Whether you plan your own trip entirely or would like to meet up with a ranger, a variety of opportunities are available to educational groups to learn about the natural resources and environment as well as cultural history of the area. Your limited time here will require you to plan the specific learning experiences your students will be exposed to while you are here.
Please be aware that ranger program schedules, facility hours of operation, and ranger availabilty change with the seasons.
View 2023 Program Offerings
Programs are designed to be interactive and meet learning standards.
Scheduling a field trip
You must schedule your field trip at least two weeks in advance. Our calendar fills up fast, so please plan ahead. We cannot schedule your trip until we have your Education Program Request Form. Email the completed form to slbe_education @nps.gov (remove the space before @ when pasting into email). Please let us know the best time for a phone call to confirm the details of your visit.
Apply for an Entrance Fee Waiver
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore collects a park entrance fee, but education groups may apply for an Entrance Fee Waiver to have that fee waived. The Education Program Request Form also includes the application for a fee waiver.
Organized, educational groups of children who are less than 16 years of age may enter the park free of charge and do not need a fee waiver. (See section 10.1.1) However, the park requires a waiver application to account for the free entry of adult chaperones and to manage park resources. Adults in personal vehicles with an organized youth group visiting for the sole purpose of recreation are not exempt from the entrance fee.
To provide the highest-quality visit, we can accommodate no more than 80 students for most ranger-led programs. If you have a larger group, we will ask you to split into smaller groups to reduce impact on trails and in consideration of other visitors. You may need to include some self-guided activities during your visit.
We are grateful for chaperones! They are an essential component of any field trip. Please use a guideline of one chaperone or faculty per 5 elementary school students; 10 high school students; 20 college students. Specific district, local or state policies and safety standards will be considered.. Please be sure to review our chaperone expectations before your visit. Their participation is imperative for a good visit for all of us. We expect that chaperones will guide their groups for the entire visit.
Because multiple education programs are scheduled in one day, we cannot accommodate groups that are more than thirty minutes late. If you are going to arrive late for your field trip, please call the visitor center and give them the name of your school, your cell phone number, and your expected arrival time. You can reach them at 231-326-4700, ext. 5010.
The National Park Service is committed to providing the highest level of accessibility for persons with disabilities, while also being consistent with our concurrent mandates for the preservation and protection of our resources. Hearing assist devices can be made available for your field trip with advance notice. Sand wheel chairs can also be made available for use during your field trip with advance notice. The park film is narrated and closed-captioned. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive are great options for staff and students with mobility considerations. We want you and your students to have the best experience possible during your visit. If you have any questions or requests, please email slbe_education @nps.gov (remove the space before @ when pasting into email) prior to your field trip.
Service Learning Projects
Give your students a first-hand experience in protecting and improving the resources of the National Lakeshore. Projects vary according to the time of year and class learning objectives. In the past, classes have assisted rangers in removing invasive plants, removing litter from beaches, transplanting native dunegrass, restoring historic buildings, and much more. These projects are appropriate for grades four and up. Call the Lakeshore 231-326-4729 to select a project that will work for your class.
Last updated: June 30, 2023