FAIRFAX COUNTY
PARK AUTHORITY

PARK NEWS

FIND A PARK

FIND AN ACTIVITY

ADMINISTRATION

Online Services

Our Government

News and Events

Maps, Facts & Stats

State & Federal

School Program Menu


Hidden Oaks Nature Center
[ 7701 Royce Street Annandale, VA 22003 ]   [ 703-941-1065 ]

Fieldtrips

Hidden Oaks Nature Center Fieldtrip Programs

Enjoy an engaging and affordable field trip right in your own community with a visit to Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Naturalists connect the students to the nature center's natural and cultural resources, including live animals, by making the information relevant to them. In addition to addressing standards of learning for elementary age students, the naturalists encourage students to become environmental stewards of their community, a step towards achieving the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate goal to develop global citizens.

Most programs can be tailored to a younger or older audience. Please contact Visitor Services Manager Suzanne Holland at Suzanne.holland@fairfaxcounty.gov to discuss personalizing a program for your class(es).

Reservation requests should be submitted online at least two weeks prior to the program date. Reservations open August 17, 2015 for the upcoming school year and program dates fill up quickly. You will receive a confirmation email for your request and will be contacted by email within three business days to confirm your program. For questions about programs within two weeks, call Lois Cascella weekdays at 703-941-1065.

Fees: Most programs are per student and chaperone, $5 for a 60 min. program and $7 for a 90 min. program, with teachers and aides at no cost. Specialty programs have higher fees. Non-Fairfax County school fee is an additional $1 per student and chaperone. Payment by MasterCard, VISA, check or cash is due on the day of the program. For schools with multiple visits within two weeks, one payment for all the programs is allowed. A receipt will be given for payment. Checks should be made payable to FCPA.

Capacity: Minimum class size is 15 students. For smaller groups, payment for 15 students is required. Maximum is 75 students for the 90-minute program. For larger groups, we recommend multiple day visits. If all students must come in one day, special arrangements can be made to expand the program to two presentations over a 2-3 hour period. The number of students will be divided in half. Naturalists will lead half the students at one time in a guided one hour program over the onsite 2-3 hour period. Teachers will need to chaperone the students not in the naturalist-led program with a scavenger hunt along the trail. The scavenger hunt and an outdoor gathering space are provided.

Time: Generally programs start at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Arrangements for a different start time may be available.

To sign up, click the program titles below for details. Click the link to the availability calendar, make your date selection, and submit a reservation request.

School Fieldtrip Menu Pre-K: 60 min.

ExpandPre-K: Eastern Woodland Indians of the early 1600s: A Child's Life


Availability Calendar Study the life of a young Eastern Woodland Indian in the time of the first settlement of Jamestown. We'll compare a child's life of today with a child's experience then and discuss how the Jamestown settlement changed the Powhatan's life forever. Through playing games, making clay pots and enjoying oral myths, naturalists lead an exploration of the indigenous culture. We'll walk the trails (weather permitting) with an eye to Native Americans' uses of plants and animals and their knowledge of how to stay safe in the woods. Program includes an indoor presentation, trail walk and craft. $7 per child. 
SOLs addressed for K-4: Science K.1, K.6, K.8- K.10, 1.51.8 HSS. K.1, K.2, K.6, 1.1, 1.2, 1.6, 2.2, 2.3, 3.3, 3.12.

ExpandPre-K: Growth and Change: Plants and Animals


Availability Calendar Our most popular spring program! Growing and changing is something each of us does every day, but complete metamorphosis is common for few creatures other than insects and certain amphibians. From bees to butterflies, the growth from egg to adult fills us all with a child-like sense of wonder. The growth from seed to plant is also an amazing transformation. Children will plant a seed to nurture at home or school, and thrill to releasing their own ladybugs during programs April-June into the wildflower garden or woodland.  An exhibit tour will highlight the growth processes of plants and animals. $6 per child for one hour , $7 per child for 90 min.
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.6, K. 8-10, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7,1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.8, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 3.10. 4.5.

