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. We serve over 125,000 students annually. Our programs are directly aligned with the California State Standards. Inside the Outdoors, administered by the Orange County Department of Education, is self-supporting and does not receive any tax-based funding. The student 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 Field Trip sites in Orange and Los Angeles. See Field Trip map for more specific locations. Our Traveling Scientists will visit schools in Orange County and parts of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties.
Our fax number is (714) 662-8716.
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 at least 20 business days notice AND a replacement school can be found to fill your spot. It is highly recommended that your school not register for a program until you have confirmed the funds/grant for the program. We can work with your school to reschedule your program if for some reason your original date no longer works with your school schedule.
After you have registered for an Inside the Outdoors program, you will receive a confirmation email which will generate a contract that will be sent to your district office or to the school (if it is a non-public school). A Letter of Participation and blank schedule will also be sent to the contact person for your school. The final confirmation of your program is when the contract has been signed by the district and your schedule is received by Inside the Outdoors.
The following two (2) endorsements must be included and written on the insurance certificate as follows:
We do our best to keep our “Cost per Student” as reasonable as we can since we understand how difficult it can be to raise funds for our programs. The Full Cost per Student gives you a better idea of the actual costs incurred to run our programs. The difference you see in the Cost to School and the Full Cost is the amount our generous donors supplement.
Hours of the Field Trips vary by site and program. It is best to arrive 10 minutes early for your trip.
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 also 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 your spot. It is highly recommended that your school not register for a program until you have confirmed the funds/grant for the program.
What should the teachers bring the day of the Field Trip
- Students signed
Medical Release Forms
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.
How many students should be in each group?
Each group should have about 18 students per group, with no less than 15 students and no more than 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.
What group names should I use?
You can use any of the group names listed on the
. Group size should be about 18 students per group. Each group should have at least one adult.
How many teachers/parents should attend from each school?
One adult for each group of 18 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.
May a teacher/parent with a special health condition attend a 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.)
Can teachers/parents bring their own vehicles?
We encourage one emergency driver to attend each of our Field Trips. Some of our sites are limited on parking (Helena Modjeska House, Mt. SAC, 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.
What are my responsibilities for 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.
Why do we need a "Trip Schedule" form?
has many uses for our field and office staff. It is the final confirmation that your school is attending the Field Trip. The
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 in case 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.
Will our Field Trip be canceled because of weather?
Cancellation due to inclement weather is determined the morning of the Field Trip. The inclement weather policy is for the Inside the Outdoors Management to contact the Primary Contact listed on the Trip Schedule between 5:45 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 work with your school to reschedule your trip. We do our best to contact your school as soon as possible. If you have specific cancelation requirements from your bus company, please call our office with those requirements.
How do we reschedule a Field 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 $100.00 reschedule fee if a school cannot be scheduled on your original date. If your trip has been canceled because of inclement weather, Inside the Outdoors will contact your school to reschedule a new date and no reschedule fee will be assessed.
What should my child bring?
Closed-toed shoes (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, Modjeska Canyon, Helena Modjeska House, Santiago Oaks and Rancho Soñado because of the potential 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 sufficient lunch.
What if my child takes medication?
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.
Will my child be attacked by a mountain lion, bitten by a snake or catch a disease?
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.
What if my child becomes ill?
Each Field Naturalist is trained in First Aid and CPR. Minor illness or injuries, such as cuts and scrapes, are treated on site. If a 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. In an 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.
How are staff members selected?
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.
What should the teachers do before the day of the program?
Verify the program date with the Principal and the school’s master calendar. Complete the
, email to
or fax it to (714) 662-8716 at least four weeks prior to your program. Reserve a room for the presentation. It is best to have one large room that the Traveling Scientist can use for the entire day. Many of our programs require tables and some use a projection screen. Instruct students in academic preparation. Pre and Post Visit activities for the programs are available online.
What is the cost of the Traveling Scientist Programs?
Click Here to view
the current fee schedule for the Inside the Outdoors Traveling Scientist Programs. There are a limited number of grants for some of our program available through the Inside the Outdoors Foundation. See our New Funding link for more details.
What is the Teaching Schedule?
tells our Traveling Scientist when each program will be taught and how many students will be in each session. We work with your school schedule, so you can plan your presentations around your recess and lunch. So our Traveling Scientist has time to prepare between classes, it is best to have 15 minutes between classes and a ½ hour lunch break. We limit each program to 40 students, but it is suggested that only one class attend a presentation at a time to allow the students to have the maximum access to the Traveling Scientist hand-on activities. Please email or fax your
at least four weeks prior to your program.
