Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Top 15 Field Trips of All Time

  We've been homeschooling for over 3 years now and we've had the opportunity to go to so many places.  We've been to traditional "school" type field trips with large groups of homeschoolers.   We've been to many places on our own or with small groups for field trips.  We've been to many places that many people might not even think to consider as a field trip.  As homeschoolers we even get to count family vacations as learning days (if we so choose).  Looking back the list was long and varied.  Some places the boys liked so much we visited them over and over and over again.  Some places the boys thought were neat but they weren't necessarily places they wanted to go a second time.  I always ask them to tell me a few things they had learned once we got home and I always asked them if they thought they'd like to return another time.  I had never thought to ask them which trips were their favorites; until today.  I was pretty surprised by their answers!  In no particular order here are 15 of their all time favorite trips or places we've been (after each little blurb I've attached a link to at least one blog post dedicated to each trip):

  1. New England Air Museum-- We went for a homeschool day to this particular museum last year and I had no idea that the boys enjoyed it as much as they did.  I didn't bother signing us up for this years homeschool trip and I regret it so much.  They've been asking to go back (so much so that I'm pretty sure we'll be sucking up the cost and going again anyway).  They learned so much about our history, planes, the science of flight, and had a great time talking to all the pilots and educators there helping out.  You can read about our day here.  
  2. Walt Disney World-- SO, many people may not think of Disney as educational but I don't agree.  Not only did we learn a lot about the world and various cultures and countries while walking around EPCOT and seeing the whole world showcase, but we also learned & applied a lot of science lessons on our week there.  Before (and since) going we've watched all the Disney Science of Imagineering videos and learned about magnetism, force, acceleration, gravity and more.  We got to see all sorts of wonderful animals at the Animal Kingdom and even learned a few words from some of the African places the various areas of the animal kingdom are named after.  At Hollywood studios we learned about the various jobs like costume designers, stunt men, and set makers.  We got to see how they film chase scenes and how they safely film explosions and fires. Here is a link to one of our days at the Animal Kingdom and Epcot.  
  3. Launch Trampoline--  We always call our Launch days physical education field trips.  We spent hours jumping on the trampolines, playing dodge ball, and practicing flips.  The kids often make new friends while they are there too.  It's great fun and we try to go a few times a year.  Here is one of our trips to Launch, RI.  
  4. Universal Studios--  Since we count most amusement park trips as science in motion field trips I couldn't argue with the boys that Universal was not a memorable or favorite field trip.  Add in all the Harry Potter stuff we got to experience and it was unparalleled.   Nothing lights up the kids eyes quite like watching their favorite story books come to life.  Here is a summary of our first day there.  
  5. Ecotarium--  We visit the Ecoatrium a few times each year.  Part science museum, part kids museum-- it's all fun.  We've learned about dinosaurs, cultural games, architecture, animals, bubbles, and so much more.  We've paid extra to watch planetarium shows,  participate in treetop adventures, or even attend a bird of prey class.  They change their exhibits frequently and they usually have a nice wide variety of things for kids of all ages.  Here is a link to our trip to the Ecotarium in which Alec participated in the bird of prey class.  And here a few other links to trips at the Ecotarium-- here, here, and here.  
  6. Hartford Science Museum--  Three floors of hands on science fun, it's another place we visit at least once a year.  They too have some changing exhibits and we've learned all about Ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, the human body, magnetism, outer space, the properties of water, and we always have a great time.  Here is one trip we've taken to the science museum (learning about Egypt this time).
  7. Sea World-- The boys still remember our trip to Sea World fondly.  We got to pet and feed rays, sharks, and dolphins.  We saw polar bears, killer whales, and manatees.  We watched many shows and learned about conditioning animal behaviors.  The boys learned to read a map and got to climb through netting and mazes.  We played games that taught us about pollution and animal ecology.  We talked to trainers and informed workers who taught us about the various birds we saw too.  It was like an aquarium with lots of rides.  You can read about one day of our trip here.  
