Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is a unique community resource well suited to
reinforce students’ knowledge of Virginia history and natural
resources. Its 650 acres feature historic structures and evidence
of past land use as well as a diversity of natural habitats in which
students can observe firsthand the relationships between plants,
animals and their environments, human impacts on the natural
world and more.
Visitor Center features a live animal display and exhibits on
the parkland’s history. Unless otherwise noted, field trips meet
at the Walney Visitor Center, 5040 Walney Road, Chantilly,
Although SOL correlations are noted in the program descriptions
below, most programs can be tailored to meet the needs of
pre-school through 6th grades with advanced notice. Please
discuss your field trip goals with a naturalist when reserving a
program date. Programs fill quickly.
Reservations and Payment
Programs are available Monday through Friday mornings from September
until June. Staff permitting, programs may also be scheduled
on select afternoons. Students may be divided into smaller
Fairfax County Schools
1-hour program $6 for students and chaperones
1.5 hour program $7 for students and chaperones
Teachers - FREE
Out of County Schools
1-hour program $7 for students and chaperones
1.5 hour program $8 for students and chaperones
Teachers - FREE
Payment in full is due on the day of your visit with check made
payable to “Fairfax County Park Authority” or with Visa or MasterCard
at Walney Visitor Center.
Advance reservations are required and the schedule fills up
quickly. To make a reservation request, use the Field Trip Calendar.
Click on a date with availability and complete the reservation request
CLICK FOR AVAILABILITY
Please be aware that you are not guaranteed to receive the specific
dates requested. All requests will be reviewed in the order that they
are received and you will be contacted to confirm your field trip
dates. No requests will be taken over the phone, however, if you have
any trouble please contact the site and staff will assist you in making
your field trip reservation request.
We look forward to your visit!
1.5 Hour Programs
Indian Life in Fairfax County
One of our most popular programs with 2nd and 4th grades!
Students explore what life may have been like for an Eastern Woodland
Indian and the relationship which they would have had with the land
that is now Fairfax County at the time of European
colonization. Students rotate between up to five stations to
learn about the uses of fire and native plants and animals, foodways,
personal decoration and skill-based games. Activities include a
trail hike in search of native plants and animals, corn grinding, and
a corn dart game. Naturalists will also talk about what
material evidence these peoples and those who came before them left
behind. This program is 90 minutes. SOLs addressed
include HSS 2.2 and VS.2.
Safari: Meadow and Stream Habitats
Students compare and contrast meadow and stream habitats and draw
conclusions about the general characteristics of the types of insects
found in each by making observations through field collection.
Students will explore the biodiversity of the insect world and the
importance of insects to other animals and plants. (This
program meets at the Cabell’s Mill complex across from Walney
Pond. 5235 Walney Road, Centreville. This is a 90 minute
program.) SOLs addressed include Science 2.4, 2.5.
Students investigate the physical and biological characteristics of
a pond habitat through hands-on collection (and release) of aquatic
insects and other pond dwellers. Naturalists will lead
observation and discussion of the interdependency of life found at
the pond, habitat characteristics and how human actions affect water
quality and life found in aquatic habitats. (This program meets
at Walney Pond.) SOLs addressed include Science 2.4 and 2.5.
Please note: This program can be modified to address the needs
of older grade levels.
Since before European settlement, people have grew things on the
land that became Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. This program allows
students to discover many different historic time periods in one
garden. In this program, students will plant crops like the Native
Americans, role-play an economic transaction between the Brown family
in the 1700s, prototype a machine to help the Machen family improve
their farm, and apply their learning to the future as they create a
class mural of their perfect community garden. Grades K-4. Available
spring of 2017. Meets the requirements for SOLs VS.2, VS.4, VS.7.
Did you know that during the Civil War, soldiers camped out at
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park? In this inclusive look at the Civil War,
students explore the hardships faced by both soldiers, civilians and
enslaved people. Students rotate between different stations and learn
how to drill, how to build a campfire and cook over it, and how to
read and make Civil War maps. Great for grade 4th through 6th.
Available starting October 2016. SOLs covered include Social Studies
VS.7 and USI.9.
1 Hour Programs
Students learn about adaptations, habitats, and life cycles by
observing reptiles and amphibians and their habitats. Students
will have an opportunity to see live native reptiles and amphibians
up close with a naturalist and will take a trail walk to explore a
variety of habitats within the park looking for other reptiles and
amphibians. SOLs addressed include Science K.6, 1.5, 2.4, 3.4,
3.5, 4.5, 5.5.
