Hidden Oaks Nature Center

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Visitor Center: Weekends: Noon - 5 p.m. Weekdays: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

7701 Royce Street
Annandale, Virginia

Michael McDonnell,
Manager

Hidden Oaks Nature Center Field Trips

Enjoy an engaging and affordable field trip in your own community with a visit to Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Naturalists connect students to the nature center's natural and cultural resources, including live animals, by making information relevant to them. In addition to addressing the Standards of Learning for elementary age students, the naturalists encourage students to become environmental stewards of their community. That's 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).

  • Submit reservation requests online at least two weeks prior to the program date. 
  • 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 on weekdays at 703-941-1065.

Field Trip Fees

  • Most programs are per student and chaperone, $6 for a 60-minute program and $7 for a 90-minute program.
  • No cost for teachers and aides. 
  • Specialty programs have higher fees.
  • The Non-Fairfax County school fee is an additional $1 per student and chaperone.
  • Payment is by MasterCard, VISA, check or cash.
  • Payment 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.
  • Make checks payable to FCPA.

Capacity:

  • Minimum class size is 15 students.
  • For smaller groups, payment for 15 students is required.
  • Maximum is 75 students for a 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 two-to-three hour period. The number of students will be divided in half. Naturalists will lead half the students at a time in a guided one-hour program. Teachers must 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 possible.

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

School Field Trip Menu Pre-K: 60 minutes

Study the life of a young Eastern Woodland Indian in the time of the first settlement of Jamestown. Compare a child's life 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. Walk the trails, weather permitting, with an eye to Native Americans' uses of plants and animals and their knowledge of safety 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.

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The park's 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 with a child-like sense of wonder. The growth from seed to plant is an amazing transformation. Children will plant a seed to nurture at home or school and thrill to releasing their own ladybugs into the wildflower garden or woodland during April to June programs.  An exhibit tour highlights the growth processes of plants and animals. $6 per child for one hour , $7 per child for 90 minutes.
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.

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Dinosaurs once ruled the land but not the sea! Learn 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 learn what the names mean. Naturalists share details of which  dinosaurs once roamed our world, bring real fossils for children to explore, and compare and contrast dinosaurs' special features.

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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 and to 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.

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 Children often ask, "Where are all the animals?," when they walk along the Old Oak Trail. Most forest life is at or under our feet. Explore the floor and underground habitat of an urban woodland and search for insects, slugs and other creatures that depend on this habitat for their food, shelter and water. During the classroom portion, students will enjoy a puppet show that provides insights into a worm's life and into the animals that share that world day and night. Students meet vertebrate wildlife (reptiles and amphibians) of Fairfax County that depend on worms as part of their diet and peek into a rotting log to see the marvels of decomposition.  From worms to millipedes, they'll discover animals with no legs and those with hundreds! Using discussion, investigation, puppet show, song, and live and preserved animals, your students will learn of 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.

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Plant and animal species copy with the challenge of seasonal changes in varying ways. Discover why leaves change color and why animals such as squirrels and cardinals are busy while others migrate (hawks), hibernate (chipmunks) or go into torpor (raccoons). Learn the effects of 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 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.

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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.,

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Discover the fascinating adaptations of several local reptiles and amphibians in the park's woodland habitat. Through live animals and specimens, children get an up close look at common, but rarely seen, creatures. Explore animals' life processes and niches in the environment to separate fact from fiction. For example, most animals do not provide parental care, but the common red back salamander defies that amphibian rule and others. The program includes an indoor presentation with a tour of the live animal exhibits. Note: The second-grade program focuses on habitats. The third- and fourth-grade programs focus on the interdependence of animals, the food web, and the differences among 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

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How do you know that wildlife, from squirrels to insects to reptiles, lives in your backyard, in parks and in streams if you rarely see animals? They leave evidence. Many animals stay out of sight through 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. Students discover the wild ways of furry, feathered and scaled neighbors through a puppet show, song and nature hike where they look for evidence of animals, weather permitting.  During the trail walk, students learn of the life needs of native animals with a focus on squirrels, turtles, butterflies, cardinals and other birds, according to the season. Naturalists 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.

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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 lead discovery through a puppet show, demonstrations and song. On the trail walk, students look for dreys and other evidence of the 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

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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. Water makes 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 of 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)

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School Field Trip Menu Grades 1-4: 90 minutes

Study the life of a young Eastern Woodland Indian in the time of the first settlement of Jamestown. 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. Walk the trails, weather permitting, with an eye to Native Americans' uses of plants and animals and their knowledge of safety 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.

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The park's most popular spring program! Each of us grows and changes 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 with a child-like sense of wonder. The growth from seed to plant is an amazing transformation. Children will plant a seed to nurture at home or school, and thrill to releasing their own ladybugs into the wildflower garden or woodland during programs April-June . An exhibit tour highlights the growth processes of plants and animals. $6 per child for one hour , $7 per child for 90 minutes.
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.

