The spring Tropical Explorer Program allows your students to become immersed in the amazing world of the tropical rainforest. The program offers hands-on activities and a guided tour through the tropical Bolz Conservatory. Curriculum is available for grades kindergarten through 3rd grade. Kindergarten and first grade students will experience a sensory exploration of plants and second and third grade students will learn about plant adaptations.
Olbrich educators provide an introduction and tour of the Bolz Conservatory. Hands-on activities are designed to be run by you and your adult leaders with assistance from Olbrich staff and volunteers. Supplemental activities help prepare students for their visit to Olbrich and provide teachers with ideas for follow-up in the classroom.
Upon Arrival: After a short presentation by Olbrich Educators, your group (maximum 50 kids) will be split into two groups. Please plan how your group will divide before your visit.
Group 1 will work with hands-on science activities at learning stations set up in the Atrium. Activities will cover age-appropriate themes according to your grade level. These hands-on activities are designed to be run by you and your adult leaders with assistance from Olbrich staff and volunteers.
Kindergarten and first grades undertake a sensory exploration of plants in our lives.
Second and third grades explore plant adaptations.
Group 2 will immerse themselves into the rainforest environment of our Bolz Conservatory, learning about tropical ecosystems by participating in a guided tour with Olbrich educators.
We offer the following schedule for the Tropical Explorer Program:
April 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 & 29
May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 & 13
10 - 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 2 p.m.
The Explorer Program runs for 1.5 hours. Due to the size of the facility, groups must be limited to 50 students.
To schedule an Explorer Experience, contact:
We are unable to accommodate groups outside of the set program times. If the Explorer Program does not fit your schedule, you are always welcome to take a self-guided tour.
The fee is $2 per child
There is a $40 minimum charge required for each group.
Children on a free/reduced lunch program are eligible for a discount (inquire for details when scheduling your visit.)
Adult chaperones are free. A minimum of one adult per six students is required. Additional adults are $1 each.
Fees are payable at the time of visit with cash or check only. Please make checks payable to Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704.
You will need to download the Tropical Explorer Curriculum in preparation for your visit. Please provide adult chaperones with copies of the curriculum so they can effectively assist your group. We strongly encourage you to make the Explorer Program part of a curriculum rather than simply a field trip. Students get much more out of the experience if they arrive with some background. The Explorer Program is designed to augment school curriculum and to satisfy standards requirements at each level.
Grades K-1 Curriculum (PDF)
Grades 2-3 Curriculum (PDF)
Funding: Your group may be eligible for Nature Express funding through Nature Net.
Garden Etiquette: Please share these guidelines with your group before your visit.