Discover Nature Paris Mountain State Park

Paris Mountain State Park is located six miles north of downtown Greenville. It encompasses 1,700 acres of forest, streams and lakes, including Lake Placid, which was created in 1898 to provide drinking water for the city of Greenville. Most park structures were created in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The park is designated as a Discover Carolina site, making education a top priority, and recognizing that the park’s location in the city of Greenville makes it an ideal destination where students can learn about our natural world. The efforts of the Paris Mountain State Park Friends make much of this possible.

The programs have been awarded their Discover Carolina designation by national board certified teachers, in cooperation with the S.C. Department of Education. Ranger Cathy Taylor is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Greenville County Science Teachers Association.

Program Goals

  • Foster understanding of S.C. science standards through hands-on STEM-based learning that is fun!
  • Include students in real field studies of Paris Mountain, where data collected is shared with other scientists.
  • Foster an understanding of and appreciation for the natural resources found in the piedmont of South Carolina.
  • Help students make connections between the natural world and themselves.
  • Encourage creative thinking using a problem-solving approach.
  • Encourage stewardship of South Carolina’s natural resources.

Contact Details

Cathy Taylor, Interpretive Ranger
(864) 244-5565

Field Trips

Programs are available Monday through Friday, September - November and March - May.

Biodiversity - 2nd grade

Standards: 2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare patterns of diversity within different habitats. 

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in a variety of different habitats. 

Crosscutting Concept: Patterns. Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed, used to describe phenomena, and used as evidence. 

As scientists for a day, students will conduct water and land field investigations as they collect animals, measure water/air temperature, and look for patterns among water animals that can be explained by structures (parts) whose function is to help them move through water.  To collect animals, students wade into Mountain Creek while wearing rubber boots.  In the park lab, these animals are made  larger than life with the park microscopes. Emphasis is on understanding the importance of habitat, and biodiversity in our world.  Program length: 2 hours.                                                                                                                

In addition to this program, students will go on a 1 1/2 hour Biodiversity Hike around Lake Placid, finding patterns in the wonderful ways that plants and animals survive in their habitat, while playing an important role in making our world work.  Available for 1 or 2 classes per day, with picnic lunch time between programs.  Total time at park: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Aquatic Ecology and Forest Ecology - 5th grade

Standard: 5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.  LS2.A Interdependent relationships in ecosystems.                                                                                      

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the idea that matter that is not food (such as air, water, decomposed materials in soil) is changed by plants into matter that is food.  Examples of systems could include organisms, ecosystems, and the Earth.

Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models.

As ‘Aquatic Ecologists,’ students conduct field investigations to evaluate the health of an aquatic ecosystem by wading in and collecting animals in Mountain Creek, measuring the abiotic factors of temperature and pH, and completing a model that describes the amazing movement of matter within this aquatic ecosystem. In the park lab, the class will view their creek finds under the microscope, and use all their data to assess the health of the creek at Paris Mountain State Park.  Program length: 2 hours.

In addition to this program, students will go on a 1 ½-hour hike around Lake Placid as ‘Forest Ecologists,’ investigating the many interdependent relationships amongst biotic and abiotic parts of a forest ecosystem, culminating with a one-square meter investigation.  Available for 1 or 2 classes per day, with picnic lunch time between programs. Total time at park: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.


Online field trips are no charge.  On-site field trips are:

1 - 25 students - $125
26 - 40 students - $200
41 - 50 students - $300

How to Book

Registration takes place the first Monday in August. Email Interpretive Ranger Cathy Taylor any time from the Saturday prior until 9 a.m. on the first Monday in August.  The schedule will be made based on the emails that have come in during that time period.

Please provide the following information:  how many classes, estimate of how many students per class and preferred date range. 

After that day, email to inquire about registering, or call the park office at 864-244-5565.


One chaperone per five students is recommended.  There is no set minimum or maximum.

Directions to Field Trip Location

Paris Mountain State Park is located at 2401 State Park Road, Greenville, SC 29609, six miles north of downtown Greenville.  We meet at the picnic flats parking lot (first lot that is on the left).

Facilities Available

Students who come to Paris Mountain State Park will have access to the picnic flats for lunch, restrooms, and Park Center which includes an ecology lab and exhibit hall.

What to Wear

Dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes.

Pre-Visit Kits

If you are in Greenville County, pre-visit kits will be delivered to your school!

Online Field Trips

Life Cycling Online Field Trip - 2nd Grade

Preparation activities for Online Fieldtrip Videos (do these first)

Life Cycling Main Event Field Trip Videos

2nd Grade pre-visit Powerpoint Presentation - ‘Click this link, and then download to enable Slide Show mode.

Aquatic & Forest Ecology Online Field Trip - 5th Grade

Preparation activities for Online Fieldtrip Videos (do these first)

Aquatic Ecology Main Event Field Trip Videos

Forest Ecology Main Event Field Trip Videos

5th Grade pre-visit Powerpoint Presentation - ‘Click this link, and then download to enable Slide Show mode.