Eagle Creek Park offers several popular environmental education programs specifically for homeschool students –  Homeschool Jamboree – among other field trip programs available to groups.

Bring your homeschool students out to Eagle Creek Park to explore, hike,picnic, and learn! Visit both nature centers and explore the park grounds for educational experiences on your own, or sign up your group of students for one of our environmental education program offerings. Please call the nature center to arrange your field trip, 317-327-7148 or click here for more information. We also offer a few programs throughout the year specifically for homeschool students.


Homeschool Jamboree

Friday, Nov 3, 2017
Eagle Creek Park Earth Discovery Center

$15/per student due at time of registration.

Homeschool students age 8–14 years can attend 4 environmental education classes during an exciting, educational, and fun-filled day! Space is limited to 150 students.

To receive notifications on the Homeschool Jamboree, please email Leah Frenzel, or call 317.327.7148. Program topics and registration details are usually emailed to the list approximately 4–5 days before the first day of registration. Note: registering for a homeschool program does not automatically put you on the general email list.

  • Homeschool Jamboree Classes

    Archery – Outside

    Maximum 12 students per session. No prior shooting experience necessary, learn the basics of archery in this intro archery class. We will go over safety, terms to know, and then get to try our hand at shooting! *Due to the popularity of this class, please do not choose this topic if you’ve already done Archery in a previous Jamboree, so everyone can get a chance to participate. 

    Bird Hike – Outside

    Fall migration is always an exciting time of year in Eagle Creek Park. Warblers, cranes, herons, ducks and many more birds can be found this time of year. Check out the trails and local birds with Indy Parks Naturalist Miranda Sears.

    Creepy, Crawly, Creatures – Inside

    Come learn about some of the common creepy, crawly creatures that are found in central Indiana from a local master naturalist. While these critters may cause fear, disgust, or anxiety to some, they actually do serve a valuable role in nature. Come discover how they fit into our world and help maintain the balance of nature.

    Forgotten Animals: Extirpated Animals of Indiana – Inside

    Many animals have come and gone from Indiana. Do you remember their names? Do you remember their stories? Join Holliday Park Naturalist, Amanda Roche in an interactive session on the Extirpated (locally extinct) animals of Indiana. Get up-close and personal with animal artifacts such as furs, skulls, horns, and teeth. Discover why these animals vanished from the Indiana landscape and how we can learn from their stories to protect other at-risk animals.

    Insect Hotels – Inside

    We all appreciate a little TLC. With the world becoming a harsher place for many beneficial insects, they may feel the same way. Learn to love a few of our unassuming garden friends, and then construct a simple shelter to attract and keep them in your own yard.

    Leave No Trace – Outside

    Camptown will teach participants the 7 Leave No Trace principals. You will learn how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through games and hands on learning. Leave No Trace refers to a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation and positive recreation decision making.

    Nature Scavenger Hunt – Outside

    Ready! Set! Search! Join a park volunteer on a nature scavenger hunt in the area around the EDC. You will use your observation skills and previous knowledge to search for treasures in nature that might otherwise be missed. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and explore (rain or shine)!

    Nature Sketching and Journaling – Inside

    A Nature Journaling workshop will be provided by members of Sigma Lambda Alpha, an honors society of Ball State landscape architecture students. Looking critically at nature and accurately recording observations through sketching is a critical part of landscape architecture. Participants will be supplied with a sketchbook and guided through the basics of sketching what they see in their surroundings, a skill which can be furthered for the rest of their lives.

    Orienteering – Outside

    Learn to use a compass and navigate a scavenger hunt. It is helpful if students are able to read or have a parent with them. This lesson is outside, so dress for the weather. Taught by a former homeschool student.

    Owls – Inside

    Learn all about our favorite nighttime hunters! Owls have amazing adaptions that make them incredible hunters. Join a naturalist as we get up close and personal with live owls to see what makes them so special.

    Tree Climbing – Outside

    Maximum 12 students per session. Get a bird’s eye view of the park while getting to know your trees. Join us “up a tree without a paddle.” Learn to climb a tree using arborist equipment. *Due to the popularity of this class, please do not choose this topic if you’ve already done Tree Climbing in previous Jamborees, so everyone can get a chance to participate.

    Tree ID and Hike – Outside

    Do you know how to tell trees apart? In this class, we will be hiking and looking at the bark, leaves, and seeds of IN tree species along the trail. We will also discuss the importance of certain trees and what they were used for by Indiana’s early settlers. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes for this class!

    What is so Special About a Honey Bee? – Inside

    We will discuss why Honey Bees are so important and what their daily life is like (it is hard). There will be new info about why the bees are in trouble. We will taste some honey and even help you make your own Buzzin’ Bee to take home.

  • Homeschool Jamboree FAQ

    Do I need to stay with my student or can I just drop them off?
    You are welcome to stay with your student and attend the event, or you may also drop them off. You know your student the best – some children are mature enough to attend Homeschool Jamboree on their own, while others may need you to stay with them. Students are responsible for finding their way to their classes and have a 45-minute lunch period on their own. We have several adults around to assist and monitor students throughout the day, but if you have any concerns about your child’s safety, maturity, or ability to follow instructions and stay with their class, please plan on attending the event with them. For a few classrooms with limited space, you may be asked to wait outside in the hallway. If you will be dropping off your student, the park asks you to fill out emergency contact information at the time of check-in.