ExpandPre-K: Dinosaurs Rule! (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Dinosaurs once did rule over the land, but not the sea! Learn the latest about water-loving Spinosaurus, and what makes a dinosaur a dinosaur. Preschoolers often thrill to details about T-Rex,  Stegosaurus and other dinosaurs with complicated names. Children will find out what the names mean and much more! Naturalists will share details of what types of dinosaurs once roamed our world, bring real fossils for children to explore, and compare and contrast dinosaurs' special features.

ExpandPre-K: A Real Bug's Life or There is No Such Thing as Can't to an Ant


Availability Calendar Students enjoy an entertaining look at the life of insects with a special focus on ants and, in season, butterflies. Compare and contrast will include insect orders, habitats, feeding styles and social versus solitary living. Through the use of live insects, specimens and catch and release, students will explore the diversity of insects in urban woodland and the importance of insects to other animals as well as plants. Note: We will include butterflies, monarchs when available in 2nd grade programs and ladybugs, in season, for 3rd grade programs. We will discuss their life cycle, adaptations and habitat needs. Live insects will be used when available. The exhibit tour will focus on the role of insects in the food web; the trail walk will be an insect safari.
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6,  2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.10.

ExpandPre-K: Critters of the Forest Habitat: Worms, Turtles and More  (includes puppet show)


Availability Calendar  Children often ask, "Where are all the animals?", when they join us for a walk along the Old Oak Trail. Most of the life in the forest is at or under our feet. Join us in exploring the floor and underground habitat of an urban woodland as we search for insects, slugs plus many more creatures that depend on this habitat for their food, shelter and water. During the classroom portion of our program your students will enjoy a puppet show that provides insights into a worm's life and the animals that share its world day and night. Students meet up close some vertebrate wildlife (reptiles and amphibians) of Fairfax County that depend on worms as part of their diet and peek into a rotting log for the marvels of decomposition.  From worms to millipedes we will discover animals with no legs to those with hundreds! Using discussion, investigation, puppet show, song and live and preserved animals, your students will learn of the amazing biodiversity as they join a naturalist in an invertebrate safari.
SOLs addressed: Science K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.6, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4-7, 3.10, 4.5.

ExpandPre-K: Getting Ready for Winter: Plants and Animals  (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Coping with the challenge of seasonal changes is handled in varying ways by different plant and animal species. Discover why leaves change color and why some animals are busy (squirrels and cardinals) while others migrate (hawks), hibernate (chipmunks) or go into torpor (raccoons). Learn the effects of the changing seasons through live animal presentations, a puppet show, discussions, exhibit viewing and, weather permitting, a trail walk. Trail discussions include the changes in sunlight, shadows, seasons, deciduous versus coniferous trees and looking for evidence of changes in animal behavior, such as squirrel dreys. Naturalists will stress safety when encountering animals and plants in the woods as well as in students' own backyards.
SOLs addressed: K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9,K.10, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, and 3.10.

ExpandPre-K: Life Processes: Predator/Prey and Animal Defenses   (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Every animal depends on both physical and behavioral adaptations to survive. With a focus on native animals including squirrels, cardinals, rat snakes, toads and a variety of insects, naturalist will highlight whether animals are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores. Discussion will include the challenges these animal face in finding food in the current season, parental care, whether food needs change over their life cycles as well as the different species' defensive strategies. One animal will be fed during the program! Students will enjoy a close look at native species and enjoy a puppet show about the different teeth mammals have depending on their diets. SOLs addressed: K.6, K.9, 1.5,1.7,2.4,2.5,2.6,3.4,3.5, 3.10, 4.5

ExpandPre-K: Patterns in Nature


Availability Calendar Scientists of all ages begin their studies by observation. Nature's secrets are revealed in patterns, abounding in colors, patterns, shapes and textures. Outdoor learning stimulates children's senses and enhances learning. Naturalists lead children on an interactive woodland walk to compare and contrast basic colors and hues, identify patterns and basic shapes in leaves, tree stumps, trees branching, pinecones and more.  Children become small scientists as they hypothesize and then test objects for heavy/light, big/little, sink/float, stiff/flexible, living/nonliving and other basic comparisons. Naturalists facilitate children's discovery and assist them in creating a foundation for understanding the basics of the kindergarten Matter strand. K.4,K.6,K.9,

