K-12 Field Trips

Advisory Regarding Schools and Organized Groups with Minors

Any school or organized group that intends to bring minors to Lyon Arboretum MUST COORDINATE their visit through the Lyon Education Office. This is to ensure proper safety and etiquette protocols are followed, group information and forms are gathered, and logistics have been cleared. See below for details and contact information.
Click the image above to watch an educational video about Lyon Arboretum

Click the image above to watch an educational video about Lyon Arboretum!

Aloha! Our field trip curriculum and policies have changed. In addition, we are now utilizing an online request system for bookings. Please read through the information below to see what’s new and to book your field trip. Mahalo!

Summer field trips: We ARE currently accepting field trip reservations for the summer. During the summer, we primarily book self-guided field trips. Please review the notes below on self-guided field trips, especially the limit on how many students are permitted to attend. Those seeking special accommodation can contact us directly (See “Contact” at the bottom of the page).

SY 2019-2020 Field Trips: We are not currently accepting field trip reservations for the coming 2019-2020 school year. We will open reservations for the upcoming academic year on Monday, July 29. Title I schools can apply for financial assistance at that time.

Tips to prepare before making your reservation: Pick your top 3 date (or sets of dates) to request and review the field trip theme for your grade level.

General Information:

Lyon Arboretum offers hands-on outdoor field trips for children in grades K and up, which adhere to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and/or the Hawai’i Content and Performance Standards III (HCPS III). Take a look at the information below to learn more about visiting the Arboretum with your school group.

Click on one of the general topics below to expand the information.


Field trips led by Education Staff are offered for Grades K through 4 on all weekdays excluding Wednesdays. We book up very quickly and recommend reserving a date 4-6 months in advance. Dates are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Open dates for the current school year are listed below in the “Booking Your Field Trip” section, just above the online form.

IMPORTANT: field trips are NOT confirmed until you receive an official confirmation packet. Do not book school buses until you have received official confirmation from us.

Reservations for the 2019-2020 school year are cannot be made at this time. We will open reservations for the upcoming academic year on Monday, July 29. Title I schools can apply for financial assistance at that time.

Tips to prepare before making your reservation: Pick your top 3 date (or sets of dates) to request and review the field trip theme for your grade level.

AVAILABLE DATES (Dates are subject to change)

Summer 2019

June: 17, 18, 25, 26, 27, 28

July: 8, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31

August : 1, 2


Field trips start at 9am and end at 12pm. This includes two to three activities then lunch on our grounds.

If you would prefer to eat lunch at your school, then the field trip end time would be 11:30am.


Field trips are free for Teachers and other school staff, $5 per Parent Chaperone, and $5 per student.

There is a minimum fee of $125 for field trips (which includes students and parents). If you have less than 25 students in your group, you may bring more paying chaperones to help meet the minimum fee. Please notify us if you will be bringing more than the required number of chaperones.

Title I Schools Support: With a grant from the Garden Club of Honolulu, Lyon Arboretum will be offering financial assistance for Title I Schools to bring students outside where they can have hands-on learning about Hawaiʻi’s plants and environment. Click here for the details: LyonArboretumFieldTripKokua

Financial assistance is only available for field trips during the school year, not the summer.


Field trips may be canceled by a school without charge up to two (2) weeks prior to the scheduled field trip date. If a field trip is canceled with less than two weeks’ notice, a cancellation fee of 20% of the estimated field trip cost will be automatically invoiced to the organizer/school.

In the event that Lyon has to cancel a school’s field trip (due to extreme weather or other reason), there will be no charge to the school.

Group Size

Due to our small staff size, limited facilities and safety concerns, we cannot accommodate more than a maximum of 60 students at a time. We also reserve the right to decline requests from groups who wish to bring up more than 60 students per visit. Thank you for your understanding.

Larger groups MUST schedule multiple field trips to the Arboretum.


Chaperones are required. Our field trips are designed around collaborative students groups and active engagement and assistance from all attending chaperones (this includes both school staff and parents).

Each chaperone will be expected to lead a small group of ~4-6 students throughout the field trip.

The minimum number of chaperones required are based on the size of the group – see the table below for guidelines. Additional chaperones may attend, however, please note that they will be asked to double-up with another adult in leading/facilitating a small student group during activities.

0-10 students: 2 chaperones needed
10-19 students: 3 chaperones needed
19-24 students: 4 chaperones needed
25-29 students: 5 chaperones needed
30-36 students: 6 chaperones needed
37-48 students: 8 chaperones needed
49-60 students: 10 chaperones needed

Safety Policies - Environment, Extreme Weather, Physical Requirements, Accessibility

Safety is our number one priority during our field trips. Due to Lyon Arboretum’s lush natural setting and the physically active nature of our field trip activities, all groups must understand and comply with the following precautions and policies:

Lyon Arboretum is situated in the very back of Manoa Valley, in a tropical rainforest ecosystem. Weather is unpredictable and conditions fluctuate between hot and sunny, cool and overcast, and light or heavy rain. Trails can be potentially muddy and slippery, and mosquitoes can be a nuisance. Field trips at Lyon Arboretum are conducted in rain or shine, and activities may have to be adjusted on the spot due to sudden changes in weather.