    Due to the large number of students, it is not practical to have a formal check-out procedure. The end of Homeschool Jamboree can be very busy, with lots of students, parents and cars moving in and out of the parking lot. Please talk to your students ahead of time about safety — you may wish to determine a pick-up spot in advance, or meet them at their last class location.

    If I am staying with my child, can I bring my younger children along?
    Yes, you may bring younger siblings with you to Homeschool Jamboree. The park just asks that you remove them promptly from the program if they become restless or disruptive. Be aware that a few of the program sessions involve longer hikes that may not be suitable for younger children. There are several playgrounds and hiking trails in the park that you are welcome to enjoy during your visit, and you may wish to bring along books, toys, or other items to keep younger children entertained.

    My child is seven, can I still sign him up for the Jamboree?
    Even if your child is working at an advanced level, this is a very long day for younger children and the park strongly recommends waiting until they are at least eight years old before attending. Our absolute cut-off for signing up for Homeschool Jamboree is 7 1/2 years.

    Why did the park decrease the age range?
    The vast majority of students signing up for Homeschool Jamboree are age 14 and younger, and repeated feedback indicated that older students felt out of place at the event.

    What if the weather is bad, will you cancel the program?
    Homeschool Jamboree is a rain or shine event – we only cancel if weather conditions are dangerous — thunder, lightning, extremely high winds, etc., and since Indiana weather can change very quickly, we may not know until the day before or even the morning of the program. Cancellation information and updates will be emailed to registered participants. The park does not generally cancel for rain or cold temperatures. Since many of the program sessions are outdoors, please check the weather forecast carefully and dress accordingly.

    Will we have to pay the gate entrance fee to get into the park?
    Gate admission is included in your registration fee. Please check-in with the gate attendant at the 71st or 56th Street gates with the name(s) of your registered student(s).

    What about lunch?
    Please have your students bring a sack lunch. Lunches can be carried with students, or may be dropped off in the pantry after check-in. Due to cold weather over the last few jamborees, students have been allowed to eat lunch in the hallways of the Earth Discovery Center rather than having to go outside. Because of their excellent behavior and clean-up afterwards, lunch will be allowed either inside or outside, regardless of weather. Students are not directly supervised during the 45-minute lunch period, although they do have volunteers walking around to assist students during this time if needed. Please take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to stay with your students for the day.

    Can we find out what classes we got into before the day of the event?
    When you sign up for the Jamboree, you choose your top four classes with two alternates. In order to fit everyone into as many of their top choice classes as possible, the park must wait until almost everyone has registered to start assigning classes (it’s like a giant, complicated, jigsaw puzzle). As soon as the Jamboree is nearly full, park staff assigns classes and sends out schedules via email. Even if you are on the general Homeschool email list, please leave your email address at the time of registration if you wish to get your class schedule early.

    If we don’t like our classes, can we switch them the day of the event?
    Due to the nature of the program and the high number of students, the park is unable to switch classes the day of the event. Make sure when registering that your students will be happy with all six of their class choices, and if there is a class they particularly wish to attend, indicate it as their #1 or #2 choice. The park will do its best to make adjustments if there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. student sprained ankle the night before and is not able to go on hikes, but still wants to attend). Please be aware that staff will be very busy at the beginning of the event as they get nearly 150 students signed in and off to their first classes, so they may not be able to address your concerns immediately.

    Why don’t you offer more Homeschool Jamborees at different times throughout the year?
    To be able to offer a variety of class choices, Eagle Creek Park pulls in favors from staff at Indy Parks Outreach, Holliday Park, Southeastway Park, Garfield Park, IDEM, IDNR, Camptown, talented Indy Parks volunteers, and countless others. Most of these parks and organizations become extremely busy from spring through fall with school field trips, day camps, park visitors, etc. Early spring and late fall are the best compromise for the event — the best variety of presenters are available, and we try to push the date as close to busy season as possible to give us the best chance for good weather.

    How do I register?
    You can register online through Indy Parks, or call the Earth Discovery Center directly at 317.327.7148, or Indy Parks customer service line at 317.327.PARK (7275). Note: space is limited, and this program has a history of filling up the first day registration is open. Leaving a message on the answering machine will not reserve your spot. For online registration, we recommend setting up your Indy Parks account in advance. Here is what you’ll need to register:

    • Complete names and birthdays of students
    • Address and phone number
    • Email address — the park can send students their class schedules before the actual day of the event, and notify you of any last minute changes due to weather, etc.
    • Six class choices for each student (see below for topics) ranked in order from 1 (first choice) to 6 (last choice). Students will be assigned four of their six choices. The park tries to get each student in their top two choices if at all possible, and assign choices 3 and 4 as space and time slots allow. If there is a class your student particularly wishes to attend, be sure to designate it as their #1 or #2 choice.
    • Payment information — we accept MasterCard, Visa, Discovery, and American Express over the phone or online.

    What is the cancellation policy?
    In accordance with city policy there will be no refunds. If you cancel two weeks before the day of the program, you will receive a credit to your account that can be used for other Indy Parks programs.