School Programs

Two girls with safety goggles doing an experiment with liquids

Book a visit for your class!

The KU Natural History Museum offers a variety of science education programs at the museum for K-12 students Tuesday-Friday, throughout the Fall and Spring. Bookings open for each school year in August. Please check the resources on this page for full program information or download a copy of our School Programs Brochure (pdf)

Contact us at: 785-864-4173

Booking for the School Year:

Registration for School Programs for the upcoming school year opens August 1. Programs must be booked at least three (3) weeks in advance. 

General Bus Funds

All schools may apply for general bus funds to help cover field trip bus costs. Thanks to generous donors, the KU Natural History Museum is able to offer these funds on a first-come, first-served basis. 

  • Requests for general bus funds must be made at least one week prior to a visit date.
  • Scholarship applicants should not use this form (see Scholarships for the Scholarship Application form)
  • To apply, please fill out the General Bus Funds Application Form.


Scholarships are available for school education programs. Typically, full scholarships are awarded to schools if 50 percent or more of students are eligible for a free/reduced lunch program. Scholarship bus funds for eligible schools are also requested through the Scholarship form application. 

  • Applications should be submitted at least four weeks prior to preferred program date.
  • Programs cannot be scheduled prior to scholarship review.
  • To apply, fill out the Scholarship Application Form

Frequently Asked Questions

School programs may be booked starting in early August. Bookings must be made at least three weeks in advance. Any program can be booked for any day Tuesday through Friday during the school year, dependent on instructor availability. We recommend calling early, as dates fill up several months in advance. Unfortunately, due to high demand we cannot hold dates.

Please note: if booking multiple slots of the same program on the same day, we schedule each program for an hour (45 minute program and 15 minutes required for clean up and to re-set between programs). If booking different programs on the same day, one hour would be scheduled between programs for switch over. 

Typically, large groups divide themselves into two or three groups and rotate between a workshop, gallery activity, self-guided tour of the galleries using our Discovery Guides, or lunch. Gallery activities have a minimum of 15 participants and maximum of 25. School Workshops have a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 30. These numbers. include adults/chaperones. Only students on the field trip are allowed in program spaces; additional adults and parents with other children are welcome to explore the museum galleries during scheduled programs.

Contact Public Education at 785-864-4173 to check availability of dates and to book your program. Please have the following information ready before you call:

  • preferred visit date and alternative date(s)
  • grade of students
  • number of students and adult chaperones (1 adult for every 5 students maximum, including teachers); paraprofessionals exempt
  • school mailing information
  • whether you have any students with special needs

Feel free to contact us for more information, advice on popular programs or scheduling suggestions.

Our School Programs Chaperone Guide and Map (pdf) and School Programs Checklist (pdf) will you help you prepare for your group's visit. 

Gallery activities are $60 per program. Workshops are $5 per student. For workshops, one adult chaperone (including teachers) is free for every five students (paraprofessionals exempt). This is the maximum number of adults allowed in the program space. Please note: no additional adults or siblings are allowed in the program area.

Program fees are due the day of the program, and should be given directly to the Public Education staff member that greets your group during check in. Fees can be paid by check (to the KU Natural History Museum), credit card (MasterCard or Visa) or cash.

Typically, groups that book school programs as part of their visit do not make an additional museum contribution unless they are able to do so. The museum has a suggested donation of $7 for adults and $4 for each child. Groups that do not book programs are encouraged to make a contribution as outlined above. Contributions can be made at the Visitor Services information desk at the main (4th floor) entrance of the museum. Payment can be cash, credit card or check (made out to the KU Natural History Museum). Visitor Services can provide receipts for contributions upon request.

Schools may apply for General Bus Funds, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply, fill out the General Bus Fund Application at least one week prior to your visit. Do not use this form if you are applying for a scholarship.

Those applying for Scholarships for programming will request bus funds through the scholarship application. For more information, see the FAQ question "Are Scholarships for School Programs available?" 

We have some scholarship funding available to cover the costs of program fees. Please fill out the Scholarship Application Form. There may be additional scholarship funds available to cover scholarship bus costs. If you would like a copy of the scholarship application form mailed to you, please call 785-864-4173. Typically we consider scholarships for schools with a minimum of 50 percent of their students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. Please note: programs cannot be scheduled prior to scholarship review.

Due to limited resources we do not offer our school programs at off-site locations.

School programs are developed and taught by museum education professionals with science backgrounds and many years of experience teaching in informal learning environments.

A gallery activity can accommodate up to 25 people (students and adult chaperones), and requires a minimum of 15 participants. We limit gallery activities to 25 people to ensure that the entire group can see the items we are discussing, facilitate effective movement through the galleries, and maintain adequate space for the movement of museum staff and other visitors through the space.

For school workshops, there is a 15 student minimum and a 30 student maximum. Program fee includes one adult chaperone (including teachers) for every five students. This is the maximum number of adults allowed in the program space; we limit the number of chaperones to ensure exits remain clear, avoid crowding and limit distractions.

Please note: only students on the field trip are allowed in program spaces; additional adults and parents with other children are welcome to explore the museum galleries during scheduled programs.

Buses can load and unload in front of the museum. Bus parking is at the football stadium, lot #94. Cars may park in the Mississippi Street parking garage, one block north of the museum at 13th Street and Jayhawk Blvd., across from the KU Alumni Association and next to the Kansas Union. Information about parking fees and a campus map are available at KU Parking and Transit.

Sack lunches can be stored near the main entrance, Visitor Services can direct you to the designated area (lunches should be consolidated into boxes or other storage containers). Consumption of food and drink in the museum is prohibited. Groups can eat lunch at the Kansas Memorial Union, next to the museum; to reserve space contact 785-864-4651 or To arrange a picnic space in a Lawrence city park call 785-832-7923

Due to limited resources, we are not able to offer programs specifically designed for multi-age student groups.


Children told me that this trip is better than the circus. We try to come every year. We are always pleased and learn so much about mammals and fossils!

Starside Elementary
1st grade