The Town Center at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery is an exceptional destination for scientific exploration. We offer several field trip experiences for students in elementary, middle and high school. Please review the information below before filling out the online registration form for fall or spring field trips. You can visit our field trip programs page to learn more about the options for your visit.
Prescheduled field trips to Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery are offered from mid-October through early June. Field trips also were offered during the Wisconsin Science Festival in September.
Both fall (October-December) and spring field trips (January-June) can be booked now.
Who Can Attend:
Class groups from elementary, middle and high schools; home schoolers; 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 field trip programs page. Some programs are not designed for all ages.
Field trips to Discovery are offered only on specific dates. Not every activity is available each day. When you fill out the online field trip registration form for fall or spring field trips, the available dates and times for each program will be listed. Please review the listings carefully as you select your visit date and time.
Each program lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes and most groups complete two programs. Lab experiences are limited to 30 students per lab with groups rotating through activities. The maximum amount of students we can accommodate at one time is 150.
Field trip experiences are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays 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 daily schedule for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday field trips is as follows:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.-noon
9:30-10:45 a.m. – Activity 1
10:45 a.m.-noon – Activity 2
Noon – Optional lunch (lunches can be provided for an additional fee)
Thursdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
10-11:15 a.m. – 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. – Activity 2
Groups can register for fall or spring trips now.
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.
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.
Tours of the Town Center are free and open to the public. Workshop fees are $3 per student. Groups may sign up for more than one session. Discounts on fees 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.
Questions about field trip visits to Discovery should be directed to Adam Erdmann at 608.316.4651.