Field Trips

Exploration workshops for K-12 students during the school year

All field trip dates are full for 2015-16.

Sign up to receive updates when 2016-17 field trips become available.

The Town Center at the Discovery Building is an exceptional destination for scientific exploration. We offer several field trip workshops for students in elementary, middle and high school. All groups interested in a field trip must fill out an online registration form. The workshops we offer are described on our early elementary school (K-2), late elementary school (3-5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12) program pages.

Prescheduled field trips to the Discovery Building are offered from October through early June. Typically registration opens in mid-August for the entire school year. 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 the Discovery Building 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. The workshops we offer are described on our early elementary school, late elementary school, middle school and high school program pages.

Different field trip workshops are available during the fall and spring semesters at each age level; some programs are not designed for all ages. Select your preferred workshop experience based on the age of the students and time of year.
Field trips generally are offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters. 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 75-minute workshops in a lab setting. Groups are split into two smaller groups, which complete the workshops simultaneously and then switch labs to complete the second activity. Most workshops are limited to 25 students per activity with groups rotating through activities. The recommended number of students per field trip is 50 or less. The maximum number of students we can accommodate at one time is 75; if your group is larger than 75 students, you will need to come on separate field trip dates.

Tuesday schedule: 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

Wednesday and Thursday schedule: 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
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. 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.

Lunch Policy:
Students are allowed to bring 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.

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.

Dress Code:
Students and adults working in a laboratory setting need to come dressed appropriately for the environment. Discovery Building staff 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.


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 based on the number of participants confirmed two weeks before the field trip date. 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 for field trips. Partial reimbursements are available on a first-come, first-served basis for schools based on need.

Questions about field trip visits to the Discovery Building should be directed to Anne Whisner at 608.316.4444.