At this time Lyon Arboretum does not offer specific pre-school activities.

We do not recommend large preschool groups that require the large school bus transport coming to the Arboretum. Please note that the walk from the bus drop-off site at Paradise Park to the Arboretum can be tiring for little feet.

We encourage small groups to visit that can be transported via small passenger vans which can make it up the road to the Arboretum, or that carpooling be arranged.

Please call us at (808) 988-0461 with any inquiries regarding booking a preschool group. Mahalo for your understanding and patience!

Grade K: Plant Explorations

This field trip engages the five senses to explore all the parts of a plant. Take a walk through the Arboretum grounds exploring the smells and tastes of different plant parts and a plant scavenger hunt. Students will also have the chance to plant and take it back to school or home and a plant coloring page.

NGSS Covered for Kindergarten:
Disciplinary Core IdeaLS1 From Molecule to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Disciplinary Core Idea ComponentsA. Structure and Function B. Growth and Development of Organisms
Crosscutting ConceptCause and Effect
Scientific and Engineering PracticesDeveloping and using models

First Grade: Sort it Out

In this field trip, we will explore the concept of trait variation in plants. Students will learn to recognize and classify plant species based on their similarities and differences from one another, as well as observe the intricate ways plants within the same species can vary. Students will compare and contrast the physical characteristics of different varieties of several varieties of fern found in our gardens for the in-the-field observations and data collection in our ethnobotanical garden. Students will get further experience in recognizing plant trait variation during our ti leaf variation game.

NGSS Covered for 1st Grade:
Disciplinary Core IdeaLS3-Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Disciplinary Core Idea ComponentsLS3-1.B Variation of Traits: Make observations to construct an evidence based account that individuals of the same kind of plant or animal are recognizable as similar, but can also vary in many ways.
Crosscutting ConceptPatterns
Scientific and Engineering PracticesObtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Second Grade: Plants and Friends

In this field trip, students will learn about the interdependence between plants, insects, and animals in relation to pollination and seed dispersal. Students will engage in a plant-pollinator matching game where they will make connections between a plant’s visual characteristics and the insect or animal it attracts for survival. Students will then physically observe various fruits from our grounds and identify the type of organism that might disperse its seeds.

NGSS Covered for 2nd Grade:
Disciplinary Core Idea2-LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics2-LS2-2: Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing or pollinating plants
Disciplinary Core Idea ComponentsA.     Interdependent Relationships in EcosystemsPlants depend on animals for pollinationPlants depend  on animals to move their seeds around
Crosscutting ConceptsCause and Effect
Scientific and Engineering PracticesAnalyzing and Interpreting (Data)

Third Grade: Amazing Adaptations

In this field trip, students will learn about adaptations in plants and the relationship between a plant’s traits and its environment. Outside, students will explore the rainforest. They will search for the adaptations that allow plants to thrive in these conditions. Indoors, students will closely observe specific plants, using their adaptations to identify their habitat.

NGSS Covered for 3rd Grade:
Disciplinary Core Idea3-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity3-LS4-3: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.3-LS4-4:  Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
Disciplinary Core Idea ComponentsLS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience when the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die. (secondary)LS4.C: AdaptationFor any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.LS4.D: Biodiversity and HumansPopulations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.
Crosscutting ConceptsSystems and System ModelsCause and Effect
Scientific and Engineering PracticesEngaging in Argument from Evidence

GRADE 4: Ka Wai Ola

In this field trip, addressing the Hawaii Core Standards for Social Studies, students will learn about our Hawaiian environment and why humans changed the environment, and why we decide to live where we do.

Due to the nature of the activities for this field trip, only one class (with a maximum size of 25) can be accommodated per day. Groups with more than 25 students must request to come on separate days. 

HCSSS Covered for 4th Grade: Early Hawaiian- Environment Interaction
Geography Anchor Standard TopicContent StandardSample Content/Concepts
of a Volcanic
Content Standard SS.
Identify major geographic
characteristics of the Hawaiian
archipelago, including its relative
location to other major land masses
Major Geographic Characteristics: extreme isolation,
susceptibility to water erosion, volcanic island formed
by geological hotspot
16Human distributionContent Standard SS.
Explain how geographic
characteristics of the islands
influenced locations of early
Characteristics: locations of accessible fresh water,
natural harbors, relatively flat and arable land
14Environmental ModificationContent Standard SS.
Describe how the original settlers
modified their environment
Modifications: building of fishponds, introduction of
new plants and animals, redirection of water flow for

Art Activities: Grade 2 and Above

This field trip is open to grades 2 and up. This field trip is limited to no more than 30 students per day. This is a shorter field trip, with the program ending at 11:00 am. This is a good option for groups with mixed age ranges, including homeschool groups.

Using the elements of design and the language of the arts, students are introduced to some exciting ways to learn about, enjoy and appreciate the wonders of our tropical environment. Observation skills are sharpened as students capture garden images that depict line, shape, color, texture, and patterns. There are 2 options for this field trip. Please specify when requesting your field trip which option you choose.

Option 1: Digital photography. In small groups, students use our waterproof digital cameras to capture images from our grounds. As we hike, we make frequent stops to give students the opportunity to take pictures. Students’ photographs are sent (via Dropbox) to the classroom after the field trip is completed.