Students will learn the basics of tree biology, identification and
the important roles trees – both dead and alive – play in the
environment through an interactive game, discussions and trail
walk. Depending on the season, naturalists will guide students
in making tree identifications by examining and comparing leaves,
barks, twigs and/or seeds. SOLs addressed include Science 1.4,
Students explore the unique characteristics of the current season by
using their senses to make observations on this fun and interactive
trail walk. Other activities may include a trail listening
exercise and a game. SOLs addressed include Science K.6, 1.5,
Students explore the lives and life cycles of ants in this
entertaining, interactive program. While a naturalist leads
discussion, students act out stages in an ant’s life cycle and
perform a skit demonstrating how ants work together in a colony to
provide for their basic needs. Afterwards, students will take a
short trail walk to look for ants in their natural environment,
observe how they forage for food and identify the unique physical
characteristics that make ants insects. SOLs addressed include
Science K.6, 1.5, 1.6.
Colors in Nature
Young learners explore the grounds of the historic Walney Visitor
Center to find shapes and colors in nature to reinforce classroom
lessons. Students identify shapes and colors and guess what
they might find of similar shapes and colors in nature before setting
out to explore and discuss the how and why of what they find with a
naturalist. SOLs addressed include Science K.4, K.7, 1.4, 1.6.
Students learn about the food web, life cycles and decomposition
through naturalist-led discussion and field observations focusing on
the life of worms and who depends on them for a meal. Students
look for worms in leaf litter and beneath logs to collect and observe
before releasing. SOLs addressed include Science K.6, 1.4, 2.4, 2.5,
3.4, 3.5, 4.5.
On a short trail hike, students learn about the components of soil
and observe soil layers, decomposition and the impacts of erosion in
a forest. Interactive games demonstrating the water cycle help
prompt discussion of how clean water is a unique resource important
to all living things. SOLs addressed include Science 2.3, 2.6,
2.7 and 3.9.
Students learn what makes a plant a plant! During field study,
students make observations and draw conclusions by examining plants
in different systems, noting animal and plant interactions and
looking into plants’ roles in soil building. Naturalist-led
discussion includes basic plant biology and reproduction strategies,
the role of plants in ecosystems and food webs and why conservation
is important. Students also learn to identify, through
comparison and contrast, at least three different plant types.
SOLs addressed include SCI 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10, 4.4, 4.5 and
What determines, in part, what animals call Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
“home?” Students will use critical thinking and observation
skills to answer this question on a guided trail hike by comparing
the habitat needs of an assigned animal species with what they
identify as suitable food, water, shelter and a safe place to raise
young within the park. SOLs addressed include SCI 3.4, 3.5, 4.5
On a history hike through the Park, students will learn about
problems the Machen family faced in the 1850s, and how they used
machines to solve them, at times even inventing their own machines.
Students will look at examples of farming machinery and tools from
daily life from the 1850s and identify simple machines. At the end of
the program, the students will identify a problem faced by 1850s
farmers and prototype a machine to solve the problem, using
design-thinking skills. Grades 3-6, available starting December 2016.
Meets the requirement for SOL Science 3.2, and Social Studies VS.10,
Planning for Your Visit
Please keep the following in mind to help make your trip be a
Chaperone Ratio at least 1:10.
There is a 15 attendee required minimum. Programs may
be scheduled for less than 15 students, but this minimum fee will
still be assessed. This applies also to reduced attendance due
These programs are outside, so students, teachers and
chaperones should dress for the weather.
All students, chaperones and staff should wear long pants and
sturdy shoes appropriate for outdoor activities - no sandals.
Also wear boldly printed nametags so naturalists can use
names during programs.
Remind students, chaperones and staff to respect plants, animals
and parkland. Stay on marked trails and do not pick plants
or remove anything, living or otherwise, from the park.
Please be on time. Late arrival may mean programs are
shortened or canceled because of other park programming and
After the program, with proper adult supervision, classes are
welcome to visit the Walney Visitor
Center, which features exhibits on park history, live animal
displays, a sales area, restrooms and a water fountain.
You may want to pack a picnic lunch to eat at the park.
Because of limited trash pickup and wildlife scavenging, please
bring your own trash bags and take your trash out with
If your class chooses to picnic at the park, please bring hand
sanitizer to minimize a long bathroom wait for hand washing.
Remind students, chaperones and staff to respect plants, animals and
parkland. Stay on marked trails and do not pick plants or remove
anything, living or otherwise, from the park.
Field Trip Souvenirs, pencils $.20 each and arrowheads $.75.
If you wish to do this, please let the naturalist know when making
your program reservation.
We value your input so we can make our programs the best they
can be for your students! Please complete and return the
program evaluations given to you at the after the program or send an
What People Are Saying
"Wonderful Worms is a perfect field trip for 1st graders.
This is the 5th time I have taken my 1st graders on this field trip.
The engaging Park Rangers lead the students through the park which
provides them with hands on opportunities to reinforce the FCPS
Science POS for 1st graders ! The Park Tour Guides keep the students
engaged and eager to learn more. Each year we leave the park with big
smiles and an increased depth of knowledge about
"Thanks for another great field trip! As always, it was
1st grade teacher
"The Trip To Ellanor C. Lawrence Park was very educational
and informative. Our guide Hayley, was very knowledgeable and
captured the attention of the kids and adults alike."
Abdulla Brodie Parent Chaperone