Field Trips: Docent-led Learning Lab Classes

Learning Lab classes at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House include hands-on, student driven investigations that connect them with the world of butterflies and other insects. We use living animals and real specimens, not easily obtained for classroom use, and each class includes an unforgettable trip through our Tropical Conservatory of living butterflies. The programs are designed to foster a greater understanding of butterflies and their importance to the balance of life on Earth. 

Programs compliment classroom curricula and cover concepts outlined in both the Missouri and Illinois Science Standards.

Learn about scheduling, chaperone requirements and program fees.



Story of a Butterfly
Grade PreK–K
Offered Year-round
1 hour

CaterpillarPreschoolers become involved in the butterfly life cycle. An interactive puppet caterpillar presents metamorphosis. Then students learn butterfly body parts with a puzzle. We conclude in the Tropical Conservatory looking for examples of living and non-living, five senses and colors on the butterflies.

Adventures in a Butterfly Garden
Grades K–3
Offered Year-round
1½ hours

Butterfly feedingLearn about pollination as we explore the life cycles of butterflies, honeybees and the plants they care for. Then, apply your new-found knowledge to create a unique pollinator of your own design. Each student will create their own pollinator to take home with them.

Wings of Wonder
Grades K–3
Offered Year-round
1½ hours

Butterfly eggsObservation skills are put to the test as we explore the butterfly life cycle with samples of real butterfly eggs, caterpillars, pupae and adults. We then look at living insects to learn about insect body parts.  We conclude with a scientific observation activity in the Tropical Conservatory, examining butterfly behaviors.

Living the Butterfly Life
Grades 3–5
Offered Year-round
1½ hours

ChrysalisStudents use living insects to compare and contrast complete and incomplete metamorphosis. Students will then identify specific butterflies with a dichotomous key and collect data on butterfly biology.

Take a Walk with Butterflies 
Grades 3–5
Offered Year-round
1½ hours

Close up of wing scalesLearn the butterfly’s body parts, life cycle and more at a series of interactive learning stations.  We will use real specimens, magnifying lenses, UV lights and other scientific tools. We will then journey to the Tropical Conservatory for observations and a scavenger hunt.


Scheduling, Chaperones & Fees

Classes are available August to May. Learning Lab classes are offered Tuesdays - Fridays at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, or 12:30 pm.
  • Registration for Spring 2018 school field trips is currently open.
  • Registration for the 2018/2019 school year begins Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

Schedule a docent-led class

Chaperones are required at a minimum of one adult for every five students.

Field Trip Class capacity is 35 students per program, but split session classes of up to 70 students per program may be considered. Call (314) 577-0888 x 2 for more information, or email

Field Trip Class Fees
$150 for up to 35 students and 7 adults (additional adults in excess of required chaperones pay normal admission rates).

Learn at Our Other Sites

Check out school programs at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Shaw Nature Reserve!

Or if you're looking for an opportunity for in-depth field study with your students, consider Litzsinger Road Ecology Center, managed by the Missouri Botanical Garden.


Butterfly School

Don't miss the learning resources available on our Butterfly School website including additional instructional ideas, suggested reading and activities for all ages. Explore butterfly life cycle and behaviors while you learn more about butterflies, moths and other invertebrates.