Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center

Onsite School Programs: Registration

Mighty, Mighty Nature

Grades: 5,6,7,8

In this 3-hour lesson, we’ll travel along Adams Bayou where the Survivor tree stands tall. The Survivor tree has been casting its shadow across the water for generations. It could tell many stories of the oldest predators – like of alligators and gar fish lurking around the swamp. On this excursion, we’ll discover the history and strength of this old friend and get a chance to count the age of another tree. Then, we’ll dig deeper into the surrounding ecosystem by dissecting powerful invasive plant species, and conducting an experiment to check the strength of a very mighty insect. We’ll study the Alligator mississipiensis to reveal its power and finesse, and hike along Ruby Lake, stopping at favorite spots to explore the many impressive plants and animals who live there. This lesson DOES include a boat ride.

Soil and the Landscape

Grades: 3,4,5

During this 2-hour lesson, students will explore the relationships between rocks, soil, and water in order to discover more about landscape formation. Students will be introduced to the many different types of rocks. They will be challenged to identify a mystery rock after conducting introductory level laboratory tests. Then, we’ll break it down and investigate the different types of soil, and find out what kind of soil we have right here in Southeast Texas. We’ll adventure out to examine real water features formed around Shangri La Gardens and then model our very own stream simulations with a hands-on erosion experiment. This lesson DOES NOT include a boat ride.

Animal Safari

Grades: 1,2,3

During this 2-hour lesson, students will explore different areas of our gardens and bayou, observing animal behaviors, characteristics, basic needs, and habitats.  Using investigations and games, we will sort animals into basic groups (mammals, fish, birds, etc.), and explore how animals compete with each other for resources. This lesson DOESinclude a boat ride.

On the Hunt

Grades: 5,6,7,8

Go on the hunt for animals with us during this 4 ½ hour program. At Shangri La Gardens, students will observe how animals survive within their habitat.  We will search for and examine tracks, skulls, and other animal signs left behind in their habitat and learn about specific eating habits of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. At the Stark Museum of Art, students will stalk the galleries to find animals depicted in artworks, including 16th century European hunting prints (on loan from the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston), as well as discuss the role hunting and art plays in habitat conservation. In the studio, students will learn how to make a print of their own design and will then hand color the print. This lesson DOESinclude a boat ride.

Grasshopper Dissection

Grades: 4,5,6,7,8

In this 2-hour lesson, students will practice safe lab procedures as we introduce them to the wonders of dissection.  Students will focus on the unique external anatomy of grasshoppers and will glimpse the internal anatomy of an herbivore.  Students will remove the legs, wings, antennae, and all mouth parts.  They will tape these to a card that they get to keep.  This is an indoor lesson and does not include a boat tour.

Audubon Adventures

Grades: 1,2,3,4

Experience the best of the Stark Museum of Art and Shangri La Gardens! For 4½ hours, students will embark on an adventure to explore the natural habitats of Shangri La Gardens and discover how John James Audubon changed the way we see nature during their visit to the Museum. At the Gardens, students will experience meadow, forest, and bayou habitats while searching for the animals that live in these places. At the Museum, students will learn how art and science come together when creating animal paintings, sculptures, and prints. During the studio art experience, students will create their own animal-inspired artwork. This lesson DOESinclude a boat ride.

Beneficial Bugs

Grades: K,1,2

During this 2-hour lesson, students will discover that humans cannot live without bugs! Students will discover the relationship between plants and pollinators as they collect insects, sample different types of honey, release beneficial insects into our Children’s Garden, and more! This lesson DOES NOT include a boat tour.   

Crawfish Tales

Grades: 1,2,3

During this 2-hour lesson, students will investigate our local friend, the crawfish. We’ll explore the swamp habitat where the crawfish lives, and even practice building a crawfish home too. We’ll investigate how the crawfish survives out in the swamp by meeting one in person! Then, we’ll discover the role a crawfish has in its food chain by trying to catch its prey. This lesson DOES include a boat tour.

Nature Notebooks

Grades: 3,4,5,6,7,8

During this 2-hour lesson, students will capture their observations of the natural world through word and creativity. Each student’s nature journal will offer the opportunity to experience connection with the natural world. Through individual documentation, students will work to build skills in observation, sketching, and appreciation of nature’s beauty and mystery. Students will make observations and document what they encounter in the gardens, forest, swamp, and bayou. This authentic use of a real scientific tool helps students understand what science is and to think of themselves as scientists. This lesson DOES include a boat tour.

Noisy Nature

Grades: 3,4,5

Nature can be very noisy! During this 2-hour lesson, we’ll experience the musical sounds of our natural world and develop critical listening skills. We’ll explore the science of sound and engage in acoustic activities. We’ll investigate how vibrations affect sound and pitch, then discover the differences in decibels. This lesson DOES NOT include a boat ride.

Garden Explorers

Grades: Pre-K, K

During this 1½-hour lesson, students will use all five senses to explore Shangri La Gardens. Students will plant a seed to take home, experience a veggie tasting, enjoy story time, identify animal sounds, and play a game!  This program DOES NOT include a boat tour. 

Onsite School Program Registration 22-23

  • Please enter a number greater than or equal to 1.
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  • For safety reasons, Shangri La Gardens requires 1 adult for every 10 students, plus one extra. For example, if you have 20 students in your class, you should bring 3 adults, including teachers and parents. Exception: one-on-one aides.
  • Requested Time - First Choice

    ATTENTION: Please reference the calendar above (also at the back of our Schedule of Classes catalog) for dates of programs.
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  • Requested Time - Second Choice

    ATTENTION: Please reference the calendar above (also at the back of our Schedule of Classes catalog) for dates of programs.
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  • Requested Time - Third Choice

    ATTENTION: Please reference the calendar above (also at the back of our Schedule of Classes catalog) for dates of programs.
  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • BY RESERVING ANY SHANGRI LA BOTANICAL GARDENS AND NATURE CENTER (“SHANGRI LA GARDENS”) SCHOOL PROGRAM, INCLUDING ONSITE FIELD TRIP, VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP, OR OUTREACH PROGRAM (COLLECTIVELY “SCHOOL PROGRAM”), THE SCHOOL AND/OR HOMESCHOOL PARENT ASSUMES ALL RISK INCIDENT TO THE SCHOOL PROGRAM INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO PROPERTY DAMAGE AND PERSONAL INJURY OR ILLNESS, AND BY RESERVING THIS SCHOOL PROGRAM NOW AGREES TO RELEASE SHANGRI LA GARDENS AND THE NELDA C. AND H. J. LUTCHER STARK FOUNDATION, OUR AGENTS, AND RELATED ENTITIES FROM ALL LIABILITY FOR ANY LOSS, INJURY, ILLNESS, OR DAMAGE THAT YOU MAY SUSTAIN, EVEN IF THE LOSS, INJURY, ILLNESS, OR DAMAGE IS CAUSED BY OUR SOLE NEGLIGENCE OR FAULT.
  • Shangri La Garden's Field Trip programs are reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. Reservations are not complete until it is confirmed by a Shangri La Gardens Education Staff Member.
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