  8. Zoos-- I combined all the zoos we visit into one field trip since we can never decide which zoo we like the best.  Our two favorites are Roger Williams Park Zoo and Southwick's zoo but we've visited others while on vacations too.  Alec is an enthralled with animals and reads all the signs at every zoo we go to.  All three boys check to see where the animals home would be on the map and read to see if the populations are endangered, threatened or declining.  Over the years they've had many animal encounters.  We're often at the zoos when they aren't real crowded and the boys have had long chats with many zookeepers.  They've gotten to hold or pet birds, armadillos, chinchillas, binturongs, hedgehogs, and more.  They've taken extra classes and learned even more about the animals that inhabit the zoo.  Here is just one summary of one trip we've made to Southwick's zoo.  And here is one of our first trips we made to Roger Williams.  
  9. Aquariums-- Again I linked aquariums together as one big destination.  I've found any trip with live animals tends to be a big hit with the boys and sea animals are no different.  We often visit Mystic Aquarium but we've also been to the Clearwater Aquarium and a few others as well.  For a long time we had the added benefit of learning all about the Titanic at an exhibit at Mystic Aquarium.  We've had memberships that have allowed us to take advantage of many programs and have learned something new on every trip.  Here is one of our favorite trips to Mystic Aquarium when they were celebrating their birthday.  And here is a link to our trip to Clearwater Aquarium where we met Winter.  
  10. Buttonwood Farm Corn Maze-- All corn mazes are fun but one of our first homeschooling trips we went on was to Buttonwood Farm's maze and we were floored by all the extra activities they included in our low admission costs.  We got to go on tractor rides, play in a corn crib, climb a hay bale and, of course, go through the maze.  We also met lots of homeschoolers.  We've since been back to Buttonwood each fall for their corn maze and we go most summers for their Sunshine for Wishes day too.  Here is the first trip we took with our homeschool group to the corn maze and (as an added bonus) here is one of our trips to their sunflower festival.   
  11. Soar Indoors-- I was surprised the boys added this as their favorite field trip.  We checked out a local business call Soar Indoors which was an indoor obstacle course.  I considered this both a physical education field trip as well as a problem solving one.  I knew Alec had a great time and while the other two boys enjoyed the challenges too it was supremely difficult.  The obstacles move and with both Ian and I having a fear of heights the upper courses were way to daunting to try out.  Evan was a bit short for the recommended height and was content to stay on the lower course.  It was a lot of fun though and we sure learned a lot about ourselves as well as the stamina and strength needed to excel.  You can read about our trip here
  12. King Richard's Faire came in as a tie with Medieval Times-- both are medieval themed and include lots of old time fun.  We have visited Medieval Times twice now; the boys love to watch the jousting and see all the suits of armor.  It's a lot of fun to arrive early and walk through the village they have set up there.  Here is a link to our latest trip there.  We've only been to Kind Richar's Faire once but the boys adored it.  They got to watch glassblowers at work, a candle maker sculpting candles, & many whip/ sword acts.  They saw tigers and learned about ecology.  They got to try their hand at using bows and arrows & throwing stars.  It was a lot of fun.  Here is the summary of our trip.  
  13. Microsoft-- This was a recent and very exciting field trip for the boys.  We were invited to a class at the Microsoft store to learn how to code.  The boys spent a couple of hours learning basic coding principals and they had a great time!  We met up with lots of our homeschool friends and the kids paired up to work on designing their own worlds.  The best part (for mom?)  it was FREE!  The kids are still talking about it and have all asked to try out their summer camp too.  Here was our day at the mall.  
  14. Higgens Armory Museum-- Sadly, this is one place we can no longer visit.  The Higgens Armory museum shut down and we were so sad that it did.  We had visited a few times and had such a great time learning all about history.  The boys got to try on pieces of armor, play chess, build a castle with blocks (large and small; hard and soft).  It was one of those history learning days that my boys thought was exciting.  On our first trip to the museum, the older two boys were called on stage to participate; you can read about it here.  
  15. Nautilus Museum-- I'm not sure if my boys enjoyed this field trip so much for the content or more for the company.  They had a great day with their friends and cousins learning all about submarines.  To this day they refer to our trip as the day at the "naughty list."  It was a free trip and while we only spent a few hours exploring we learned a lot about the history of the navy, submarines and maritime warfare.  For more detailed information you can click here.  

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