Sanctuary Tours

Experience the majesty of an old-growth forest only minutes from downtown Portland! Explore our incredible 172-acre sanctuary as you hike along with an experienced Portland Audubon Naturalist. Discover the many animals living in and around the protected Balch Creek watershed and our sanctuary’s pond, then walk into a stand of old-growth forest. Students’ senses will be filled with the smell of the forest, the sounds of birds calling and mammals scurrying about the forest floor and trees.

During one of our Sanctuary Tours, your group will join one of our experienced educators on guided activities at our Nature Sanctuary for a group of kids of elementary and middle school age. Whether you are a teacher, homeschool parent, scout troop leader, pod school, afterschool group, family or youth group of friends, this program will get you out to discover nature!

Option 2: Customize your Sanctuary Tour by adding a one hour Nature Inquiry lesson. Choose from one of the five theme options below to augment your group’s science and environmental education needs, designed to correlate with NGSS and STEM requirements.

Program Pricing Options

Sanctuary Tour (Option 1)

Fee: $275
Time: A 2-hour tour, flexible, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. (Fall Only)
Spring Times: 2-hour tour 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday-Friday
Where: Portland Audubon’s Nature Sanctuary
Grades: K-12

Sanctuary Tour + Nature Inquiry* (Option 2)

Fee: $400
Time: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. (Fall Only)
Spring Times: 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Where: Portland Audubon’s Nature Sanctuary
Grades: K-12
*View Nature Inquiry Theme Options Below


To book, please email Tara Lemezis, Education Administrator & Marketing Liaison:

Nature Inquiry Theme Options

Personalize your Sanctuary Tour by adding on one of the five Nature Inquiry theme options below to augment your group’s science and environmental education needs, designed to correlate with NGSS and STEM requirements.

This program will begin with a two-hour Sanctuary Tour, break for a 30 minute lunch, followed by a one hour Nature Inquiry lesson to enhance your classroom’s educational experience. We’ll see wildlife and their signs, engage in hands-on activities and explore everything that the forest has to offer.

Neighborhood Birds

Using the bird specimen kits, your students will investigate different birds’ wings, feet and skulls to think about how a variety of traits and different adaptations can help birds live in different habitats and fulfill different niches.

Steller's Jay, photo by Mick Thompson

Pacific Northwest Habitats & Mammals

Learn about the varied Pacific Northwest ecosystems and what unifies and diversifies mammals by investigating pelts and skulls of mammals that live here. Learn how to identify a mammal by looking at it’s skull and how each animal’s unique set of adaptations help them live in different ecosystems and fulfill different niches. Our unique collection of mammal pelts and artifacts promote hands-on learning, interpretation, and deeper exploration of ecosystemsfood webs, and how they use their senses and the relationship these animals have with humans and each other.

Coyote, photo by Hayley Crews

Night Flight: Bats & Owls

By investigating owl and bat specimens, your students will delve into the mysterious world of these (mostly) nocturnal creatures, discovering how many of them have adapted to nighttime survival and living in urban habitats. Learn about their unique set of adaptations that help them be incredible hunters. This program is sure to instill an appreciation for our nocturnal neighbors, uncovering the unique niche they occupy in the natural world.


Northern Pygmy Owl, photo by Steve Young

Birds of Prey

Examine a variety of wings, skulls and feet of raptors in our area in Birds of Prey! Students will investigate all of the amazing adaptations raptors have and what separates them from other birds. Learn how to identify the most common birds of prey and compare and contrast specimens from falcons, hawks and owls.

Red-tailed Hawk, photo by Mick Thompson

Sensing the Forest

Explore the great outdoors classroom using the same tools animals use every day for survival – the five senses! Listen to birds, find subtle colors in nature, touch different plants and rocks, walk blindfolded through the forest to practice and immerse yourself in nature with activities that challenge you to hone your lesser used senses! Get ready for a super sensory forest adventure! (This theme is great for students grades K-2!)

A child exploring the beauty of the forest, photo by Ali Berman