Last week I had the pleasure of chaperoning a half-day first grade field trip to the Outdoor Learning Center (officially called the Holifield Science Learning Center). This was the second year my little kid had gone, but I had never seen it, and since he’s not my talkative child (his brother has to be told to stop talking and eat at dinner), I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

Our group started inside. The kids sat on the tiered floor and one of the instructors did a great presentation about food chains that involved plenty of kid participation. After that lesson she got a ferret from another room and they got to see him up close. He was a big hit.


Then we took out our “scientist skills” and visited the animals in the next room. I was sad we didn’t get to spend more time in there because the animals were great. Each one was labeled and the kids had to find Carnivores, Herbivores and Omnivores. We saw turtles, birds, lizards, snakes (including a giant yellow one named Post It), a pig, ferrets, bunnies, an alligator and even a Lynx/Bobcat mix hiding in a box outside.

Half of the animal area

Then we went outside and sat down at a picnic table to talk about, and make, dirt.Several birds visited and we got to discuss them as well. It was a beautiful day.

The last part of our visit involved a nature “hike” on the property, which is large. As we walked we talked about (and found) animal homes, and even found a small vertebrae. Our destination was an open area with some equipment – goggles, tongue depressors (kid “shovels”) and hula hoops on the ground. The kids dug in the dirt (which went flying everywhere, hence the goggles) and we talked about what was in the dirt. They found several bugs, which we examined and then let go.

It was a really fun outing. One of the instructors told me the kids go for half-day trips in kindergarten, first and second grade and full-day trips in fourth grade. Go with your child’s class if you can as it’s not open to the public.

Holified Science Center
3401 East Spring Creek Parkway, Plano