The moment when kids realize learning can be fun makes teachers glow with pride. Seeing the spark of interest in a student's eyes makes the long nights and early mornings worth it, which is why you might currently wrestle with different field trip ideas for your students this year.
Field trips are always educational, but they can happen in a million different ways. You might take your class to a local historic location so they can learn about where they live. Older students may travel to a new state to see something they learned about in action.
These are the eight best cities for student field trips. Think about which places have locations, themes or events in your lesson plan to tie it into what your students learn.
1. Washington, D.C.
There's no better place to go for a historical field trip than Washington, D.C. Most of the museums are free, and those that charge entry fees provide discounts for students. Walk to each museum on your schedule and stop by the endless restaurants for food your whole class will love.
2. Boston, MA
As one of the oldest cities in the country, Boston helped make American history, so you'll find plenty to do here. The Boston Children's Museum is great for younger kids, and older ones who know about Paul Revere will enjoy the Freedom Trail.
3. Atlanta, GA
You'll find countless things to see in Atlanta, but special needs teachers will want to visit the Georgia Aquarium. Recent headlines announced that it was designated as a Certified Autism Center (CAC), so every aspect of the location caters to the needs of kids on the autism spectrum. That includes the instructor-led programs, so your class isn't left out of the fun.
4. New York City, NY
Older middle and high school students will love a field trip to New York City. Even if you live there, your class will be fascinated by the American Museum of Natural History or the Statue of Liberty. It might also be educational to take them to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, since many students today were born well after the tragically historic day took place.
5. Greenville, SC
Anyone located in or near South Carolina should take the opportunity to file a field trip request to see Greenville. You can visit the Greenville Zoo or consider other educational stops, like the Roper Mountain Science Center. Your students will learn about the universe at the planetarium and observatory, rounding out their education.
6. Austin, TX
School groups should take advantage of all the free things to do around Austin, Texas. The Bullock Texas State History Museum lets school groups in for free, along with the Colorado River Foundation. Have you taught any lessons regarding culinary history? Check out the Blue Baker in The Arboretum, which gives students a free tour to learn about the baking process.
7. Los Angeles, CA
The sunny weather in Los Angeles makes this city ideal for a field trip. Head over to the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum to see artifacts and buildings from the rarely-mentioned Civil War activity in the LA area. Your class may also enjoy the immersive IMAX screenings at the California Science Center.
8. Gettysburg, PA
Bring history to life by visiting living history encampments at the Gettysburg Heritage Center so your students can watch presenters use artifacts, weapons and cooking equipment to explain how people survived the Civil War. Young students may enjoy a ride on the nearby steam engine trains, where conductors will tell them all about the history of the railroad.
Go Over Your Lesson Plans
The best field trips match up to the year's lesson plans, so comb through what you've put together to figure out which of these cities relate to what your students will learn. Whether they tour a historic venue or learn about the planet and solar system surrounding it, they'll have a great time at these educational and fun cities.