Field Trips FAQs 

About Inside the Outdoors

 


Trip Information
 
Inside the Outdoors was established in 1974 to empower students, teachers, parents and the community to explore the natural world, while expanding their knowledge and understanding of science and the wonders of nature.  Inside the Outdoors serves over 125,000 students annually.  Our programs are directly aligned with the California Science and/or Social Science/History Content Standards.   Inside the Outdoors, administered by the Orange County Department of Education, is self-supporting and does not receive any tax-based funding.  The students fees and grants from generous donors and the Inside the Outdoors Foundation fund all of our programs.
Inside the Outdoors mailing address is 200 Kalmus Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92628. Our office phone number is (714)708-3885. Our programs run at various sites in Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. See each program for more specific locations.
Our fax number is (714) 649-0162.
Click Here​ here for a map of all of our sites. For specific directions to one of our field sites, please visit Site Maps to download a map for the specific location of your Field Trip.  Each site address is located on the bottom of the site map. The site address is the closest available address to our site location. Please meet the staff at the location shown on the map, not the site address.
Hours of the Field Trips vary by site and program. It is best to arrive 10 minutes early for your trip, especially if is a two or three hour program.
Caspers Park - 9:00 to 2:30
Crystal Cove- 9:00 to 2:30
Dana Point - 9:00 to 2:30
Helena Modjeska House - 9:00 to 12:00 (A lunch area is available at the park across the street)
Irvine Regional Park - 9:00 to 2:30
Key Ranch - 9:00 to 12:00 (or 12:30 if lunch is at site)
Modjeska Canyon - 9:00 to 2:30
Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) - Five different grade levels are taught at this site. A lunch area is available at the park on campus. See the map to Mt. SAC for park location.
Kindergarten - 4th Grade programs are two hours long. The morning program is 9:00-11:00 and the afternoon program is 11:30-1:30.
Rancho Soñado - 9:00 to 2:30
Santiago Oaks - The morning program is 9:00-11:00 and the afternoon program is 11:30-1:30.
Shipley Nature Center - Five different grade levels are taught at this site.  A lunch area is available at the park adjacent to the Shipley Nature Center.
Kindergarten - 4th Grade programs are two hours long.  The morning program is 9:00-11:00 and the afternoon program is 11:30-1:30.
Upper Newport Bay - 9:00 to 2:30
Wild Wetlands – The morning program is 9:00-11:00 and the afternoon program is 11:30-1:30.
Click here to view the current fee schedule for the Inside the Outdoors Field and Traveling Scientist Programs. There are a limited number of grants available. See our New Funding link for more details.
  • Verify trip date with the Principal and the school’s master calendar
  • Arrange for transportation (more than six cars may require drop off and pick up at the field trip site)
  • Complete the Trip Schedule, mail or fax it to (714) 649-0162 at least four weeks prior to your trip.
  • Create student groups and complete the Group List.
  • Your students should be in groups of about 18. You can pick any of the group names on the Trip Schedule.
  • Make student name tags using the name tag sheet located on the Teachers Resources page
  • Collect signed Medical Release Forms (The Orange County Department of Education forms are required)
  • Arrange for group leaders. Each group must have an adult over the age of 18. Other guest and siblings are not allowed if under 18 years old.
  • Arrange for an emergency driver. It is recommended that an adult accompany your group in a private car.
  • Instruct students in academic preparation.  Study Guides for each site are available on the Teacher Resources page.
The Orange County Department of Education requires that every school attending a field trip have an insurance certificate on file with our Contracts Department 14 days before the scheduled trip. Download the complete Insurance requirements here.
 
The following two (2) endorsements must be included and written on the insurance certificate as follows:
  1. Additional Covered Party: “Orange County Superintendent of Schools, the Orange County Board of Education, and its officers, agents, and employees shall be added as an additional insured to the policy."
  2.  "Such insurance as is afforded by this policy for the Orange County Superintendent of Schools, the Orange County Board of Education, and its officers, agents, and employees shall be primary, and any insurance carried by the Orange County Superintendent of Schools, or the Orange County Board of Education, and its officers, agents, and employees shall be excess and non-contributory."

Certificate holders, please mail insurance requirements to: Orange County Superintendent of Schools, 200 Kalmus Drive, P. O. Box 9050, Costa Mesa, California 92628-9050, Attn: Contracts Department.

After you have registered for an Inside the Outdoors program, a contract will be sent to your district office or to the school (if it is a non-public school). A Letter of Participation and the Trip Schedule along with a confirmation email will be sent to the contact person for your school. The final confirmation of your trip is when the contract has been signed by the district and your trip schedule is received by Inside the Outdoors.
Once your program has been approved/confirmed, a contract is generated with your district/school.  Once the contract has been signed, you can cancel if you give 20 business days notice AND a replacement school can be found to fill you spot.  It is highly recommended that your school not register for a program until you have confirmed the funds/grant for the program.
 
Please bring:
  • Students signed Medical Release Forms
  • 2 Group Lists with absent students crossed out
  • Students’ lunches in large boxes sorted and labeled by group name
  • Money for each private vehicle attending Irvine Regional Park and Santiago Oaks ($3.00 per car) or Crystal Cove ($15.00 per car), fees are subject to change.
 
