Open OutDoors For Kids - Houston
Formerly known as Every Kid in a Park or EKiP, Open OutDoors for Kids-Houston (OOK) is an initiative to connect more kids to nature, history and culture. Starting in 2016, Big Thicket National Preserve has joined with more than three dozen partner groups to facilitate educational and engaging field trip experiences for 4th grade students from across the Greater Houston Area. This effort is funded through a grant from the National Park Foundation and strives to eliminate barriers to field trip participation by reimbursing all transportation costs. Teachers can easily book a field trip with one of many national, state and local park partners who provide a variety of curriculum-based natural, cultural, and historical field trips correlated with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
Registering for an OOK Houston Field Trip is Easy!
Before getting started, you must first determine eligibility:
Are you from a Title I school?
Are you a class of 4th grade students?
If you can answer yes to both of these questions, CONGRATULATIONS, you’re eligible!
In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, teachers are required to present fun and educational pre- and post-field trip activities in the classroom. Templates are available below, or you may use ones provided by the field trip location:
After the trip, simply confirm that pre- and post-field trip activities were complete and send a copy of the bus invoice.
Teachers should also be prepared to complete a survey. A small number of teachers will be randomly selected for a short survey on their field trip experience.
Booking Your Trip
OOK-Houston has over 30 different field trip destinations to choose from! Follow the directions below to start exploring:
Locate the Google Map at the top, right side of this webpage. Place your mouse cursor over the box in the upper right corner of the map, and click the words “View Larger Map”
Once opened, expand the map further using the “+” and “-” buttons on the bottom left corner of the map.
Learn more about field trip locations by clicking on the red or green balloon.
View the description of the field trip location and find contact information on the left.
Once you have decided where you would like to go, call or email the field trip contact to discuss field trip details and confirm a date.
After you have confirmed your field trip with your field trip destination, be sure to contact the Houston OOK team at email@example.com. You will be asked to provide the following information:
School & Teacher Name
Contact Information (Email & Phone)
Field-trip destination & date (Book the field trip with the site location)
Estimated number of students attending the field trip
Estimated price of bus cost
Once you have completed your field trip, the Houston OOK team will contact you again requesting the following:
Number of students who attended the field trip
Distance traveled to the site.
A simple statement saying you completed the pre- and post-activities
A scanned copy of your bus invoice.
Who should receive the reimbursement (payee name and address)
Please also be prepared to take a survey on your field trip experience. A small number of teachers will be randomly selected to be surveyed by the National Park Foundation as a condition of the grant.
The OOK-Houston team is here to assist you throughout the process and will send you email reminders along the way. A PDF version of this checklist can be found here.
How does the Houston OOK relate to the National Open OutDoors for Kids (OOK) Program?
Open OutDoors for Kids (formerly Every Kid in a Park) is an initiative from the National Park Foundation whose immediate goal is to provide opportunities for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their federal public lands and waters in person throughout the school year. In order to accomplish this goal, National Park Service units were awarded transportation grants in an effort to remove barriers for underserved and urban communities. For the Greater Houston Area, Big Thicket National Preserve has been awarded this grant and their staff has teamed with dozens of community partners to bring you OOK-Houston.
Through focused programming in and out of parks, Open OutDoors for Kids addresses:
ACCESS: Providing transportation, programming and free entry to the parks for children and teachers to experience hands-on, immersive learning.
RELEVANCY: Connecting kids and families to the parks through programs that make people's lives better, establishing emotional relevancy of the parks through cultural programs and encourage active, healthy lifestyles through recreational and restoration activities.
EDUCATION: Establish "in-park" opportunities for children to learn in our national parks, the world's largest outdoor classrooms. Unmatched as learning environments and living laboratories, national parks offer children, families and teachers a unique gateway to experience nature, history and culture, to learn about biodiversity and the environment, and to engage with each other in the great outdoors.
Please do not hesitate to contact OOK-Houston if you have any questions: