Elementary School Programs

The Darien Nature Center, following the curriculum standards of the State and district, offer classroom teachers a variety of natural science programs designed to complement their teaching units.


Animals in Winter

Where do animals go when the cold winds blow? Who sleeps and who hunts? Students will meet animals who know how to keep warm in the coldest of seasons and find food under layers of snow.

Nocturnal Animals

The fun begins after you’re tucked in. Soaring bats, saucer-eyed owls and midnight mice come to life after dark. This program introduces animals who are active when the sun goes down.

1st Grade

Animal Movement

Animals move in different ways based on how they are built and what they weigh. See how the animals use motion to escape predators and find food. Students will observe live demonstrations of the principles of motion.


Students will explore life in the forest, desert, mountains, ocean, pond and grasslands. They will learn about the adaptations that allow animals to survive in different habitats and climates.

2nd Grade


What’s got compound eyes, a skeleton on the outside ears or ears on its back? The most successful animals on earth — insects. Students identify local insects by sight and sound, learn about insect anatomy and examine their habits and habitats.

I Dig Dirt

The soil beneath our feet provides minerals and nutrients for growing things and a home for small animals. Students will explore the properties of several soil types and learn about the creatures that rely on them for life.

3rd Grade

Rocks and Minerals

What do the rocks we find in our backyards tell us? Students will use mineral tests to identify several local minerals and learn to make a scientific collection.

Animal Behavior

Some animals hoot…others spin….and some play possum. Learn what animals do to survive ~ learn the tricks and traits that keep them alive. Students will learn the difference between instinctive and learned behavior.

4th Grade

Skulls and Bones

We’ll play the anatomy game and find out that all skeletons are not the same. Students will compare mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish skeletons.

The Night Sky

Stars, planets, meteors and comets all come into view if you know where and how to look for them. We will talk about all the sky sights you can spy with the naked eye.

5th Grade


Water is constantly on the move. It evaporates, percolates and travels through the air and underground. Follow the journey of a drop of water through a watershed and learn basic hydrology along the way.

Tree ID

Did you know that leaves have teeth? Which tree has the shaggy bark? Learn the names of the most common trees in Darien’s forests. Students will examine bark, twigs, leaves and silhouettes to discover the identity of trees.

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