What time will you be at my school?
We will arrive at your school at least 30 minutes before the first program scheduled on your
, unless otherwise noted on the Teaching Schedule.
How many programs can I schedule in one day?
You can schedule as many presentations that fit into your school's schedule. It is best to have only one class per session with a small break between each session. Your school is charged per student, not per presentation, so smaller numbers of students allow for the maximum access to the Traveling Scientist hand-on activities.
What type of room is needed by the Traveling Scientist?
If possible, all presentations should be scheduled for one room. Many schools use the multi-purpose room, a music room or an extra classroom. If your school does not have an extra room for the Traveling Scientist, the next best room set-up would be to have the all the classes rotate through one classroom.
How many students should be in one Traveling Scientist presentation?
Your school is charged per student, not per presentation, so smaller numbers of students allow for the maximum access to the Traveling Scientist hand-on activities. We recommend one class per presentation. The maximum per presentation is 40 students.
Do the Traveling Scientist programs need tables?
Many of our Traveling Scientist programs have hands-on station activities that require 6-8 tables or desks. The programs that use tables are Eight Legs or Six, Feather Fun, MAD Plants, Magnets are Magnificent, Rockin' Geology, What's the Matter?, Body of Knowledge, Rethink Resources, Drip Drop, Surviving Our Standards, Birds of Prey, and Rain Forest.
Does the Traveling Scientist program need a projector screen?
Amazing Animals, Birds of Prey, Rainforest, Rethink Resources and Project Zero Waste Service Learning require a projection screen.
What's the difference between the Traveling Scientist program and a large assembly?
Most of our programs are designed to be a Traveling Scientist classroom style program focused on small groups (one class at a time) and hands on activities. Since these programs are billed per student, it is usually best to have the smaller group presentation. We do offer a Birds of Prey and Amazing Animals assembly which are usually for groups larger than 100. Our assemblies do not have hands-on activities and all of the students may not be able to touch the animals.
What types of Community Programs do you offer?
- Summer Day Camp
- Family environmental education hikes
- Teacher Workshops
- Service learning community volunteer programs
- Scout badge programs
What do I need to bring to family activities?
- Plenty of water in a reusable bottle or canteen
- Sunscreen and chapstick
- A light snack
What should I/we wear?
- Comfortable, closed-toe shoes suitable for natural terrain
- Layered clothing as temperatures can vary several degrees
Are these programs appropriate for all ages?
We make every effort to develop programs that are fun and educational for all ages. Since most of our Community Programs are held in a wilderness area and include hikes on trails, navigating the trail with a stroller is not always possible. Please check your registration confirmation or click here to visit the Community Programs page for information on specific events.
Is there a fee to attend Community Programs?
Most of our Community Programs have a fee. Those that are provided free of charge are covered by a grant. Click here to visit the Community Programs page for more information.
What if I cannot afford the fee to attend Community Programs?
Thanks to the generous community support we receive; we often offer scholarships. For more information about scholarships for a specific event, email
Why do I have to RSVP?
Inside the Outdoors Community Programs are led by our Field Naturalists. In order to ensure that everyone joining us for a Community Program has a great experience and our event is properly staffed, we often require pre-registration. To RSVP, call (714-708-3885) or email
After I register, will I be notified of event details?
You will receive email notification of the details of an event approximately one week prior to the event.
Will the event be canceled because of weather? If so, how will I be notified?
Most Community Programs are held rain or shine. Some programs will be canceled in the event of rain, wind, or excessive heat. You can call (714)708-3885 the morning of an event for a recording with information about the event, including any cancellations.
Will there be food available for purchase?
Inside the Outdoors Foundation occasionally sells food at Inside the Outdoors Community Programs. Please check your registration confirmation or visit the Community Programs page for information on specific events. All proceeds or profits go directly into supporting Inside the Outdoors programs. It is best to also bring water and a snack while participating.
Do I need money for anything else?
Inside the Outdoors Foundation occasionally sells items at Inside the Outdoors Community Programs. Please check your registration confirmation or visit the Community Programs page for information on specific events. All proceeds or profits go directly into supporting Inside the Outdoors programs.
How can I support Inside the Outdoors Community Programs?
You can become an Inside the Outdoors Foundation member. Membership information is available at every event and online.
Click here for more
information on how you can get involved. Your support means that children can connect to the natural world around them – making them healthier, happier, and smarter.