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
50 minutes
  CaterpillarStudents will witness the life cycle of a butterfly using our innovative caterpillar puppet, and assemble a butterfly to learn about its important body parts. They will compare and contrast the survival needs of plants and animals as they enjoy a tour of the Conservatory, where they will search for the resources butterflies and plants need to live and grow.

Adventures in a Butterfly Garden
Grades K–3
Offered Year-round
50 minutes
  Butterfly feedingDiscover pollination as we explore and compare the life
cycles of butterflies, honeybees, and plants. Students will learn that fruits and seeds can only come from plants that have been pollinated, and we will discuss different ways that insects, birds, and other animals spread pollen and disperse seeds. In the Conservatory, students will be able to look for seeds and pollen as well as butterfly chrysalides, and they can apply what they have learned to discuss how butterflies pollinate our plants.

Wings of Wonder
Grades K–5
Offered Year-round
50 minutes
  Butterfly eggsStudents experience hands-on observations with real samples of butterfly eggs, caterpillars, pupae, and wings. Grades K–2 will learn how butterflies meet their survival needs and how these needs are the same or different from other animals or plants. Grades 3–5 will focus on the adaptations upon which butterflies rely to survive in their environment, and will discuss how
variations between individuals of the same species can provide advantages. In the Conservatory, we will look for butterfly adaptations to the tropical environment
and we will talk about how this differs from our environment here in Missouri

Bugs Alive: Ecosystem Challenge
Grades 3–5
Offered Year-round
50 minutes
  Close up of wing scalesThrough a series of live animal encounters, students will explore an animal’s place in an ecosystem by examining the adaptations, senses, and genetic variation of each. Students will be exposed to a variety of ecosystems and the challenges organisms face for survival in each. At the end of the lesson, students will be challenged to design an insect that has adaptations necessary for survival in an assigned ecosystem.


Scheduling, Chaperones & Fees

Classes are available August to May. Learning Lab classes are offered Tuesdays–Fridays at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., or 12:30 p.m.
  • Registration for the 2020/2021 school year is now open.

Schedule a docent-led class

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

Minimum of 15 students and maximum of 35 students per program. Classes of more than 35 should book multiple programs. Call (314) 577-0888 x 2 for more information, or email

Field Trip Class Fees
$5/students, $8/adult, max of 1 adult per 5 students
Teachers and paraprofessionals are admitted at no cost.

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.