Option 2: Oil pastels. We hike and admire the natural world around us. On our walk, we may gather plant material from the ground to inspire our artwork. After our walk, we gather more leaves and plant materials from our Children’s Garden, then settle down with oil pastels and paper. After discussing some tips for success when working with this medium, each student draws the plant part of their choice. Classes take the students’ artwork back to school with them that day.

Grade 5, Middle, and High School

At this time Lyon Arboretum does not offer field trips specifically tailored for students in grades 5 and up. We will work with the school to provide an experience at the Arboretum that supports the objective for learning for your grade level. There are programs that we do offer that are suitable for various grades, including older students: See “Arboretum Expedition,” “Art in Nature’s Garden,” and “Self-Guided” options.

All Grades: Arboretum Expedition (Waterfall hike)

If you would like to spend the morning hiking in all weather, this is the trip for you. Unlike our other, standards-based field trips, this is a fluid experience. The topics discussed and routes taken will vary according to weather conditions, what’s in bloom, group age, and the energy level of the group. Although we will try to accommodate requests for specific topics or features, we cannot promise to address any specific standard. While our other field trips include an indoor portion, this field trip will be conducted entirely outdoors.*

Topics that might be covered: parts of a plant, interdependence of plants and animals (e.g., pollination), adaptations and habitats, role of plants in the watershed, history of Lyon Arboretum, native Hawaiian plants, invasive plants in Hawaii, use of plants by people, relationships between people and nature.

Waterfall hike option: We can, by prior request, host a guided waterfall hike. This is limited to 1 class or up to 30 students per day. Please note that our waterfall is often dry unless there has been recent rainfall; however, the walk to the endpoint is always beautiful. 

*This field trip is intended to be spent entirely outdoors, rain or shine. However, in the case of extreme weather conditions, we may opt to spend time indoors for student safety and comfort. It can get quite cold in Mānoa, especially when there is heavy rain and wind.

– Open to all grades, K-12. Kindergarten and 1st grade groups will do a shorter hike with more frequent stops.
– Exact route through the Arboretum, plants and features seen, and topics addressed will vary.
– Ideal for groups whose goal is to get the kids outside and immersed in nature and not to address a specific set of standards. This trip could be a good outing for reinforcing a recently-concluded unit.
– Most of this trip will be spent hiking, so consider the kids’ and adults’ capabilities.
– This field trip will not be visiting the waterfall.

– This field trip is limited to 1 class or up to 30 children per day.
– Groups must be physically able to walk over uneven and slippery terrain for up to 2.5 hours (with regular, short rests).
– Groups must be prepared for heavy rain, cold weather, hot weather, intense sun, and mosquitoes.
– Although we will have bathroom breaks, sometimes nature calls at inconvenient times. Chaperones must be able to accompany individual children to the bathroom if necessary. Arboretum staff may not be able to accompany individuals to the bathrooms if they are out on the grounds with the group.
– Students or chaperones who are unprepared for the hike (see below) will not be able to fully participate in the field trip.

Participants must bring the following:
– Proper walking shoes. Crocs, slippers, open-toed shoes, and “fashion shoes” are not appropriate.
– Water bottles (each child must carry their OWN water)
– Snacks for the hike (carried by individual children or a chaperone). We will make multiple stops, at least one of which will be a snack break.
– Rain gear: raincoats or ponchos (inexpensive ponchos can be purchased at Longs and other places). Umbrellas will not be permitted as participants will need both hands free.
– We strongly recommend BUG SPRAY. There are many mosquitoes at the Arboretum. Please apply bug spray before arriving at the Arboretum.
– Sunscreen should be applied prior to arriving at the Arboretum.
– A hat with a brim (baseball cap) is recommended for protection from the sun and to keep rain off the face.

Self-Guided Field Trips

Self-Guided field trips are an alternative option for individual classes (of no more than 25 students) that would like to create their own unique experience at the Arboretum. Explore the gardens and trails at your own pace, while having the flexibility to create a customized meaningful outdoor experience for your students.

The Education Department may be able to provide some resources. You can also check out our shop page to learn more about our Digital Resources Bundles. 

IMPORTANT: Teachers/field trip coordinators who have not been up to Lyon Arboretum are REQUIRED to attend a Self-Guided Tour Teacher orientation provided by the Education staff prior to the date of a scheduled visit.

The orientation will cover such information as recommended trails to take the students on, topics that can be discussed with the class, resources that can be provided, safety, and the logistics of bringing classes up (drop-off and pick-up, bathroom location, etc).

Only one teacher/leader from the group is required to attend. For questions or to request an orientation, call the Education Department: (808) 988-0461.

Requirements/Important Details:

  • Available for ALL grade levels, K and up
  • Must be a single class of no more than 25 students
  • Teachers that have not previously been on a field trip to Lyon must attend a pre-visit orientation of the grounds and review safety rules with Lyon Education Staff prior to coming with their students.
  • Lyon Education Staff are not available to escort the group from the bus drop off zone up the access road to Lyon
  • Groups can stay for up to 3 hours, with the earliest arrival being 9 am.
  • Lyon Education and Visitors Center buildings are unavailable for activity/lunch use – lunch is allowed on the grounds, weather permitting
  • Cost is $6.00 per person (as opposed to the $8.00 rate for Lyon Staff-led field trips)
  • Chaperone-to-student ratio is 1:10