Field Trips: Jeffers Petroglyphs

Jeffers Petroglyphs is home to roughly 5,000 sacred rock carvings made by the ancestors of today’s Native Americans. Programs incorporate history, anthropology, archaeology, and biology, connecting students with those who traveled our continent in ancient times.

Core experience

All field trips are outdoors and include a tour of the rock carvings, atlatl program, prairie walk, bison rub, and three sisters garden. Please dress for the weather.

Tour of the rock carvings (petroglyphs)

Students are introduced to ancient rock carvings (petroglyphs) on site and explore the symbols, their possible meanings, and information about the people that made them.

Atlatl Station

Learn about the importance of the atlatl (spear thrower) as an important hunting tool used before the bow and arrow. Students can test their skill and use an atlatl to throw a spear at a bison target. 

Prairie Walk

On the way to the rock carvings a discussion of the prairie is held, important blooming plants are identified, and students learn how prairie plants adapt and survive through drought and fire. Build in extra time for your students to explore an additional ¾ mile grass trail that begins at the rock face and allows more opportunities to enjoy the prairie. 

Bison Rub

Students marvel at the outcrop of quartzite polished by bison over thousands of years. In this activity students will explore the cultural, ecological and historic connections between people, bison and the prairie.

Three Sisters Garden

Students will learn about the Three Sisters Garden – a Native American traditional method of planting. The Three Sisters include corn, beans and squash that are grown together in a way that nourish each other.

Academic standards

All programs support state of Minnesota academic standards in social studies.

Jeffers Petroglyphs Outreach Programs

If you can't come to us, we can bring the learning to you. The following outreach programs are available for classrooms.

Programs

Winter Count (Grades K-8)

Learn how Native Americans kept track of their history and communicated using symbols. 20-30 minutes.

Packing a Travois (Grades K-5)

Learn about the roles and responsibilities of Native American family members through costumed role-playing of a Dakota girl and boy as they prepare to move to another location on the prairie. 30 minutes.

Travois Program - Working Together To Survive on the Prairie (Grades 6-8)

Work in small groups to investigate items in a parfleche or tipi bag and determine who would have used the items and why each item was important for survival. 30 minutes.

Prairie Animal Tracks (Grades K-5)

Explore prairie animals by examining their pelts and making plaster animal tracks. 30 minutes.

Native American Games (Grades K-5)

Play Native American games such as Moccasin game, Bone & Pin and/or Double-Ball. 20 to 30 minutes.

PowerPoint presentation (All ages)

Explore the Jeffers Petroglyphs through photographs of the site including programs, plants, and carvings. 20 to 30 minutes.

7,000 Years of Native American History (Grades 5 and up)

Students work in teams exploring cultural items from the four major time periods (Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian). The program ends with a game in which the teams compete against each other by answering questions correctly about how the people lived and survived for thousands of years. 30 to 45 minutes.

Scheduling an outreach program

To check on availability and cost, please contact jefferspetroglyphs@mnhs.org.

Jeffers Petroglyphs

27160 County Road 2
Comfrey, MN 56019

Cost

  • $8 per student, $80 minimum group fee
  • District staff free
  • One free adult per 10 students. Additional chaperones will be invoiced at the same rate as the students.
  • Admission costs are for anyone age 4 and over

Billing information

No payment will be accepted the day of the field trip. All schools will be invoiced after their trip. For more information see our Program Policies.

Cancellation fee

Cancellations must be received 14 days before your trip. See our Program Policies. Contact us at 1-888-387-5008 if you need to reschedule.

Details

  • Length: 2.5 hours for core experience. Additional 30 minutes for lunch.
  • Free bus parking
  • An onsite picnic shelter can accommodate seating for 30.
  • Accessibility

Scholarships, grants, and subsidies

Apply for scholarships, grants and subsidies.

 


 

Nearby locations

Lower Sioux Agency Field Trip.