Field Trips
Who says homeschooling has to happen at home? Most homeschoolers will tell you that they spend almost as much time out of the house as in it. Field trips are learning opportunties that offer fun ways to make every life experience a learning experience. You'll also find tips and strategies for planning, managing, and attending field trips with your homeschool support group.
Links and Items
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. It traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, it was built by private citizens and completed in 1937. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Community Field Trips in Florida
Yes You Canvas
Art classes for everyone. They offer classes and camps at their locations in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Oviedo. You don't need any prior art training. Their artists take you step-by-step through every stroke, and you end up with a painting you can take home.
Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Stadium Tours
Take a behind the scenes look at the Baseball Grounds, including a visit to the clubhouse, tour of a luxury skybox and skydeck, the dugout, pressbox and media area. Enjoy lunch after the tour.
Conner's A-Maize-ing Acres
Conner's A-Maize-ing Acres is open seasonally offering field trips and education on the importance of agriculture and the American farmer.
Mandarin Museum and Historical Society
Mandarin Museum & Historical Society shares the stories of Mandarin’s history, culture and natural resources by providing engaging programs that educate, entertain and inspire. In the 1800s, Mandarin was a small farming village that shipped oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other fruits and vegetables to Jacksonville and points north on the steamships that traveled the St. Johns River. In 1864, the Union steamship, the Maple Leaf, hit a Confederate mine and sank just off Mandarin Point. Author Harriet Beecher Stowe wintered in the village from 1867 to 1884. Mandarin now is a small section of the City of Jacksonville, Florida, but its natural beauty, parks and historic buildings draw visitors from around the world. School tours are available.
Doing Dishes Pottery Studios
This paint your own pottery studio offers group rates for homeschoolers as well as individual homeschool student discounts.
Diamond D Ranch
The Diamond D Ranch is an actual working horse and cattle ranch covering over 500 acres. One of the highlights of the student’s visit is the wagon ride around the ranch. During the wagon ride, children will experience first hand just how the ranch operates. They learn the history of the ranch and how a real working horse and cattle ranch works. The children will get to meet some of the cattle up close and personal during their stop at the cattle pasture. The final stop on the wagon ride is at the petting zoo with Deer, Goats, Sheep, Emus, and the star of the show, “Bubba” the American Bison buffalo. Back at the live oak shaded grounds the children will go for a walk on our nature trail. Our nature trail provides children the opportunity to learn all about some of the trees and wildlife native to Florida. At the Animal Orientation they will get to learn more about cattle and horses and just how much these animals helped shape America. Kids will get to take turns jumping around in our bounce houses and even take a spin on the Dixie Cartwheel.
CiCi's Pizza Field Trips
CiCi's Pizza offers Lunch & Learn Field Trips for school groups. This is a hands-on workshop at CiCi's designed by teachers to help kids develop basic math skills. Students use pizza ingredients and other related items to solve problems, and in the process make and enjoy their very own pizza! They offer beginner, intermediate and advanced math level curricula.
TNT Gymnastics and Fitness
Bring your group in for a fun fitness alternative. They offer exciting fitness field trips in a 14,500 square foot facility.
Disney Youth Student Seminars
Enhance your at-home curriculum with in-park learning. Provide your students with a new out‐of‐the‐box challenge and propel their education to the next level with Disney Student Seminars at Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida. Gather with other homeschool families and explore science, storytelling and technology at a Walt Disney World® Resort theme park. Learn from leaders who offer insight on how knowledge brings our magical attractions to life. Complete your educational itinerary by enrolling in select Disney Youth Education Series with the Individual Enrollment option.
The Ritz Theatre and Museum
Our permanent museum collection presents the history of Northeast Florida's African American community, featuring a walk through old LaVilla and a dynamic multi-media display highlighting brothers James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson, Jacksonville native sons and composers of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing." The Museum Gallery showcases a variety of changing art exhibits throughout the year. Guided tours are led by trained docents who will provide information about the exhibits featured in the museum.
Fort Menendez at Old Florida Museum
Come explore Fort Menendez, meet some colorful characters from early Spanish St. Augustine and the Timucuan village of Seloy, and have lots of fun along the way! Join other adventurers on an interactive trip through time. Earn gold, buy, trade items, and wager with villagers and adventurers alike! Old Florida Museum offers four unique "HANDS-ON" programs designed to be entertaining as well as educational. Students experience life in St. Augustine through the struggles and successes of its people during distinct time periods of Florida’s history. All programs follow the Sunshine State Standards.