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Students enjoy an entertaining look at the life of insects with a special focus on ants and, in season, butterflies. Compare-and-contrast includes insect orders, habitats, feeding styles and social versus solitary living. Through the use of live insects, specimens and catch-and-release, students 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 focuses on the role of insects in the food web. The trail walk is 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.

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Get into the woods and discover how local wildlife gets a meal or avoids being a meal through adaptations in this interactive field trip. Animals compete for food, shelter, territory, and mates with members of their own and other species. Hands-on activities help children explore 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, squirrels and owls with specimens and activities. The program usually is conducted along the trail, but in inclement weather it is held 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.

SOLs - VS.2a-c, VS.4e, VS.6b&c, USI.2d, Math 4.12a,b 

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Children often ask, "Where are all the animals?" when they walk along the Old Oak Trail. Most forest life is at or under your feet. Explore the floor and underground habitat of an urban woodland. Search for insects, slugs and other creatures that depend on this habitat for their food, shelter and water. During the classroom portion of the program, students enjoy a puppet show that provides insights into a worm's life and the animals that share that world day and night. Students meet vertebrate wildlife (reptiles and amphibians) of Fairfax County that depend on worms as part of their diet. They peek into a rotting log to see the marvels of decomposition.  From worms to millipedes, students discover animals with no legs to those with hundreds! Using discussion, investigation, puppet show, song and live and preserved animals, students learn about 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.

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Plant and animal species cope with the challenge of seasonal changes in varying ways. 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 a search for evidence of changes in animal behavior, such as squirrel dreys. Naturalists 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.

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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 local woods to start families. Spring babies abound. Learn the effects of the changing seasons through live animal presentations, a puppet show, discussions, exhibits and, weather permitting, a trail walk. Trail discussions include the changes in sunlight, shadows, seasons, deciduous versus coniferous trees, and evidence of changes in animal behavior, such as birds' nesting, squirrel dreys and amphibian larva in the pond.  Naturalists 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.,

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Discover the fascinating adaptations of several local reptiles and amphibians in woodland habitat. Through live animals and specimens, naturalists enable the children to get a close look at these common, but rarely seen, creatures. Students explore these animals' life processes and niches in the environment to separate fact from fiction. For example, most animals do not provide parental care, but the common red back salamander defies that amphibian rule and others. The program includes an indoor presentation with a tour of the live animal exhibits. Note: The second-grade program focuses on habitats. The third- and fourth-grade programs focus on the interdependence of animals, the food web, and the differences among 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

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How do you know that wildlife, from squirrels to insects to reptiles, lives in backyards, parks and streams when you rarely see them?  They leave evidence.   Many animals stay out of sight through 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. Students discover the wild ways of furry, feathered and scaled neighbors through a puppet show, song and nature hike to look for evidence of animals, weather permitting.  During the trail walk, students learn of the life needs of native animals with a focus on squirrels, turtles, butterflies, cardinals and other birds, according to the season. Naturalists 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.

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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 tails, 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 lead discovery through presentation of a puppet show, demonstrations and song. On the trail walk, students look for dreys and other evidence 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

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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. Water makes 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 of 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)

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Eastern Woodland Indians of the 1600s depended on local, natural resources for their survival. Students learn how the animal, plant, mineral and water resources impacted the indigenous people and how, in turn, they impacted their ecosystem. Through observation and inferences, students learn how a healthy watershed was critical then and compare that to our use of, 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

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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 that depend on a healthy watershed to survive. Naturalists strive to make the program relevant and include a walk to astream to observe the effects of erosion and weathering. Netting and releasing stream animals is optional. SOL/Program: 4.1 (a), 4.8 (a)

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OUTREACH: Naturalist-led Outdoor Exploration Program Fees

In-County:
$150 per class of 30 students
$6 per student over 30 students
$275 for two programs scheduled back-to-back in one location for both sessions.
 
Out-of-County:
200 per class of 30 students
$6 per student over 30 students
$375 for two programs scheduled back-to-back in one location for both sessions.
 
Programs are tailored for each age group.
Those ideal for preschoolers noted by an asterisk (*).

OUTREACH PROGRAMS

1.  Reptiles and Amphibian
Live indigenous snakes, turtles and a toad are brought into the classroom to help separate fact from fiction. Compare similarities and contrast differences to mammals and how to stay safe around these often-misunderstood creatures.
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.

2.  Owls: Flying Tigers of the Night *
Flying tigers of the night, owls still surprise us with their silent flight and keen senses. See owl specimens, owl pellets whole and dissected, and enjoy demonstrations of the secret of virtually silent flight. Using skulls, bones and feathers, we explore the amazing adaptations of owls.
SOLs addressed include K.1, K.7, 1.1, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 2.1, 2.4, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6.

3.  Eastern Woodland Indians of the 1500's * 
Similar to our on-site program, children will compare their role and those of their family members in their community then and now. Students view artifacts of tools and replicas of clothing, jewelry, and foodstuffs. The program includes traditional American Indian games and oral storytelling.
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, 1.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.2, 3.3, 3.13, 4.1

4.  Senses: That Makes Sense! *
Through interactive games, we'll explore our senses and compare them to those of wildlife.  Prepare to be surprised at how your nose stacks up compared to that of a fox, and an owl's keen eyesight comes with some trade-offs. We'll explore our senses with popping corn and animal sound bingo. Meet live animals and learn about the senses they rely on to get a meal or to keep from being another animal's meal!
SOLs addressed include Science K.1, K.2.