In the event of extreme rain, high winds or other dangerous weather conditions, field trips will be cancelled for safety reasons by Education Staff no later than 7:30am the morning of the excursion. Typically, bus companies will not charge a school for bus cancellation if it is due to safety concerns. If we cancel your school’s field trip we will try our best to reschedule your group, depending on the availability of open dates. There is no charge to you if your field trip is cancelled due to extreme weather. Occasionally weather becomes extreme as groups are in-transit to or already at the Arboretum. In that case, activities are adjusted as best as possible to ensure everyone’s safety.

All attending school staff, parent chaperones, and children must be prepared for the active and outdoor nature of field trip activities at Lyon Arboretum*. Participants must be able to stand and walk around for the duration of the 3-hour visit (excluding the 30 minute lunch) as well as navigate uphill/downhill slopes and uneven or unstable terrain. Participants may be subject to mud, heavy rain, sun, wind, and mosquitoes and must dress appropriately to ensure their safety and comfort.

*Please notify Lyon Education Staff well in advance of your school’s field trip date if there are any concerns regarding accessibility or requests for special accommodations.

Field Trips Offered:

Click on one of the grade levels below to display a brief description of activities and the standards met for each field trip offered at the Lyon Arboretum.


At this time Lyon Arboretum is not offering staff-led fieldtrips for preschool groups, as we are currently working on improving our physical grounds and curriculum to create a safer, more engaging experience for the youngest school groups that visit us. Please check back at a later time for updates. Mahalo for your understanding.

See the “Self-Guided” tab for an alternative option.

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 smells and tastes of different plant parts, a guided exploration of leaf shapes and textures, and a plant scavenger hunt for all the colors of a rainbow. Students will also have the chance to plant and take home a sunflower and a plant drawing.

NGSS Covered for Kindergarten:
Disciplinary Core Idea LS1 From Molecule to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Disciplinary Core Idea Components A. Structure and Function

B. Growth and Development of Organisms

Crosscutting Concept Cause and Effect
Scientific and Engineering Practices Developing and using models
HCPS III Covered for Kindergarten:
Strand Life and Environmental Sciences
Standard Standard 4: Structure and Function in organisms: Understand the structures and functions of living organisms and how organisms can be compared scientifically
Topic Interdependence
Benchmark SC.K.4.1-Identify differences between living and non-living things

Grade 1: Sort It Out

In this new 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 sweet potato, sugar cane, kalo, and ti leaf during in-the-field observations and data collection in our ethnobotanical garden. Students will get further experience in recognizing plant trait variation during our “build-a-kalo” game and will also make leaf rubbings that show leaf characteristics, to take home with them.

NGSS Covered for 1st Grade:
Disciplinary Core Idea LS3-Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Disciplinary Core Idea Components LS3-1.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 Concept Patterns
Scientific and Engineering Practices Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information
HCPS III Covered for 1st Grade:
Strand Life and Environmental Sciences
Standard Standard 5: Diversity, Genetics, and Evolution: Understand genetics and biological evolution and their impact on the unity and diversity of organisms
Topic Heredity
Benchmark SC.1.5.1-Identify ways in which the same kinds of plants and the same kinds of animals differ

Grade 2: Plants and Friends

In this new 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 and a fruit-treasures scavenger hunt 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 the various flowers and fruits on our grounds and identify the type of organism that might pollinate its flowers or disperse its seeds.

NGSS Covered for 2nd Grade:
Disciplinary Core Idea 2-LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

2-LS2-2: Develop a simple models that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing or pollinating plants

Disciplinary Core Idea Components A.     Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Plants depend on animals for pollination

Plants depend  on animals to move their seeds around

Crosscutting Concepts Cause and Effect
Scientific and Engineering Practices Analyzing and Interpreting (Data)
HCPS III Covered for 2nd Grade:
Strand Life and Environmental Sciences
Standard Standard 3: Organisms and the Environment: Understand the unity, diversity, and interrelationships of organisms, including their relationship to cycles of matter and energy in the environment
Topic Interdependence
Benchmark SC.2.3.1- Describe how animals depend on plants and animals

Grade 3: Art in Nature’s Garden

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 use our waterproof digital cameras to capture garden images that depict line, shape, color, texture, and patterns. Students write nature haiku and can collect materials on their rainforest hike to be used later in a classroom art project. We provide you with a cd with the student’s photos after the field trip.

