The Guadalupe River Park & Gardens is an education destination like no other. A natural oasis located in the heart of downtown San Jose, the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens (GRPG) features 254 acres of park that include the Heritage Rose Garden, the Historic Orchard, a community garden, and 2.6 miles of trail that runs adjacent to the Guadalupe River. The GRPG is a natural outdoor laboratory for science experiments, a creative and dynamic atmosphere for learning, and a perfect destination for field trips!
When outdoors, children can see science playing out before their very eyes, develop powerful observational skills, and are exposed to the environmental sciences, an up-and-coming field worldwide. Children won’t come out of the field trip just caring for the environment, they will come out with tools, knowledge, and the understanding of how science functions in nature.
Salmon and Trout Education Program (S.T.E.P.)
Explore science and our local watershed with the S.T.E.P. Series. Guadalupe River Park Conservancy’s S.T.E.P. Series consists of exciting one-day field trips that focus on the salmon and steelhead trout that make their way up the Guadalupe River every year and the healthy watershed that these important species depend on. All grade levels will participate in hands-on science activities that cater to a variety of learning styles and fulfill California State Science Standards.
|Grade Level||Field Trip Title||Description||Offered|
|K||Small Fry||All field trips consist of unique, interactive adventures – students won’t learn science by listening to lectures, but will learn through activity-oriented lessons, science experiments, and scientific observations out in the park. Every grade level will get to visit the Guadalupe River and see science come alive in the river ecosystem. Activities vary depending on grade level.||The S.T.E.P. Series is offered from 8/15-11/1 and 3/15-6/15 annually.|
|2nd||Bedrock ‘n Roll|
|4th||Against the Stream|
|5th||Hooked on Chinooks|
|9th – 12th||The First S.T.E.P.|
This field trip series was made possible by a generous grant from the
Other Exciting Field Trip Opportunities
We still offer our popular, original K-5 field trips that fulfill California State Standards, feature dynamic hands-on activities, and that are steeped in culture, history, and especially science!
|Grade Level||Field Trip Title||Description||Offered|
|1st||River Sleuths||Flyer pdf here||8/15 to 11/1 and 3/15 to 6/15|
|2nd||Flower Power||Flyer pdf here||9/15 to 10/15 and 4/1 to 6/15|
|3rd||Dig In!||Flyer pdf here||Year-round|
|3rd||Mammoth Discovery!||Flyer pdf here||Year-round|
|4th||Worms and Squirms||Flyer pdf here||Year-round|
|5th||Water Rustlers||Flyer pdf here||8/15 to 11/1 and 3/15 to 6/15|
|5th||Nature Navigators||Flyer pdf here||Year-round|
Custom Field Trip Opportunities
To create a custom field trip or to adapt any existing programs to a different grade level, please contact the Education Coordinator at 408-298-7657.
To Sign Up
If you are interested in booking a field trip, please follow these simple steps:
1. Review the field trip opportunities available to your grade level and frequently asked questions below.
3. Schedule transportation. (The cost of transportation is not included.)
4. Receive your confirmation letter and teacher information packet from the education staff.
5. Have fun! Please contact us with any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
When are field trips available?
Field trips are two hours long and are available Monday through Friday. Some are available seasonally, while others are offered year-round. Please review the availability listed to the right of each field trip above. You may also view available dates on our calendar at the bottom of this page.
What time do field trips start?
Field trips are available daily from 9:30-11:30am. Please contact the education staff if you are interested in an earlier or later start time.
What is your maximum group size?
In order to provide the best learning experience and maintain effective student to staff ratios, we can accommodate a maximum of 40 students per program.
How many chaperones are required? Is there an admission fee for chaperones?
We require at least one chaperone per 10 students; more are welcome. An exception is Nature Navigators, which requires at least one chaperone per 5 students. There are no admission fees for chaperones.
How much do field trips cost?
Field trips cost $280.
Are scholarships available? How can I request a scholarship?
A limited number of scholarships are available to Title 1 schools. Scholarships cover program fees and do not include transportation. If you would like to request a scholarship, please indicate so upon registration.
Looking for Transportation Assistance?
Our friends at Science By Nature have established a transportation fund to provide financial assistance to Bay Area schools attending science-based field trips. To apply, please register through Science By Nature.