Each group should have about 18 students per group, with no less than 15 students and no more than about 20.  Some sites have a limit to the number of groups per day, please call our office, 714-708-3885, if you have questions about the number of groups.
You can use any of the group names listed on the Trip Schedule.  Group size should be about 18 students per group.  Each group should have at least one adult.
One adult for each group of 15 to 20 students and one certificated district employee for every 35 students is required. It is preferred, but not required, that the students’ classroom teachers attend. If several parents would like to attend, please ask that they show our staff the same respect that they would in your classroom (no chatting around students, cell phones off, etc.). There is no limit or charge to adults and we encourage their presence, but use your discretion. Adult chaperones may not bring any children that are not part of the class involved on the field trip.
Although some accommodations can be made, the teacher/parent is expected to take an active role in supervising students. Adults should be able to walk at least a mile on uneven terrain. Rancho Soñado requires the students and adults to hike up and down a fairly steep trail. Key Ranch and Shipley Nature Center are the least physically demanding field sites.
We encourage one emergency driver to attend each of our field trips. Some of our sites are limited on parking (Caspers Park, Helena Modjeska House, Rancho Soñado, Shipley Nature Center, and Upper Newport Bay) or may require each vehicle to pay to enter the site (Crystal Cove, Irvine Regional Park, and Santiago Oaks). Please limit the number of vehicles that attend the Field Trip.
The responsibility of the adult chaperones is to help the Naturalist with the safety and any problems that may occur on the trip. The adults will walk at the end of the line following the Naturalist and all of the students while on the trails. Also, the adults may be asked to assist in checking answers and with supervision during the activities in which the students will be participating.
The Trip Schedule has many uses for our field and office staff. It is the final confirmation that your school is attending the field trip. The Trip Schedule is also used to confirm enrollment of students attending the field trip. The Inclement Weather section of the trip schedule is used the morning of the Field Trip if it is necessary to reschedule because of weather, wind or other unforeseen conditions. Two different contacts are required for Inclement Weather incase one person is unavailable. The bus information lets our staff know which type of bus to look for in the morning and gives a contact number for the buses if the bus has not returned to site to pick up students at the end of the day.
Cancelation due to inclement weather is determined the morning of the Field Trip. The inclement weather policy is for the Inside the Outdoors Management to call the Principle or Lead Teacher between 6:00 and 6:30 am the morning of the field trip if the trip must be rescheduled because of inclement weather or other conditions (i.e. rain, wind, fire, smoke). Inside the Outdoors will call the school to reschedule your trip.
If a trip needs to be rescheduled, contact the office at (714) 708-3885 at least 20 business days prior to your Field Trip.  There may be a $75.00 reschedule fee if a school can not be scheduled on your original date. If your trip has been canceled because of inclement weather, Inside the Outdoors will call to reschedule a new date and no reschedule fee will be assessed.
Tennis shoes or hiking boots are required at all of our sites. Students should dress in layers that can be removed if the weather warms. Long pants and socks are required at Irvine Regional Park, Caspers Park, Modjeska Canyon, Helena Modjeska House, Santiago Oaks and Rancho Soñado because of the presence of poison oak. We suggest all students wear sunscreen, bring water and wear a hat. Please do NOT bring backpacks, money, candy, iPods/media players, video games or knives on the field trip. Students should eat a big breakfast and bring a large sack lunch.
Please list any students that require medication on the Trip Schedule (sent to Inside the Outdoors four weeks prior to your trip) AND on the Group List that is brought on the morning of the field trip. Please add this information to the bottom of the Medical Release Form that is required for each student attending the field trip.  If your child has a prescription bee sting allergy kit, please send it with him/her the day of participation. Someone who can administer the allergy medication must attend with your child.
Mountain lions are rare in Orange County and have a home range of over 50 miles.  During the introduction morning meeting the students, teachers, and parents are told what to do if they see a mountain lion or snake. Safety is a priority for everyone on site. Some of our sites host the poison oak plant. Necessary precautions to avoid poison oak (i.e. walking on trails, following the Naturalist, and wearing long pants) are a priority. Lyme Disease is rarely found in California . Necessary precautions to prevent exposure to ticks (i.e. walking on trails, following the Naturalist, and wearing long pants) are taken.
Each Field Naturalist is trained in First Aid and CPR. Minor illness or injuries, such as cuts and scrapes, are treated on site. If the child has something more serious, such as the flu or a fever, their teacher will be contacted and the parent may be contacted and asked to pick up the child. If it is a true emergency, 911 will be called.  During the introduction morning meeting the students, teachers, and parents are told what to do if they see a mountain lion or snake. Safety is a priority for everyone on site. Necessary precautions to avoid poison oak (i.e. walking on trails, following the Naturalist, and wearing long pants) are a priority. Necessary precautions to prevent exposure to ticks (i.e. walking on trails, following the Naturalist, and wearing long pants) are taken.
Staff members are interviewed, referenced and fingerprinted by the Orange County Department of Education before they can be hired. Once hired, the Field Naturalists receive extensive and ongoing training. Field Naturalists are evaluated and observed formally by the Inside the Outdoors supervisory staff throughout the school year.
 
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