HCPS III Covered for 3rd Grade:
Strand Reading
Standard Standard 1: Conventions and Skills: Use knowledge of the conventions of language and texts to construct meaning for a range of literary and informational texts for a variety of purposes
Topic Alphabetic Understanding
Benchmark LA.3.1.1 Use knowledge of sounds and letters to decode regular multi-syllabic words
Topic Vocabulary and Concept Development
Benchmark LA.3.1.3 Use new grade-appropriate vocabulary, including homophones and homographs, introduced in stories, informational texts, word study, and reading
Strand Writing
Standard Standard 5: Rhetoric: Use rhetorical devices to craft writing appropriate to audience and purpose
Topic Clarity
Benchmark LA.3.5.4 Use specific verbs and adverbs to describe people, places, things, or events
Strand Visual Arts
Standard Standard 1: Visual Arts: Understand and apply art materials, techniques, and processes in the creation of works of art and understand how the visual arts communicate a variety of ideas, feelings, and experiences
Topic How the Arts are Organized
Benchmark FA.3.1.1 How the Arts are Organized Use the elements and principles of art and design, including, value (i.e., tints and shades, analogous colors), line, rhythm, movement, proportion, and balance
Topic How the Arts Communicate
Benchmark FA.3.1.3 Use observational skills in creating an original work of art

Grade 4: Ka Wai Ola

In this field trip, students will learn about our ever-changing environment and the impacts of water, humans, and other components have on its health and function. Students will physically demonstrate water’s movement through a landscape, as well as discuss the concepts of erosion, watershed protection, and the general water cycle. Within small groups, students will identify and observe the biotic and abiotic components around them and hypothesize about their interaction and impact on the surrounding landscape. Students will also collaborate with a partner on a creative design activity that will help demonstrate the power of human impact and non-point source pollution on our waterways.

Due to the nature of the activities for this field trip, only one class (with a maximum size of 30) can be accommodated per day. Groups with more than 30 students must request to come on separate days. 

HCPS III Covered for 4th Grade:
Strand The Scientific Process
Standard Nature of Science: Understand that science, technology, and society are interrelated
Topic Science Technology and Society
Benchmark SC.4.2.1 Describe how the use of technology has influenced the economy, demography, and environment of Hawaii
Strand Life and Environmental Science
Standard Standard 3: Organisms and the Environment: Understand the unity, diversity, and interrelationships of organisms, including their relationship to cycles of matter and energy in the environment
Topic Interdependence
Benchmark SC.4.3.2 Describe how an organism’s behavior is determined by its environment
Standard Standard 5: Diversity, Genetics, And Evolution: Understand genetics and biological evolution and their impact on the unity and diversity of organisms
Topic Unity and Diversity
Benchmark SC.4.5.2 Describe the roles of various organisms in the same environment
Benchmark SC.4.5.3 Describe how different organisms need specific environmental conditions to survive
Strand Physical, Earth, and Space Sciences
Standard Standard 8: Earth and Space Science: Understand the Earth and its processes, the solar system, and the universe and its contents
Topic Forces that Shape the Earth
Benchmark SC.4.8.1 Describe how slow processes sometimes shape and reshape the surface of the Earth
Strand Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
Standard Data Analysis: Develop and evaluate inferences, predictions, and arguments that are based on data
Topic Predictions and Inferences
Benchmark MA.4.13.1 Propose and justify conclusions/predictions based on data

Grades 5 and up

At this time Lyon Arboretum is not offering staff-led field trips for students in grades 5 and up, as we are currently working on improving our curriculum and activities for older students. Please check back at a later time for updates. Mahalo for your understanding.

See the “Self-Guided” tab for an alternative option.

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 and if the classroom is available, space for the group to eat lunch.

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, PK 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 group from bus drop off zone up the access road to Lyon
  • – Groups can stay for up to 3 hours, with the earliest arrival being 9am.
  • – Lyon Education and Visitor Center buildings are unavailable for activity/lunch use – lunch is allowed on the grounds, weather permitting
  • – Cost is $3 per person (as opposed to the $5 rate for Lyon Staff-led field trips)
  • – Chaperone-to-student ratio is 1:10

Booking Your Field Trip:

We are now utilizing an online request form for booking field trips. We are no longer accepting bookings via phone or email. If you need further assistance or special accommodation, see the “Contact” section below.

A Lyon Education staff member will follow up with you shortly after you submit your form to provide confirmation.

SUMMER 2019 Field Trips: To book a summer 2019 field trip, click below.

Click Here To Book a Summer 2019 Field Trip

We will be offering only SELF-GUIDED field trips during the 2019 summer. Resources can be requested to help enhance your experience. If you have questions, please call (808) 988-0461.

2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR: We are not yet accepting bookings for the coming 2019-2020 school year. We will open reservations for the upcoming academic year on Monday, July 29. Title I schools can apply for financial assistance at that time. 

Tips to prepare before making your reservation: Pick your top 3 date (or sets of dates) to request and review the field trip theme for your grade level.


Lyon Arboretum Education Department
Phone: (808)988-0461
Office Hours: 7:15am*-4:00pm Monday-Friday
*Please note that we are typically out of the office between 9am-12pm conducting our daily field trips.