Group of smiling kids feed birds perched on them in the bird-viewing room.
Hands On Outdoor Learning

Retreats for 4-6th Grade

Pine Cove’s outdoor education program, known as the Institute of Wilderness Studies (IWS), is the perfect opportunity for hands-on, TEKS-based learning for students in grades 4-6. Our instructors teach a wide variety of classes and activities in the great outdoors, giving students the chance to grow, learn, and adventure away from the “usual.”

Let’s Go to Camp

Educating students through hands-on learning and TEKS-based curriculum.

Students build a landform out of sticks and mud to demonstrate erosion and weathering.


Hands-On Learning

Pine Cove IWS provides a classroom unlike any other. We provide a wide variety of classes to choose from, including Airborne (East Texas only), Forest Study, and Earth Science, where students will get the chance to learn TEKS-based curriculum in a beautiful outdoor setting. With resources like challenge courses, snakes, birds, zip lines, games, augmented reality topographical sandboxes, and more, we ensure all lessons are unforgettable!


The Nitty Gritty

3 Days, 2 Nights

Move the classroom outside for a few days for a refreshing change of pace!

12 One-Hour Classes

Choose from our mix of science, activity, and nighttime options.


Reinforce what’s being taught in your classroom through our curriculum.


No additional charge for fun activities like zip lines or horseback riding!

Student and instructor look at a net to see what organisms they collected from the water.


Awesome Instructors

The IWS staff has a strong desire to see every student learn, grow, and succeed! These energetic and highly-trained instructors learn every student’s name and strive to make the outdoor education experience smooth, fun, and beneficial.

Grade Improvement

After attending the Pine Cove Institute of Wilderness Studies, teachers saw on average a 64% increase in students receiving passing grades on tests administered four to six weeks later.


Earth Science

A hands-on way to learn weathering, erosion, and deposition!

Instructor splashes a landform with water to demonstrate erosion and weathering.



Test your new navigation skills on our orienteering course!

Instructor guides students on how to read a compass for directions.



Grab a fishing net and explore the aquatic ecosystem.

Students by the lake gather water organisms in an aquatics class.


Critter Class

Have an up close and personal experience with wildlife!

Student gets to pet animals in Critter Class.


Nature’s Niche

Explore the habitats and traits of different species of critters!

Students show off a bug they caught.



Saddle up and learn the basics of riding and horse safety!

Boy riding a horse by the barn.



Learn about bravery — harness up and zip off a 30-foot tower!

Girl smiles at the top of the zip tower.
Two students sitting on a picnic table read their outdoor education field guide together.

Student Development

Grow Leadership & Social Skills

The positive effects of a trip to Pine Cove extend far beyond academics. Students will grow in leadership and social skills, getting outside their comfort zone to interact with staff and classmates like never before. Students will be encouraged to adventure big, try new things, and be brave!

Facilities, Food, and Safety

Trip Details


Stay in well-maintained cabins equipped with heating and air conditioning.


Students will get their fill of delicious, high-quality food!


Pine Cove is committed to the safety of every person on property.

Camp Locations

Pine Cove offers outdoor education at our properties in East Texas and Central Texas. Whether you’re coming from Dallas, Houston, Austin, or somewhere a bit further away, our locations just outside of Tyler, Texas and Columbus, Texas are in the perfect location to serve your group!



Chewie is a big fan of sweet potatoes and “hanging out!”

A three-toed sloth hangs from a rope in his habitat.


Ring-Tailed Lemur

Zoro’s a rambunctious guy who loves to jump around his habitat!

Ring-tailed lemur places hand against glass.



The grandpa of the reptile room is a slow but purposeful mover!

Giant tortoise walks in his rocky habitat.


Blue Macaw

Pody will greet people who walk by with a “Hi!” or “Bye!”

Blue Macaw perches on a tree in his habitat.



A variety of snakes are waiting for you to come ssssay hello!

Rattlesnake coils up in his habitat.


Eagle Owl

You’ll love meeting Hootie the Owl — she’s a real hoot!

Up-close photo of an Eagle Owl.

“Our kids enjoyed every minute with many saying it was the best time of their life. It was very educational, reinforcing and extending far beyond what they learned in the classroom.”


Smith Elementary Teacher

Two girls go for a canoe ride on a sunny day.

Interested? Contact Us for Pricing & Dates!

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