School Program Menu
[ 7701 Royce Street Annandale, VA 22003 ] [ 703-941-1065 ]
Discover the abundance and diversity of life in urban woodlands with a field trip to Hidden Oaks Nature Center, nestled in Annandale District Park, just minutes inside the Beltway in Annandale.
Program registration begins in August!
Look for our offerings!
Programs with an asterisk (*) are recommended for preschool classes.
School Program Menu 2014-2015
Specialty Programs: $7 per Student
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. View a typical Powhatan garden
and, time permitting, children may sit in the scarecrow hut and try to
warn off (stuffed) animals nibbling at the garden's edge. Program
includes an indoor presentation, trail walk and craft. $7 per
SOLs addressed for K-4: Science K.1, K.6, K.8- K.10, 1.8 HSS. K.1, K.2, K.3, K.6, 1.1, 1.2, 1.11, 2.2, 2.3, 3.2, 3.3, 3.13, 4.1.
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. $7 per
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, 3.8, 3.10. 4.5.
General Programs: $7 per student for 90 min. or $5 per student for 60 min.
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: For third grade we will include a discussion of
butterflies and use specimens to demonstrate their life cycle. Live
butterflies 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
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, 3.10.
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.
SOLs addressed include Science. K.1, K.2, K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8.
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 zone 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. 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, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4-8, 3.10, 4.5.
We may not feel the Earth move under our feet but, nevertheless, the
land changes in many ways. Naturalists will guide students in
discovering how our ever changing Earth reveals stories of the past and
reflect human actions of today. Students will learn about natural
versus human-made changes, weathering and eroding, plate tectonics and
the rock cycle. Using a classification key, we’ll look at different
rocks and minerals and explore real fossils up close. Weather
permitting we will hike to see bedrock. All visits include time to
explore our indoor exhibit, Urban Wildlife: Habitats and
SOLs addressed include Earth Science 5.1,5.7
- We All Live Downstream: (Lesson 3) Through interactive activities and trail walks, 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. SOL/Program: 4.1 (a), 4.8 (a)
- We're All Tied Together Where We Live: (Lessons 4, 7) Discover what makes a habitat for a variety of Virginia's plant and animals. On the trail walk explore a variety of habitats and decipher evidence. Science SOL/Program: 4.5 (c, d), 4.8 (b)
- Animal and Plant Adaptations: We've Got What It Takes! During this largely outdoor program, naturalist-led student groups visit trailside stations highlighting squirrel, bird, insect, amphibian and plants, comparing and contrasting behavioral and structural adaptations. Naturalists review life cycle niches, plant dormancy and animal defense strategies using live animals and specimens. Science SOL/Program: 4.4 (d), 4.5 (a, d, e), 4.8(d)
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 while others migrate, hibernate or
go into torpor. Learn the effects of the changing seasons through live
animal presentations, a puppet show, discussions, exhibit viewing and,
weather permitting, a trail walk. Naturalists will stress safety when
encountering animals and plants in the woods as well as in students'
SOLs addressed for K-3: K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, and 3.10.
We investigate the fascinating metamorphosis from tadpole to frog or
larvae to adult for monarch butterflies or ladybugs featuring live
insects and tadpoles depending on the season. Monarch butterflies are
available only into early October although, with specimens and video of
the Mexican monarch sanctuaries, we can provide insight year round. We
will also review how to safely and humanely raise these animals in a
classroom setting. We'll explore these creatures' life cycle,
habitat and roles in the environment. Naturalists lead children in
discovering the wonders of both incomplete and complete metamorphosis.
All programs feature live native animals.
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10, 4.5.
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. 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
What is under your feet? A lot more than you’d expect! Naturalists
lead the junior detectives (aka students) as they unravel clues to
determine if rocks along the bank are weathered or eroded, exploring
layers in the soil and handling real fossils of plants and animals.
Learning the physical properties of soil and particularly rocks and
minerals will encourage students to become rock-hounds in their own
SOLs addressed include Science 3. G.4,G.5.7.
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. 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, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, and 3.10.
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 1.3, 2.3, 3.9. 4.8
Discover the fascinating adaptations of several of our local reptiles.
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 snakes' and
turtles' niches in our environment. The program will include an indoor
presentation with a tour of the live animal exhibits. Note: The second
grade program will focus on the interdependence of animals, the food
web and the difference between carnivore, omnivore and herbivore.
Weather and time permitting, an outdoor trail walk will be
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.4, 2.7, 3.4-6.
Through interactive games and looking at live and preserved animals,
we'll explore our five senses and compare them to those of wildlife.
Prepared to be surprised at how your nose stacks up compared to a fox's
and why an owl is called a flying tiger of the night. Groups of 20 or
less enjoy a fun game of sound bingo as we use our ears to identify
different animal sounds. Larger groups listen to and identify a variety
of wildlife calls. Enjoy popcorn as we revel in all our senses in this
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.2.
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. Program tailored for 4th or 6th grade. 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 G.4 1, G4.6, G6.1, 6.3 ,6.5.
Animals are in a class all by themselves! Naturalists lead a
discussion using live animals and specimens on the five kingdoms
classifications. Using x-rays as well as skeletons, the students see
first-hand the identifying characteristics of vertebrates and
invertebrates including reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and birds.
During the trail and exhibit portion of the walks, students will
further their investigations into the benefits and hindrances of having
SOLs addressed include SCI G5.1, G5.5.
How do we know that wildlife from opossums 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. 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. Naturalists will extend the learning with
live and preserved native animals.
SOLs addressed include Science. K.1, K.2, K.4, K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.5, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8.