5.  Squirrels: Clever Critters or Neighborhood Nuisance? *
Squirrels are adept in their use of every level of the forest. Focusing on squirrels' adaptations, children learn how such a small creature can crack through nuts, communicate with a tail, and be the natural forester of the woodland. Naturalists lead discovery through presenting a puppet show with a free-standing puppet stage, demonstrations and song.
SOLs addressed include K.1,K.7, 1.1,1.5,,1.7,1.8,2.1,2.4, 2.7,3.4, 3.5,3.6.

6.  Insects: Beetles, Butterflies and Beyond *
Focusing on the insects of the area, children explore live and preserved insects and other invertebrates. Discover what makes an insect an insect through song, story and activity. Depending on the season and the teacher's request, the focus can be on ants, butterflies or a comparison between earthworms and insects. During the winter, only insect specimens are featured.
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.

7.  Getting Ready for Winter: Plants and Animals *
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 and discussions. Naturalists 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.

8. Spring Changes: Plants and Animals *
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 and discussions. Naturalists 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.

9. Adaptations : Physical and Behavioral Survival Strategies
Animals compete for food, shelter, territory, mates and more with members of their own and other species. Hands-on activities help children explore different animal adaptations and discover some of their own. We'll experiment to see which work best. Learn whether the featured animal is a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore.
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.

10. Monarch Butterflies: Addressing the Threatened Migration Phenomenon *
Monarch butterflies are ambassadors for the insect world for both natural and cultural history lessons. Depending on the season, your students will view live or specimen monarchs in the stages of their metamorphosis. All students will be intrigued by the fascinating monarch emigration to Mexico and the biological changes of this final annual generation, which allows for this unusual survival adaptation. Program may include a video or slides of one of the overwintering areas in Mexico. In September, a monarch tagging demonstration (Monarch Watch) will be a program highlight.
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.

11. Metamorphosing Marvels: Choose either Monarch Butterflies, Ladybugs or Amphibians *
We investigate 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 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.

12. Stones and Bones
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 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 dinosaur bones become fossilized evidence of the past. We'll touch on the importance of conserving our natural resources.
SOLs addressed include Science 1.3, 2.3, 3.9. 4.8.

13. 4th Grade Ecosystems Outreach
Schoolyard Ecosystem Exploration: (Lesson 8 plus) After consulting with the site's program coordinator, a teacher selects components of other ecosystem lessons to add to Investigating Human Impact /Stewardship activities and discussion on how students can make a difference on Virginia's ecosystems. The naturalist may bring live reptiles, amphibians and/or insects to support the habitat (Lesson 4) or food web energy flow and niches discussion (Lesson 7). Activities supporting Lesson 1 can be adapted for outdoor discovery.
Science SOL/Program varies with activities selected.

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. Students compare and contrast behavioral and structural adaptations and their role in the organism's survival. 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).

We All Live Downstream: (Lesson 3) Through 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. Activities include hands-on demonstrations with a watershed model, Who Polluted the Potomac?, student activity and a groundwater experiment. Students learn to determine their watershed address and meet live native reptiles and amphibians that depend upon a healthy watershed to survive.
Science SOL/Program: 4.1 (a), 4.8 (a).

14. Earth Science: Our Constantly Changing Earth.
We may not feel the Earth move under our feet, but the land changes in many ways. Naturalists guide students in discovering how our ever-changing Earth reveals stories of the past and reflects human actions of today.  Students 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.
SOLs addressed include Earth Science 5.1,5.7.

15. Vertebrate or Invertebrate?
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.
SOLs addressed include SCI G5.1, G5.5.

 

For information on 7th grade Meaningful Watershed Experiences on or off site of Hidden Oaks, contact suzanne.holland@fairfaxcounty.gov

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 payable to "Fairfax County Park Authority," or with Visa or MasterCard.
  • Dress for the weather. All field trips include a hike outside unless the weather is inclement.
  • Hidden Oaks Nature Center 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.
  • Do not pick plants or remove anything, living or otherwise, from the park.
  • 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 is on display. Naturalists lead visitors in 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

Enjoy lunch before or after the program. Hidden Oaks Nature Center has picnic areas available near the playground that is 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.

38.838096, -77.2115479

Hidden Oaks Nature Center Location

7701 Royce Street
Annandale, VA, 22003

Additional parking is in Annandale Community Park. Upon entering the park from Hummer Road, take the right fork of the driveway and park in the lot adjacent to the Packard Center. Follow signs for a short walk through the woods to the nature center. The path to the rear of the parking lot does not have steps. The path leading in front of the Packard Center has steps with railings. Alternatively, you can bear left at the fork of the driveway into the park to the parking lot next to the shelter, playground and ball fields. Follow the marked paths behind the ball field or from the playground behind the shelter. Both paths are unpaved.