Plan a Self-Guided Field Trip
We welcome self-guided school and youth groups throughout the year on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no fee for self-guided groups; however, we do require advance registration so that we can coordinate your visit with our program schedule. NOTE: The Garden is closed on Mondays and state holidays.
To schedule, complete the Self-Guided Field Trip Request Form at least one (1) week before you plan to visit.
We can accommodate self-guided groups of up to 50 children per day, depending on our program schedule. If you would like to bring more than 50 children, you will need to request an additional self-guided visit on another date. Please fill out a request form for each date you would like to visit.
We require one adult chaperone/teacher for every 5 children. A maximum of 10 chaperones/ teachers per program are permitted. Children must be under direct adult supervision at all times.
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
- The Garden is located at 100 Old Mason Farm Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27517. Directions can be found here.
- Buses and vans can drop off students at the passenger drop-off area, then park in the designated bus parking spaces (see Garden Map).
- Please give the ‘For Bus Drivers’ page to your bus or van driver.
- If coming by cars, carpooling is strongly encouraged as parking is limited. Carpooling also helps to reduce emissions and fulfill our conservation mission!
- Groups are welcome to eat lunch in the Picnic Area located at the center of the parking lot (see Garden Map).
- There are 12 tables available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Please leave the area clean and properly dispose of any trash. Trash and recycling bins are available in the picnic area.
- We do not have an indoor area for groups to eat or a place to store lunches. Most groups leave lunches on the bus, and either have a teacher/group leader retrieve them or have the bus drop them off at the entryway for pickup at a designated time.
- Prior to your visit, remind children and chaperones that the field trip will take place outdoors. Participants should dress for the weather and to be outdoors. Bug spray and sunscreen are recommended during warm weather.
- Participants must be under direct adult supervision at all times. Teachers and chaperones are responsible for the conduct of their groups. Please review the behavior guidelines below with your group before your visit.
- Group restrooms are available in the Education Center (see Garden Map).
- Please do not gather in the buildings.
- NOTE: The Peacock Discovery Room is not open to school groups.
STUDENT BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS
The North Carolina Botanical Garden is a public garden and part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are an outdoor living museum made up of native plant gardens and nature trails, which provide habitat for a variety of wildlife. To ensure that your visit is a great experience, please follow the guidelines and expectations for behavior outlined below.
- Cooperate with Garden staff and follow directions.
- Use quiet or “inside voices”. Encourage everyone to listen for the many natural sounds.
- Walking feet only.
- Stay on pathways to protect plants and animals. Garden beds are for plants, not feet!
- Leave all flowers, leaves, seeds, sticks, rocks, and animals as you find them so that everyone can enjoy them. The Garden is their home. No picking or collecting.
- Carnivorous plants are for eyes only. Touching the Venus flytraps, sundews, and pitcher plants can hurt them. Do not feed the plants.
- Respect other visitors.
- Be aware of your surroundings and respect the space around you. We share the gardens and trails with wild animals.
- Respect program materials and equipment, facilities, and yourself.
- Keep your feet on the ground. Do not climb, hang, or swing on trees, buildings, or sculptures.
FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AND SEE
- The Children’s Wonder Garden allows kids to be kids with a meadow for games, a digging area, stumps to jump, a pollinator garden with bee hotels, and little woods to explore (see Garden 2 on the Garden Map).
- Check out the Bird Blind for viewing birds (see Landmark A on the Garden Map).
- Compare who lives in the Salamander Pool (Landmark D) and Turtle Pond (Landmark C), both found in the Coastal Plain Habitat (Garden 6).
- Explore the Water Gardens (Garden 9).
- Be sure to visit the Carnivorous Plant Collection to see endemic Venus flytraps as well as native pitcher plants and sundews (Garden 10).
- Use the Gathering Circle to discuss what you have noticed, what you wonder, and what it reminds you of (Landmark H).
- Find Nature Activities for Kids, such as printable scavenger hunts, at https://ncbg.unc.edu/learn/kids-activities.