Science Field Trip Ideas for Students
Hands-on activities improve the quality of learning for students of all ages. For pre-schoolers to high-schoolers, education is enhanced with the chance to discover through smell, touch and taste.
Increase understanding and spark your students’ interest in science with a visit to a local planetarium, manufacturing plant, aquarium, farm, or science museum. Below you will find several field trip ideas that are fun and age-appropriate. Many of these venues provide guided group tours and are very affordable.
For Elementary Students
- Science Centers and Museums – Many communities have interactive science museums. On these field trips, students can learn about the planets, engineering and human biology. Some popular science museums include the Giant Heart (Philadelphia), the Michigan Science Center (Detroit), the History Museum of Natural Science (Houston), Exploration Place (Wichita), and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
- Aquariums/the Zoo – Younger kids love animals. Take your class on a trip to introduce them to live animals. Along with exhibits, many zoos and aquariums will talk with the students about animal care and their environment. They will also be taught to identify and differentiate between animals. Some aquariums and zoos with educational programs include the Brookfield Zoo (Illinois), Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, St. Louis Zoo, and the San Antonio Zoo & Aquarium.
- Farms – For preschoolers and early childhood students, a visit to a farm is ideal. On this field trip, the students can pet and feed the animals. They can also learn about harvesting crops by picking strawberries or vegetables. Contact local farmers to arrange a field trip.
For Middle School Students
- Nature Center – Take your kids on a hike to explore local wildlife and the ecosystem. At nature centers, the students will be introduced to both geology and ecology. The San Diego Natural History Museum, Heard Natural Science Museum (McKinney, TX), and the Canyonlands Field Institute in Moab, UT.
- Animal Rescue Center – Introduce the kids to animal rescue, rehabilitation and conservation with a visit to an animal rescue center. Along with your local humane society, large programs like the Marine Mammal Center (California), Carolina Tiger Rescue (North Carolina) and The National Aquarium (Baltimore) offer fabulous educational tours throughout the school year.
For High School Students
- Gardens – Botanical gardens such as Frederik Meijer Garden in Grand Rapids, MI, Adelaide Botanic Garden (New York City) and the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC offer excellent science programs for high school students. During a tour, students will learn about flowers, rocks, birds, and ecology. You can also check with your local community garden to see if they offer tours for high-school students. On a field trip to a community garden, students can learn about every aspect of gardening along with composting and farm-to-table cooking.
- Water Treatment Facility – A visit to a wastewater treatment plant can be very educational. Here the students will learn the processes required to make drinking water safe. This includes killing bacteria, aerating and getting rid of sludge. Check with your local government to schedule a sewage treatment tour.
Other ideas for science field trips include airports, factories, automobile museums, and the storm teams of your local television station. You can also go as a group to see a science-related IMAX movie such as Turtle Odyssey or Touch the Stars which explores the solar system.