ExpandPre-K: Spring changes: Woodland Plants and Animals    (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Spring is a season for growing. Learn about nature's changes as plants and animals emerge from winter's slumber. Many birds are migrating back to our woods to start families. Spring babies abound. Learn the effects of the changing seasons through live animal presentations, a puppet show, discussions, exhibit viewing and, weather permitting, a trail walk. Trail discussions include the changes in sunlight, shadows, seasons, deciduous versus coniferous trees and looking for evidence of changes in animal behavior, such as birds' nesting, squirrel dreys and amphibian larva in the pond.  Naturalists will stress safety when encountering animals and plants in the woods as well as in students' own backyards.
SOLs addressed for K-3: K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9,K.10 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6,  2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, and 3.10.,

ExpandPre-K: Stones and Bones (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Rocks rock! Your students will enjoy learning about the rock cycle as they handle different types of rocks. They'll explore how minerals are essential to daily life in many activities ranging from brushing teeth to sketching with a pencil to commuting to school. Students will investigate and handle real fossils and learn how plants and dinosaurs bones become fossilized evidence of the past. We'll touch on the importance of conserving our natural resources. The trail walk will highlight renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, and the importance of rocks and soil in urban woodland.
SOLs addressed include Science K.10, 1.3, 2.3,2.5, 4.8

ExpandPre-K: Our Endothermic Neighbors: Reptiles and Amphibians


Availability Calendar Discover the fascinating adaptations of several of our local reptiles and amphibians in our woodland habitat. Through the use of live animals and specimens, naturalists will enable the children to get an up close look at these common, but rarely seen, creatures. We'll separate fact from fiction as we explore these animals' life processes and niches in our environment. For example, most do not provide parental care but the common red back salamander defies that amphibian rule and others. The program will include an indoor presentation with a tour of the live animal exhibits. Note: The second grade program will focus on habitats. The third and fourth grade programs will focus on the interdependence of animals, the food web and the difference between carnivore, omnivore and herbivore and adaptations.  Weather and time permitting, an outdoor trail walk will be included. SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6,, 2.7, 3.4-6, 4.5

ExpandPre-K: Weather Patterns and Effects of Weathering New!


Availability Calendar Get out of the climate controlled indoors to where the weather is most evident- outside! Study the effects of physical and chemical weathering, unravel clues that clouds provide as to the upcoming weather. Primary grade presentations focus on identifying weather conditions and patterns, different types of precipitation and seasonal effects on humans, plants and animals and erosion issues as appropriate to the grade level's program of studies. For third graders, naturalists will focus on the water cycle, community water resources and conservation and the effect of run off and other pollution on the ecosystem. Fourth graders learn what factors combine to make news-worthy weather events through a kinesthetic activity. Take a walk to view the effects of weathering on rocks and soil. Discover fun facts about how wildlife really can provide clues by their activity as to upcoming weather.  SOLs addressed include SCI  k.9, k.10,  1.7, 2.7, 3.9, .4 1, G4.6

ExpandPre-K: What's the Wildlife in Your Neighborhood? (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar How do we know that wildlife from squirrels to insects to reptiles and more live in our backyards, parks and streams when we rarely see them?  We know by the evidence they leave behind.  Many animals stay out of sight by their camouflaged coloration or by the time of day they are active.  This place-based learning opportunity connects students to the natural community they share with urban wildlife. Your students will discover the wild ways of our furry, feathered and scaled neighbors through a puppet show, song and nature hike where we look for evidence of animals, weather permitting.  During the trail walk, students will learn of the life needs of native animals with a focus on squirrels, turtles, butterflies, cardinals and other birds according to the season. Naturalists will extend the learning with live and preserved native animals. SOLs addressed include Science. K.1,K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8.