The Class Pass Program
The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) offers Santa Clara County teachers up to two “class passes” every school year, redeemable for free fare for students on field trips traveling on VTA buses and light rail. Interested teachers must complete an application at least three weeks prior to the scheduled trip. Click here for more information.
How can I pay?
We accept checks payable to GRPC, as well as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Click here to make a credit card payment online. Please note the payment details in your confirmation email. Payment is due no later than one month prior to the date of your field trip or your registration may be canceled.
How can I cancel my registration?
Please contact us as soon as possible if you need to cancel your registration so that another class may attend. In order to receive a full refund, you must notify us at least one month in advance of the field trip date. Failure to notify us in a timely manner may affect your eligibility for future programs and/or scholarships.
Where does my field trip meet?
We have two meeting sites for field trips; please refer to your field trip confirmation for the appropriate meeting place to prevent delays on the day of your field trip.
Is there a place I can have lunch after the program?
Guadalupe Gardens has a designated picnic area available on a first-come, first-serve basis near the Heritage Rose Garden that seats about 40. There are also picnic tables spread along the trails just north of the Visitor Center that seat about 40 combined.
Are there restrooms near the field trip site?
There are two restrooms at the Visitor & Education Center and in Columbus Park, across Taylor St. from the Heritage Rose Garden. We recommend that students use the restroom before leaving, or after conclusion of the field trip, in order to minimize interruptions during the program.
Are there drinking fountains nearby?
There are no nearby drinking fountains in Guadalupe Gardens. We encourage participants to bring a full water bottle.
I’m planning to take VTA. Where are the nearest VTA stops?
Guadalupe Gardens is served by VTA lines 61 & 62. The St. James and Japantown/Ayer light rail stations are nearest the Visitor & Education Center; Civic Center station is nearest the Heritage Rose Garden. Use VTA’s online trip planner or call 408-321-2300 for more information.
Are there other areas I can explore after the field trip?
Check out our Walking Map on this page for other points of interest accessible via the park’s trails.
What if I have additional questions?
Email the Education Coordinator or call 408-298-7657.
“I would certainly recommend GRPC to anyone that asks where to take their children. My staff and the children really enjoyed learning about the birds and animals that live in the area. My personal experience with my son who is 4 tells me all the time about nests and birds that he sees. Thank you!”
Animals In and Out (Pre-school group), 10/12
“We liked everything! We liked the variety – having four different, yet related sessions – with lots of hands-on and interaction. We definitely would recommend this field trip!”
Flower Power, 9/12
“The staff interactions were genuine with out students. We liked how there were visuals and headphones in the restrooms. The entire concept of the field trip was great for our students. All staff were professional and truly cared about our students and their program.”
River Explorers (Special Needs), 7/12
“Thank you very much for the wonderful field trip ‘Hooked on Chinooks!’ we attended the field trip back in April, and by the end of the school year my 5th graders were still raving about it. Most of my class chose it as their favorite field trip of the year. Your staff was extremely knowledgeable and engaging. I look forward to taking my next class!”
Hooked on Chinooks, 4/12
“Many of our students are second language learners. A field trip provides them a hands-on real world situation that brings the curriculum to life. They internalize and retain the language and concepts at a much deeper level. When we return to school, the pictures, work they have completed and memories stay with them and aide in written work reinforcing standard concepts and language. The impact is immeasurable in many ways, but the growth I see as a teacher lends itself to HUGE growth!”
Flower Power, 2nd Grade Teacher
(has come for Flower Power, 2011, 2012 and scheduled for 2013)
“Our 1st graders truly enjoyed your program last year. We, the teachers, were very impressed with the planned activities for them. It was FUN! We hope to be able to experience it again w/ our incoming first graders this year. Thanks!”
River Sleuths 2012, scheduled for 2013
“Everything was wonderful! The second graders in this class had looped with the teachers and this was the only field trip they got to go on in 2 years. They loved it and it was only made possible by the bus scholarship we received.”
Bedrock ‘n Roll, May 2013
“My class made two trips to you – one for the Pollination Experience and one for the River Explorer. These were the best field trips my class has ever taken. I’d love to get us back up there again. Because my students are disadvantaged in addition to being disabled, they lack so many experiences that normal children get to explore. I try very hard to teach my students to become nature explorers, observers and lovers. Thanks again!!”
Special Needs Class, September 2013
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