to humans and in nature! Students will go outside to explore our pollinator gardens.


Come meet our resident reptile ambassadors and discover what characteristics make reptiles unique and different. Students will go outside to learn firsthand what it takes to be an ectotherm!

Stream Study

(Weather Permitting)

Grab your nets and buckets and prepare to get your feet wet as we discover what lives in a water habitat. What can these critters tell us about the water? Believe it or not, they can tell us if it’s healthy! Students will get wet during this program!


Trees are so important to wildlife and humans! Join us to discover what makes a tree, tree and then head outside to investigate trees up close and personal. This will include hand-on-activities dependent on the season. 

Wildlife Tracking

If there are animals in the forest why don’t we always see them? Students will learn about the signs animals leave behind and how to use their observational skills during a hike to discover what animals live in our forest.