ExpandPre-K: Whirly Twirly Squirrels (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Squirrels are adept in their use of every level of the forest. Focusing on the squirrels' physical and behavioral   adaptations and defenses, children learn how such a small creature can crack through nuts, communicate with their tail and are the natural foresters of the woodland. Children become 'small scientists" as they compare and contrast native grey squirrels with native flying squirrels. Naturalists will lead discovery through presenting a puppet show, demonstrations and song. On the trail walk we will look for dreys and other evidence of life of grey and flying squirrels from babies through adult. SOLs addressed include K.1,K.6, K.7,K.9 1.1,1.5,1.7,1.8,2.1,2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 3.4, 3.5, 4.5

ExpandPre-K: Water Ways New!


Availability Calendar Who needs it?  How does it change? Where does it flow? Which items float or sink in water? When is water a problem? Why do we care? Water is critical for life itself. Water is making headlines across the country, from shortages in California to floods in Texas to runoff issues in the Chesapeake Bay. Depending on the grade level, this program highlights the water focus for the interrelationship of Earth and Space SOL from evaporation in kindergarten to runoff in first grade to water cycle in second grade, etc.  With prior arrangement, science experiments on surface tension may be included. (K.5, K.6, K.7, K.11, 1.3 1.8, 2.6, 2.7, 3.6, 3.9, 3.10)

School Fieldtrip Menu Grade 1 - 4: 90 min.

ExpandGrades 1-3: Eastern Woodland Indians of the early 1600s: A Child's Life


Availability Calendar Study the life of a young Eastern Woodland Indian in the time of the first settlement of Jamestown. We'll compare a child's life of today with a child's experience then and discuss how the Jamestown settlement changed the Powhatan's life forever. Through playing games, making clay pots and enjoying oral myths, naturalists lead an exploration of the indigenous culture. We'll walk the trails (weather permitting) with an eye to Native Americans' uses of plants and animals and their knowledge of how to stay safe in the woods. Program includes an indoor presentation, trail walk and craft. $7 per child. 
SOLs addressed for K-4: Science K.1, K.6, K.8- K.10, 1.51.8 HSS. K.1, K.2, K.6, 1.1, 1.2, 1.6, 2.2, 2.3, 3.3, 3.12.

ExpandGrades 1-3: Growth and Change: Plants and Animals


Availability Calendar Our most popular spring program! Growing and changing is something each of us does every day, but complete metamorphosis is common for few creatures other than insects and certain amphibians. From bees to butterflies, the growth from egg to adult fills us all with a child-like sense of wonder. The growth from seed to plant is also an amazing transformation. Children will plant a seed to nurture at home or school, and thrill to releasing their own ladybugs during programs April-June into the wildflower garden or woodland.  An exhibit tour will highlight the growth processes of plants and animals. $6 per child for one hour , $7 per child for 90 min.
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.6, K. 8-10, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7,1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.8, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 3.10. 4.5.

ExpandGrades 1-3: A Real Bug's Life or There is No Such Thing as Can't to an Ant


Availability Calendar Students enjoy an entertaining look at the life of insects with a special focus on ants and, in season, butterflies. Compare and contrast will include insect orders, habitats, feeding styles and social versus solitary living. Through the use of live insects, specimens and catch and release, students will explore the diversity of insects in urban woodland and the importance of insects to other animals as well as plants. Note: We will include butterflies, monarchs when available in 2nd grade programs and ladybugs, in season, for 3rd grade programs. We will discuss their life cycle, adaptations and habitat needs. Live insects will be used when available. The exhibit tour will focus on the role of insects in the food web; the trail walk will be an insect safari.
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6,  2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.10.

