School Programming

Welcome to your 200-acre outdoor classroom!

Our programs bring learning to life as students use their observational skills and senses to discover the wonder of nature. Our naturalists will facilitate hands-on activities with students as they explore the trails and habitats of the Nature Center grounds.

Indian Creek Nature Center offers a variety of programs and trail experiences for students of all ages. Select an option below to learn more!

Why Indian Creek Nature Center?

There is no classroom like the woodlands, prairies, wetlands and trails of Indian Creek Nature Center. Here, children experience the world around them with all five senses, guided by experienced naturalists who skillfully weave formal classroom experiences into hands-on learning outdoors. Nature is truly the best classroom. Every day, we see the enthusiasm, the smiles and the excitement on children’s faces. We hear the stories from teachers like you about how their students blossomed at the Nature Center. 

For almost 50 years teachers have trusted us to deliver engaging, meaningful environmental and outdoor education. We strive to deliver a quality educational experience that supplements your curriculum, and as a result each field trip meets Iowa Core, Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. We value play and exploration as a form of learning – your students will do plenty of that here. They won’t even realize how much they’re learning.

Time spent in nature with your class:

    • Supports children’s creativity and imaginations. 
    • Reinforces concepts taught in the classroom. 
    • Provides a refreshing change of pace for students. 
    • Helps children to better learn important math and science concepts.
    • Helps children retain and recall information.
    • Allows for unique class bonding and experiential learning.

Scholarship Funding

Indian Creek Nature Center Program Scholarships

Indian Creek Nature Center offers limited scholarship dollars to visiting schools in an effort to lessen financial barriers to accessing nature-based education. 

To learn more and submit your application, please click here. If you have questions regarding funding availability, please contact Andria.

Please note: All funds for the 2022 calendar year have been awarded. We are currently accepting applications for January-May 2023.

Silos and Smokestacks Transportation Funding

Funds are available on a first-come basis with applications accepted each school year beginning on August 1. This scholarship program is not affiliated with Indian Creek Nature Center scholarship funds, but are available for field trips to our site because we are a SSNHA Partner Site.

Click here for more information. All questions and applications should be directed to SSNHA.

Scheduling and Policies

Please call the Nature Center at 319-362-0664 or click here to request your program. Our registrar will assist you in finding an available date and getting your program scheduled.

Some dates fill quickly; please plan ahead. Indian Creek Nature Center offers field trips year-round, Tuesday through Friday. Field trips start times can be scheduled between 9 AM–2 PM. Some field trips are only offered at certain times of the year (see specific field trip listings). 

Registration Policy

Groups may send booking requests via electronic form or via email. Registration opens in mid-summer for each school year and mid-March for summer programming. Once a booking request is received, the Registrar will respond to complete your registration. Depending on your group size, multiple sessions may be required to accommodate all participants. We are happy to provide programming for groups of less than 10 students; however, we do require a minimum payment totaling 10 student admissions. All school and private group programs must read and agree to our cancellation policy prior to booking a field trip. A program is not considered scheduled until the Registrar confirms your booking via email. 

Nature Center staff will email group contacts 2-3 weeks prior to the program start date to confirm group numbers and provide information on what to expect during your visit. If we do not receive electronic confirmation, we will call to confirm one week prior to your visit. 

Payment Policy

Groups have the option to pay in-person via cash, credit card or check. We request that all groups use one form of payment. If you prefer, an electronic invoice will be sent to the group coordinator or billing contact after the program.

Payment may be sent via check to Indian Creek Nature Center Attn: Registrar, 5300 Otis Rd SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403. If you wish to pay by credit card, please call 319-362-0664 during business hours.

Private groups/homeschool groups: The group coordinator (person making the reservation) will be responsible for collecting the admission fee from participants and submitting one payment to Indian Creek Nature Center.

Cancellation Policy

Our field trips take place in all seasons, and are not canceled due to weather. The exception is if the Cedar Rapids school district or your district cancels school due to weather. If you cancel your program less than 14 days in advance, a $25 cancellation fee will be charged. For cancellations less than 48 hours in advance, an additional $25 administration fee will be charged. This includes all reasons other than dangerous weather or other severe circumstances such as school closure. An attempt to reschedule canceled programs will be made pending availability. 

Private groups/homeschool groups: The group coordinator (person making the reservation) will be responsible for any cancellation or administrative fees that apply to your reservation.

Extreme Weather Policy

In the event of extreme temperatures that would make an outdoor field trip, camp, or special event dangerous for the well being of the participants, an Indian Creek Nature Center staff member will make the decision to modify the program to be appropriate to the conditions, including moving the program indoors. During extreme heat, ICNC program participants will be provided with water, given frequent hydration breaks, and allowed to cool off. Volunteers and staff are also encouraged to take frequent breaks and limit the time outside as much as possible. Given our ample space and resources, very rarely does the need arise to cancel a field trip, camp, or program due to extreme temperatures.

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