Scheduling Basics


Merry Lea field trips are divided into seasons: Spring (April & May), Fall (September, October, & November), Summer (June), and Winter (January). Because Spring and Fall schedules are quickly filled, no school can sign up for these programs prior to a set opening date. Field trips are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis after the opening dates. To schedule a field trip you may fill out an online registration form after the appropriate opening date.

  • Registration opens August 20, 2020 for programs occurring Spring 2021
  • Registration opens April 1, 2020 for programs occurring Fall 2020
  • Registration is open any time for programs occurring in Winter/Summer. Contact us for details.


Click here to schedule a field trip!

Use the link above to schedule a field trip. Please do not hesitate to contact Katie Tipton at or 260-799-5869 with any questions or issues that arise when using this form.


On the opening days of registration periods, please fill out our online registration form. We will process the requests in the order in which they arrive. After you have registered, we will contact you to confirm the dates.

We often cannot schedule rain dates for programs, due to the demand for our programs. If your program needs to be cancelled due to dangerous or inclement weather, we will do our best to reschedule your program.

If you would like to schedule a program for the summer or winter, please contact Katie Tipton at or 260-799-5869


Fee Structure

Listed below is the fee structure for our on-site programs. Please provide payment (cash or check) on the day of your program. If you require an invoice, please contact us ahead of time. Payments in full will be required within 30 days of your program. Additionally, be sure to note the chaperone and cancellation policies below.

We also offer custom programs and offsite programming with separate pricing. Contact us for more information.

Standard K-12 Programs (10 or more students*)




*Groups of 10 or fewer students see naturalist fee below.


Standard Pre-K Program (10 or more students*)




*Groups of 10 or fewer students see naturalist fee below.

Custom Programs

We encourage you to contact us about custom program options! We evaluate requests on a case-by-case basis. Prices for custom programs are in addition to standard rates. Custom programs include:

  • Topics outside our standard field trip offerings (view standard offerings on our Field Trips webpage); or
  • Program lengths longer than our standard offering (4 hours for K-12, 1.5 for PreK)

Naturalist Fee

Interested in having a Merry Lea staff person provide a facilitated experience for your group? Go on a guided hike through forests, meadows, or wetlands. Experience the wonder of the natural world with one of our naturalists! The naturalist fee is $50/hour during business hours on weekdays. The rate for a weekend hike is $100 for the first hour and $45 per hour for additional time.

This fee applies to homeschool/school groups of 10 or fewer students during program seasons. It is also available to organized groups seeking programming outside of our typical seasons. Scheduling a naturalist is dependent on availability. Contact us for details.

Homeschool Programs

Each year, Merry Lea sponsors a series of class sessions for homeschooled students covering a range of natural history and environmental topics. For details about Homeschool Programs, policies, and pricing see the Homeschool Series Page.

If you belong to a homeschool co-op and would like to schedule a program for your group, please contact Katie Tipton at We will need specific information about your group a week prior to the scheduled program including number of students and their ages.

Chaperone Policy

Note: We require 1 adult (teachers, aides, chaperones) for every 10 students.

  • Teachers and aides: free of cost
  • Chaperones: 1 free for every 5 students
  • Additional chaperones: charged at the student rate*

*If you have special circumstances that require your group to arrive using personal vehicles (thereby requiring additional chaperones), we will waive the additional chaperone fee. In this case, please contact us prior to your visit and submit a (one-time) letter from your school stating that they are unable to provide bus transportation.

Cancellation Policy

Reservations for some of Merry Lea’s programs fill quickly, and quality experiences require the help of volunteers and advance preparation. A last minute cancellation is disruptive to us and it may prevent a wait-listed group from coming. Therefore, if you cancel a program that involves Merry Lea’s staff or volunteers, you may incur cancellation fees.

  • Cancellation less than 48 hours before scheduled date: 100% of scheduled fee
  • Cancellation 48 hours to 1 week before scheduled date: 50% of scheduled fee
  • Cancellation 1 to 3 weeks before scheduled date: 25% of scheduled fee
  • Cancellations more than 3 weeks before the scheduled date will not incur a cancellation fee.

This cancellation policy will not apply to cancellations due to dangerous weather, unscheduled school closings, or unforeseen emergencies.

Please double-check your master calendar and transportation reservations well in advance of your visit to Merry Lea.