ExpandGrades 1-4:   Animal Adaptations: Astounding Woodland Creatures:  Trail or Classroom Option


Availability Calendar Get into the woods and discover how local wildlife gets a meal, or keep from being a meal through adaptations in this interactive field trip. Animals compete for food, shelter, territory, mates and more with members of their own and other species. Hands-on activities will help children explore different animal adaptations and discover some of their own. Learn whether the featured animal is a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore. Naturalists lead stations of adaptations of deer, reptiles, squirrel and owls with specimens and activities. The program usually is conducted along the trail, but in inclement weather we will be inside the classroom. In advance, teachers have the option to have half of the program indoors highlighting adaptations as related to defense strategies in the predator/prey relationship.
SOLs addressed include Science. K.1, K.2, K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.6, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5,  3.10, 4.5, 4.8.

ExpandGrades 1-3: Critters of the Forest Habitat: Worms, Turtles and More  (includes puppet show)


Availability Calendar  Children often ask, "Where are all the animals?", when they join us for a walk along the Old Oak Trail. Most of the life in the forest is at or under our feet. Join us in exploring the floor and underground habitat of an urban woodland as we search for insects, slugs plus many more creatures that depend on this habitat for their food, shelter and water. During the classroom portion of our program your students will enjoy a puppet show that provides insights into a worm's life and the animals that share its world day and night. Students meet up close some vertebrate wildlife (reptiles and amphibians) of Fairfax County that depend on worms as part of their diet and peek into a rotting log for the marvels of decomposition.  From worms to millipedes we will discover animals with no legs to those with hundreds! Using discussion, investigation, puppet show, song and live and preserved animals, your students will learn of the amazing biodiversity as they join a naturalist in an invertebrate safari.
SOLs addressed: Science K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.6, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4-7, 3.10, 4.5.

ExpandGrades 1-3: Getting Ready for Winter: Plants and Animals  (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Coping with the challenge of seasonal changes is handled in varying ways by different plant and animal species. Discover why leaves change color and why some animals are busy (squirrels and cardinals) while others migrate (hawks), hibernate (chipmunks) or go into torpor (raccoons). Learn the effects of the changing seasons through live animal presentations, a puppet show, discussions, exhibit viewing and, weather permitting, a trail walk. Trail discussions include the changes in sunlight, shadows, seasons, deciduous versus coniferous trees and looking for evidence of changes in animal behavior, such as squirrel dreys. Naturalists will stress safety when encountering animals and plants in the woods as well as in students' own backyards.
SOLs addressed: K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9,K.10, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, and 3.10.

ExpandGrades 1-4: Life Processes: Predator/Prey and Animal Defenses   (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Every animal depends on both physical and behavioral adaptations to survive. With a focus on native animals including squirrels, cardinals, rat snakes, toads and a variety of insects, naturalist will highlight whether animals are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores. Discussion will include the challenges these animal face in finding food in the current season, parental care, whether food needs change over their life cycles as well as the different species' defensive strategies. One animal will be fed during the program! Students will enjoy a close look at native species and enjoy a puppet show about the different teeth mammals have depending on their diets. SOLs addressed: K.6, K.9, 1.5,1.7,2.4,2.5,2.6,3.4,3.5, 3.10, 4.5

ExpandGrades 1-3: Spring changes: Woodland Plants and Animals    (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Spring is a season for growing. Learn about nature's changes as plants and animals emerge from winter's slumber. Many birds are migrating back to our woods to start families. Spring babies abound. Learn the effects of the changing seasons through live animal presentations, a puppet show, discussions, exhibit viewing and, weather permitting, a trail walk. Trail discussions include the changes in sunlight, shadows, seasons, deciduous versus coniferous trees and looking for evidence of changes in animal behavior, such as birds' nesting, squirrel dreys and amphibian larva in the pond.  Naturalists will stress safety when encountering animals and plants in the woods as well as in students' own backyards.
SOLs addressed for K-3: K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9,K.10 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6,  2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, and 3.10.,

