Destination discovery exploration workshops
The Town Center at the Discovery Building is an exceptional destination for scientific exploration. We offer several field trip experiences for students in elementary, middle and high school. All groups interested in a field trip must fill out an online registration form. Examples of the workshops we offer are described on our elementary school, middle school and high school program pages.
Prescheduled field trips to the Discovery Building are offered from late September through early June. Typically registration opens a month before the semester. Field trips also are offered as part of the Wisconsin Science Festival in the fall.
Who Can Attend:
Class groups from elementary, middle and high schools; homeschoolers; and community groups with at least one adult (18 years or older) chaperone per 10 youth.
In the Town Center and our state-of-the-art teaching labs located on the research floors of Discovery and staffed with scientists committed to bringing cutting-edge science experiences to students of all ages.
Hands-on workshops geared for various grade levels from kindergarten through high school. These experiences are aligned with state and national standards. Examples of the workshops we offer are described on our elementary school, middle school and high school program pages. Some programs are not designed for all ages.
Field trips generally are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays and one Friday a month during the semester. Not every workshop activity is available each day. When you fill out the online field trip registration form, you will select your desired field trip dates and workshops; please note the times offered below. We will be in touch to confirm that the topics and dates you selected are available.
Field trips consist of two workshops. Each workshop lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes and most groups complete two programs. Most workshops are limited to 25 students per activity with groups rotating through activities. The maximum number of students we can accommodate at one time is 75.
Field trip experiences are offered only on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. An all-day field trip option is available on one Friday each month. All-day excursions have flexible start and end times. We can keep you busy at Discovery all day, or you might want to take in other campus experiences and sights. The schedule for Tuesday and Thursday field trips is as follows:
Tuesdays: 9:30 a.m.-noon, back-to-back activities
9:30-10:45 a.m. – Workshop Activity 1
10:45 a.m.-noon – Workshop Activity 2
Noon – Optional lunch (lunches can be provided for an additional fee)
Thursdays: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., two activities with a lunch break in between
10-11:15 a.m. – Workshop Activity 1
11:15-11:45 a.m.– Lunch break (lunches can be provided for an additional fee)
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. – Workshop Activity 2
Groups must fill out an online registration form to request a field trip visit. Each field trip date may differ by time and activity offerings. Registrations are booked on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability. Please review our visitor guidelines with students and chaperones prior to your visit.
Four free bus parking spaces are located in front of the UW–Madison Stock Pavilion, 1675 Linden Drive, about 50 yards from the Babcock Hall Dairy Store. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional bus parking is available in lot 130 on campus. You can access a campus map using this link: map.wisc.edu. Type in lot 130 in the search field located in the upper right corner and the map will locate this parking lot. Parking for vehicles other than buses is available in lots 17 and 80. Please use the campus map for details about parking options and costs. Download our parking options flyer.
Students are allowed to bring in sack lunches to eat in the Town Center. However, no food purchased from an outside caterer or food vendor (other than your school cafeteria) is allowed. Any catered or pre-ordered box lunches must be arranged through Steenbock’s on Orchard, Discovery’s exclusive caterer. Please contact Lisa Loup at 608.469.2316 to make arrangements. Steenbock’s can even provide food for a snack break, if you choose to do so.
Please note that we do not have a cafeteria or room in which students can eat a snack or lunch. We designate an area on the Town Center floor for students to eat their lunch between activities.
Students and adults working in a laboratory setting need to come dressed appropriately for the environment. Discovery will provide personal protection equipment (lab coats, goggles and gloves) whenever required.
- All student and chaperones must wear closed-toe shoes.
- No shorts or skirts unless the skirts are full-length.
- Long hair must be pulled into a ponytail.
Evaluation & Research:
Many of the education programs at Discovery will have brief surveys connected to the experience so that the activities can be evaluated and consistently improved upon based on participant feedback.
- If a survey is part of a research study, you will be provided with consent forms prior to the field trip. Please send them home to the students’ parents/guardians and bring them with you for your field trip.
- Signed consent forms are not a requirement to participate in a field trip.
- The surveys typically run less than three minutes and are near the end of the field trip activity.
- If possible please send the consent forms home along with your schools’ field trip permission slip.
Field trip fees are $4 per student and include two workshops. Discounts are provided based on your school’s free/reduced lunch statistics or students with special needs. Please provide any relevant information when completing your registration form. All groups will be invoiced for their visit after the trip to adjust accordingly for the actual number of participants. Please do not bring payment on the day of your visit.
Limited funds are available to cover a portion of the cost of transportation for qualifying groups to bring school-aged children to the Discovery Building. Partial reimbursements are available on a first-come, first-served basis for schools based on need.
Questions about field trip visits to Discovery should be directed to Anne Whisner at 608.316.4444.