School & Group Programs from Indiana State Parks

school kid

Much of the spring and fall programming at Indiana State Parks is with local school groups. Programs include general hikes, visits to unique property features and curriculum-based sessions designed by property staff and/or teachers. Program times generally range from 1-4 hours and are available at sites with a full time interpretive naturalist. Some interpreters also offer in-school programming during winter. On site and off-site programs are available to scout and other youth groups. Because of high demand, call early to schedule.

Resources for teachers and students

Each property has unique features and a focus in programming and exhibits. These themes can help teachers choose sites and field trip content.

Themes can also help students when writing research reports about an Indiana state park or reservoir. Start by exploring the special stories and features in the Discovering a Sense of Place (PDF) brochure.

The elementary school centennial curriculum explores Indiana’s history through the lens of Indiana State Parks.

Programs on-site

A $1 per person fee is charged for on-site educational programs at state parks or reservoirs. Funds collected are used to support interpretation and education at our state park and reservoir properties. View the Group Program Fee FAQ (PDF). for details.

Programs off-site

A $2 per person fee is usually charged for off-site programs at schools or other locations, but that fee may be adjusted depending on program type, staff needed, and distance traveled. Many schools and groups are stretching budgets, and we want to help. At the same time, we want to connect students to the outdoors and to the parks and reservoirs in their own backyards.

Properties may limit distances traveled since budgets are tight. They may also limit the number of days for off-site programs so we don't overlook our regular property visitors.

Discover the Outdoors Field Trip Grants

Indiana State Parks offers field trip grants to Indiana educators and their students. This grant program, in partnership with the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, is designed to distribute funds to public, private, parochial, or home school educators interested in taking students on field trips to an Indiana state park or reservoir. The fund was established in memory of Tom Huck, a long-time DNR employee and supporter of interpretive naturalists and outdoor experiences for children.

Field trips can engage students in learning about Indiana's fish, forest, wildlife, or natural habitats and their conservation, or about Indiana's history and cultural resources as they relate to Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs. These learning experiences should support science, social studies and other academic concepts being taught in the classroom. Grants will enable educators to provide real-world learning experiences beyond the classroom.

Any educator in a school or school district in Indiana from kindergarten to grade 12 may apply for the grant. Educators in home school groups are also eligible. Additional grant requirements are included in the application form.

Applications are accepted between May 1 - June 30 each year for the school year to follow.