We go out on field trips a lot. Many of them are set up through homeschooling groups so we can get awesome discounts. However, there are times we just want to head out on our own, usually on a whim, and I'm not always prepared to fork over a lot of money to do that. I try to keep an ongoing list in my head of places we can check out that won't cost anything. With some research and searching I've been able to come up with quite a list.
Linking up with:
- Hiking-- There are many hiking trails nearby and the more I look and ask around the more trails we learn about. It's great to get out in the wood through all the various seasons and see the changes. We often walk the same path at the same places which makes these differences really obvious but it's also great to check out new trails once in a while.
- Visit a church, synagogue, temple or mosque-- most are open to the public and visitors are free to quietly look around. Whether you are a religious family or not it's always interesting to learn about other faiths and see what objects they use in their worship.
- Nautilus Museum- is a wonderful history museum and it's always free to visit. We have found a few wonderful museums like The US Army and Heritage Museum in Pennsylvania that are also free and chuck full of history.
- Visit a local art studio-- Museums are wonderful for looking at art and talking about the various movements in art but they can be expensive. Visiting a local art studio or gallery is a fun and economical way to see some great arts of work. Many local colleges have art shows too and we often have displays at our local library. It's a fun, free way to get some art education into our schooling.
- Overlook Farm- While many farms allow people to visit free of charge, overlook farm also has a great global village set up with examples of housing and products from all around the world. On our previous trip we were even able to watch a movie explaining the mission of Heifer International. .
- UConn Barns-- Another great set of barns that we've been wanting to visit. Set on a university campus these working barns allow visitors to see horses, cows, goats and other farm animals up close. Plus they have a great dairy shack where you can buy freshly made ice cream! (OK: so the ice cream part would not be free but c'mon it's freshly made with cream from their own farm!).
- Audubon centers- Not all Audubon nature centers are free; there is usually a fee if you want to go inside the building. However, I have yet to stumble upon one that makes us pay to park or to walk the grounds. We've had some truly wonderful walks spotting birds and wildlife at some centers. They're great spots for picnicking with some binoculars.
- Free Museum Days- Most museums offer free admission days for homeschoolers, educators, or even to the general public on certain days of the year. We're always keeping our eye out for free days! We managed to spent a fee day at Mystic Seaport (a trip that would have cost us upwards of $60!).
- Bike Trails- There are many wonderful bike trails that run alongside rivers and towns. We haven't yet taken advantage of them since Evan just learned to ride but we can't wait to get out there and explore nature while enjoying some fresh air and exercise.
- Maple Sugar Shacks-- We've had great fun touring maple sugar shacks and seeing how maple syrup is made. We often spend a bit of money buying some syrup or maple cotton candy but it is technically a free field trip.
- Apple Orchards and Fall Festivals-- We enjoy trips to the apple orchard and it's again one of those things where we often end up spending money but we don't necessarily have to. A few of the orchards around here host family weekends in the fall complete with hay/ tractor rides, a trip to the pumpkin patch, music, demonstrations of cider making and free samples of their products.
- The Beach-- A great field trip in all seasons (providing you dress for the weather). We've watched the differences in ocean waves, combed the beaches for "treasure", found wild life and enjoy the peaceful crashing lull of the waves.
- The Boxcar Children Museum-- Learning about the life and times of Gertrude Chandler Warner. While the museum is not often open it's completely free and a fun trip for those fans of the Boxcar Children series.
- Nature Centers-- Many small, state run nature centers are free and open to the public. We've learned to scout them out ahead of time online to see if they have any fees and what they might offer. Many have a few live animals and some small hands on activities for kids as well as miles and miles of trails to discover too.
- Newport Mansion Cliff Walk-- While we have looked at the mansions in Newport from the water we have yet to walk along the cliffs that run just behind the mansions. We're looking forward to getting a closer view of the homes and the yards by walking along the cliff walk.
- Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston-- Another great way to "live" history is to follow the freedom trail in Boston. It's a 2.5 mile walk that incorporates 16 different sites pertaining to the Revolutionary war. We can't wait to try this out. You can pay for a tour of the freedom trail but you can follow the trail for free also and only stop at those places that interest you and your family.
- Virtual Field Trips-- Even when we can't get out of the house there are many wonderful virtual field trips that allow us to feel like we're seeing it in person. Our favorite field trips are often tours of factories that allow us to see how things are made.
- Microsoft Coding Classes-- while not something we can wander to on our own they do have free classes available to homeschool groups and school groups for learning basic beginner coding and my boys just LOVED it.
- Visit the State Capital Building-- Seeing democracy in action and tour the capital building! This is a great way to see how the government works particularly if you go on a day that they have sessions for you to look in on.
- Grocery Store-- sounds funny I know because if your kids are anything like mine they've spent plenty of time there already but many stores will allow small groups of students tours of different areas of the market that you may not necessarily see as you're shopping.
- Cemetery-- it may sound a bit morbid but old cemeteries can be, dare I say, fun? It's neat to walk through and calculate how old the people were when they died. Look for dates that coincide with what period you're learning about in history. Take along some large sheets of paper and crayons for rubbings. You may even find some historical names you recognize!
- Visit Fort Wetherill or other forts/ battle sights-- We love visiting fort Wetherill and have been on the lookout for other free historical places to visit. Once we started looking we've found quite a few; typically these old sites have crumbling structures you can look at and a placard or two that tell you a bit about the history of the area.
- Set up tours of the fire station, police station, post office or bank-- Many local businesses are more than happy to show groups of students around and explain what they do to help the community.
- Visit and Animal Shelter-- A great way to see how animals in need are being helped in your community. Many shelters are even looking for volunteers or you can work with a group to gather up supplies like food and animal toys and drop some off when you go.
- Science fair days at local colleges and universities-- We have a wonderful time at Touch Tomorrow each year. My boys get to try out hands on science experiments, try out student made video games and see the entire campus.
Linking up with: