Fungi safari: Explore the world of fungi

Explore Nature

Did you know fungi are neither plants nor animals? They form their own kingdom in nature! We want to go out and explore the world of fungi with you. Where do they occur? Which colours and shapes do they have? What can we learn from our observation? We will sharpen our senses for nature.

Important: The goal of our fungi safari is only discovering mushrooms and documenting them in a playful way. It is not about collecting edible mushrooms!

You can't get enough of fungi?

You want to learn more about the different fungi that exist in nature and how to recognize and identify them correctly? Then take a look at our fungi knowledge below, which we have collected for you. There are many websites and books that deal with mushrooms. We have linked some of them for you.


  • Suitable for age group: children from 6 years in company of adults

  • Especially interesting for: families, friends of fungi and explorers

  • Duration: at least one hour should be scheduled


  • You need:

  • Suitable clothing

  • A camera or mobile phone for taking pictures

  • Pens

  • Printed bingo and some fact sheets

  • Mushroom identification book (if you have one)

  • Enthusiasm for exploring

How it works

Step 1: Discover mushrooms

Find a near park or forest area. Don´t worry, you will find some mushrooms in an urban environment, too. And now let us explore!


Mushrooms can be on the ground but are also found on trees and deadwood.

Step 2: Success in finding a mushroom

Take a picture of your discovery and take a close look. Fill in the fact sheet and learn in this way something about your fungus.

When your mushroom is fitting a criterion on the Bingo, you can scratch through the field. One mushroom can fulfil several criteria. Can you get one full row?

Attention: Please leave the mushroom alone and there where it is. There are many poisonous mushrooms and for a correct identification it needs a lot of experience.


Once you find a mushroom, similar ones are usually not far away!

Did you notice there are two words we are using: Fungi and mushrooms? What you are seeing is just the mushroom but the organism itself is a lot larger than the mushroom. When we talk about the whole living being, we call it fungus. That is the reason a group of mushrooms is most likely just one and the same living being.

You will recognize that it gets easier and easier for you to discover mushrooms! But don´t be disappointed if you find non or just a few. Try it again at another place or another day!

Here are some of our discoveries:

    Step 3: Favorite mushroom and interpretation

    This part is better for doing it at home.

    You have a favorite mushroom among your discoveries? Try to identify it with the help of a mushroom identification book or by doing research on the internet. For sure your pictures and fact sheets will help you with it.

    If you want, you can share your pictures with us by tagging BIOTOPIA when posting it on a social media platform.
    Use the hashtag #BIOTOPIALab, so we can find it easier.

    We prepared some research questions for you:

    What can we tell from the place we found a mushroom about the fungus and its relationship with its surrounding?

    The place where you find a mushroom can tell you something about its feeding strategy. There are three different ways a mushroom can get food:

    First, some fungi grow on dead tree trunks because they decompose the wood and feed on it. This type of fungi is called decomposers. In this group of fungi not only dead wood is used as food. Depending on the species, other dead organic materials such as leaves or dead bodies are also decomposed.

    Other fungi grow near trees because they live in a partnership with them. Such a relationship is also called symbiosis. The fungus helps the tree to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. In return, the tree delivers sugar to the fungus. This special form of symbiosis between plants and fungi is also called mycorrhiza.

    Finally, fungi can also grow on trees that are still alive. There, they also feed on the tree's sugar but do not give anything back in return. It is therefore a parasite for the tree. Such fungi are often found on weakened trees.

    Can you find out, wherefor the fungus needs the mushroom?

    The mushroom (or more specific: the fruiting body) is actually only a small part of the whole fungus. The fungus needs the fruiting body to reproduce and spread. In this fruiting body, you can find the spores. The fungus needs them to reproduce. You can compare this with seeds in plants. Because the fruiting body is usually above the surface, the spores can travel far by, for example, being blown away by the wind. By that, the fungus can reach new areas. In comparison, spores cannot travel that far if the spores are released under the earth.

    What is inside of the lamellae?

    You can find the spores of the mushrooms between the thin membranes of the lamellae. They are well protected by the cap of the mushroom. Scientists use spore prints to identify which species of fungus they have found. The cap is placed on a piece of paper so that the spores cann fall down to the paper. The resulting pattern is typical for the respective fungus.

    What is a ball-shaped mushroom (without lamellae) doing instead?

    In the fruiting body of these mushrooms, you can find a chamber that is filled with spores. Ascomycetes or sac fungi form this type of fruiting body. It is also called a perithecium. Here, the spores are released through a small hole in the chamber.

    What is the part of the fungus called, that you can´t see?

    This part of the fungus is called mycelium. The fungus forms a fine network of thin threads in the underground or in tree trunks. This is the actual fungus, which absorbs water and nutrients. Additionally, it can communicate with other living organisms with the help of messenger substances. A single thread is called a hypha. These hyphae are very thin so, you can only see them with the help of a microscope. All hyphae together are called mycelium. In the mycelium, hyphae are so dense that you can see them with your naked eye.

    And now get out
    to explore!

    Related Links

    Book recommendations

    Created by our Lab Pilots Alice, Amelie and Monika

    Naturkundemuseum Bayern
    Botanisches Institut
    Menzinger Str. 67
    80638 München, Germany


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