ExpandGrades 1-4: Stones and Bones (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Rocks rock! Your students will enjoy learning about the rock cycle as they handle different types of rocks. They'll explore how minerals are essential to daily life in many activities ranging from brushing teeth to sketching with a pencil to commuting to school. Students will investigate and handle real fossils and learn how plants and dinosaurs bones become fossilized evidence of the past. We'll touch on the importance of conserving our natural resources. The trail walk will highlight renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, and the importance of rocks and soil in urban woodland.
SOLs addressed include Science K.10, 1.3, 2.3,2.5, 4.8

ExpandGrades 1-4: Our Endothermic Neighbors: Reptiles and Amphibians


Availability Calendar Discover the fascinating adaptations of several of our local reptiles and amphibians in our woodland habitat. Through the use of live animals and specimens, naturalists will enable the children to get an up close look at these common, but rarely seen, creatures. We'll separate fact from fiction as we explore these animals' life processes and niches in our environment. For example, most do not provide parental care but the common red back salamander defies that amphibian rule and others. The program will include an indoor presentation with a tour of the live animal exhibits. Note: The second grade program will focus on habitats. The third and fourth grade programs will focus on the interdependence of animals, the food web and the difference between carnivore, omnivore and herbivore and adaptations.  Weather and time permitting, an outdoor trail walk will be included. SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6,, 2.7, 3.4-6, 4.5

ExpandGrades 1-4: Weather Patterns and Effects of Weathering New!


Availability Calendar Get out of the climate controlled indoors to where the weather is most evident- outside! Study the effects of physical and chemical weathering, unravel clues that clouds provide as to the upcoming weather. Primary grade presentations focus on identifying weather conditions and patterns, different types of precipitation and seasonal effects on humans, plants and animals and erosion issues as appropriate to the grade level's program of studies. For third graders, naturalists will focus on the water cycle, community water resources and conservation and the effect of run off and other pollution on the ecosystem. Fourth graders learn what factors combine to make news-worthy weather events through a kinesthetic activity. Take a walk to view the effects of weathering on rocks and soil. Discover fun facts about how wildlife really can provide clues by their activity as to upcoming weather.  SOLs addressed include SCI  k.9, k.10,  1.7, 2.7, 3.9, .4 1, G4.6

ExpandGrades 1-4: What's the Wildlife in Your Neighborhood? (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar How do we know that wildlife from squirrels to insects to reptiles and more live in our backyards, parks and streams when we rarely see them?  We know by the evidence they leave behind.  Many animals stay out of sight by their camouflaged coloration or by the time of day they are active.  This place-based learning opportunity connects students to the natural community they share with urban wildlife. Your students will discover the wild ways of our furry, feathered and scaled neighbors through a puppet show, song and nature hike where we look for evidence of animals, weather permitting.  During the trail walk, students will learn of the life needs of native animals with a focus on squirrels, turtles, butterflies, cardinals and other birds according to the season. Naturalists will extend the learning with live and preserved native animals. SOLs addressed include Science. K.1,K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8.

ExpandGrades 1-4: Whirly Twirly Squirrels (includes a puppet show)


Availability Calendar Squirrels are adept in their use of every level of the forest. Focusing on the squirrels' physical and behavioral   adaptations and defenses, children learn how such a small creature can crack through nuts, communicate with their tail and are the natural foresters of the woodland. Children become 'small scientists" as they compare and contrast native grey squirrels with native flying squirrels. Naturalists will lead discovery through presenting a puppet show, demonstrations and song. On the trail walk we will look for dreys and other evidence of life of grey and flying squirrels from babies through adult. SOLs addressed include K.1,K.6, K.7,K.9 1.1,1.5,1.7,1.8,2.1,2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 3.4, 3.5, 4.5

ExpandGrades 1-3: Water Ways New!


Availability Calendar Who needs it?  How does it change? Where does it flow? Which items float or sink in water? When is water a problem? Why do we care? Water is critical for life itself. Water is making headlines across the country, from shortages in California to floods in Texas to runoff issues in the Chesapeake Bay. Depending on the grade level, this program highlights the water focus for the interrelationship of Earth and Space SOL from evaporation in kindergarten to runoff in first grade to water cycle in second grade, etc.  With prior arrangement, science experiments on surface tension may be included. (K.5, K.6, K.7, K.11, 1.3 1.8, 2.6, 2.7, 3.6, 3.9, 3.10)

ExpandGrade 4:  Eastern Woodland Indians & How They Related to their Ecosystem


Availability Calendar Eastern Woodland Indians of the 1600s depended on local natural resources for their survival. Students will learn about how the animal, plant, mineral and water resources impacted the indigenous people and how in turn they impacted their ecosystem. Through observation and inferences the students learn how a healthy watershed was critical then and compare to our use and impact on our watershed today. Program includes a guided trail walk. $7 per child for 1.5 hr. SOLS addressed : VS.2, Sci. 4.9

ExpandGrade 4: Ecosystem Study


Availability Calendar We All Live Downstream: (Lesson 3) Through interactive activities and trail walks that highlight both concepts and vocabulary, unfold the mysteries of what is a watershed, how the way we live in Virginia affects the Chesapeake Bay and beyond and why students and their families should care. Students learn how to determine their watershed address and meet live native reptiles and amphibians which depend upon a healthy watershed to survive. Naturalists strive to make the program relevant to the fourth graders and include a walk to the stream to observe the effects of erosion and weathering. Netting and releasing stream animals is optional. SOL/Program: 4.1 (a), 4.8 (a)

ExpandGrade 4: Roots, Shoots Blooms and Buds - New for 4th


Availability Calendar Grades 4 and above learn plant anatomy and life processes through a flower dissection. Plant reproduction, seeds, photosynthesis, plant dormancy and pollination are explored in the classroom, in the exhibit area and along the trail. Focus on bean seed and corn kernel germination. Play the invasive plant game which enables students to gain a deeper understanding of the damage plant pests inflict on local ecosystems.  Fifth graders will also compare and contrast vascular and nonvascular plants. Your students will become junior botanists as they discover the fascinating lives of plants!
SOLs addressed include Science. Just Do It SCI G4.1, 4.4 , 4.5

Field Trip Tips

Please keep the following in mind to help make your trip a success.

Payment is due on the day of your visit with cash, check made payable to "Fairfax County Park Authority" or with Visa or MasterCard.

Dress for the weather. All of our field trips include a hike outside unless the weather is inclement.

Hidden Oaks Nature Center, located within Annandale Community Park, is managed as a preserve to maintain a diverse stream valley/eastern woodland habitat. Please 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.

In all of our programs we emphasize safety around wildlife and nature. We identify poison ivy as well as potentially hazardous animals, including Northern Virginia's only venomous snake, the northern copperhead, which we have on display. Naturalists lead visitors exploring ways to be good neighbors to wildlife by making informed decisions in wild places, or when seeing wild creatures.

Please make your students and chaperones aware that live animals, typically reptiles and amphibians, will be used in programs and are displayed in the exhibit.

Please be on time. Late arrival may mean programs are shortened or canceled because of other park programming and operational needs.

Lunch Facilities

Planning to enjoy lunch before or after the program? Hidden Oaks Nature Center has picnic areas available by the playground located within Annandale Community Park. In the case of rain, there may be space available at our picnic shelter. Unless reserved, the shelter is first come, first served. To reserve the picnic shelter, go to Reservable Picnic Shelter or call 703-324-8732. The fee for four tables under the shelter is $60.

Directions and Parking

Hidden Oaks Nature Center may be reached by taking Beltway exit 52B (Little River Turnpike, Rt. 236) east to left at the first light at Hummer Rd. Continue on Hummer Rd. to left at Royce St. to park entrance on the left, 7701 Royce St. Buses may drop off children at the main entrance but then need to park at our satellite lot, located as well within Annandale Community Park. To access this lot, the buses return to Hummer Rd., turn right and make first right into Annandale Community Park. Bear right to the Packard Center parking lot and park in the back of the lot. That address is 4020 Hummer Road.


Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2015

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Return to Graphic Version