World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater
Get ready for an exciting semester of stunning new IMAX films! The World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX® Theater is the only place that brings these experiences to you and your students with larger-than-life, IMAX 3D Digital technology. Rich in educational content, the films meet curriculum standards and are accompanied by educator guides for pre- and post-field trip activities. From outer space to the depths of the sea, there is a program to meet every learning level.
Factory Tours
Whetstone Chocolate
Located in St. Augustine, Floriday, Whetston offers a free, self-guided tour. Enjoy a free sample of their famous milk chocolate shell. Start your tour with a close-up look at the technology of modern candy making in the video theatre. Then take a walk through the inside of the factory where you'll get to see the Molding Plant, which makes up to 500 pieces a minute; the Packing Room, where each chocolate is carefully hand packed; and the Specialty Room, where their confectionary creations take form. After the tour, you can shop in the Factory Outlet Store. Groups should call for reservations.
Jax Air News Factory Tour
Groups can take guided tours (1 and 1/4 hours) of the Times-Union where people can witness the development of the newspaper as it flies through the presses at 50 to 75 miles per hour. There is no charge for production building tours.
Electrified Learning Tour
The best way to learn about electricity is to come see for yourself by touring a power plant. You'll learn how power plants change energy into electricity. Come see each process at work: a hydroelectric dam, a fossil fuel generator, or a nuclear reactor. The tour is free.
Sally Corporation
Sally Corporation offers a complete range of custom designed and fabricated animatronics. Take a tour of their robot factory. Tours are free of charge.
Zoos & Wildlife
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Reserve)
The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve was formed through a collaboration of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It covers 74,000 acres of coastal lands in northeast Florida from Ponte Vedra Beach to Palm Coast. The GTM Research Reserve is part of a national system of research reserves that focus on research, education and stewardship. The GTM Research Reserve has a 21,000 square foot Environmental Education Center which includes interpretive exhibits, aquariums, classrooms, teaching and working laboratories, an auditorium and an outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Guana River Aquatic Preserve. Education staff offer programming for all ages on the importance of estuarine ecosystems. A Coastal Training Program offers training for professionals on issues of concern in our local community including watershed, invasive plants and much more.
Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park
Palm Beach Zoo display over 600 animals on 27 tropical acres. Explore Australasia with Tiger, Kangaroo, Wallaby and Emus. Trek across Florida to witness Florida panther, river otter, alligator and bald eagle. Cool off in our interactive fountain and then take a ride on our carousel. From giant lizards to miniature monkeys, the Palm Beach Zoo is a fun-filled day for the entire family.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Explore a wading bird rookery, see albino alligators, exotic birds and mammals, crocodiles from the Americas, Africa, and Asia, and visist Maximo, the largest animal in the park. Also offering daily educational programs.
Lubee Bat Conservancy
Located just north of Gainesville, Florida, on a 110- acre ranch, the center is a multi purpose facility housing mainly old-world fruit bats, and designed for use by visiting scientists, veterinarians, educators and students. Conservation science research programs include studies in reproductive physiology, endocrinology, genetics, nutrition, behavior and enrichment to ensure the future of endangered fruit and nectar bat species in the wild and in captivity.
SeaWorld Orlando
Located on 200 acres, SeaWorld Orlando offers marine animal attractions, educational performances, specialty tours, rides, and more.
Lowry Park Zoo
Located in Tampa, the Zoo consists of 24 acres within Lowry Park, featuring the largest concentration of native Florida wildlife exhibited in the state. Highlights include the Florida Manatee and Aquatic Center, Asian Domain, Primate World, and a children's petting zoo. Also features free-flight aviaries and the Harrell Discovery Center, a 1,500-square-foot interactive area featuring hands-on displays, exhibits, artifacts, videos and a small insect zoo. You can also visit Stingray Bay where visitors can pet and feed stingrays in a 16,000-gallon touch pool.
Brevard Zoo
Stroll through the shaded boardwalks of Latin American and Native Florida. We feature over 200 animals representing more than 60 species including alligator, crocodile, giant anteater, tapir, marmoset, jaguar, eagle, river otter, exotic birds and more. Located in Melbourne.
Lion Country Safari
Lion Country Safari is home to over 1000 animals in the drive-through preserve and in the Safari World exhibit area. Among the more notable species on display at the park are lions, white rhino, African elephants, chimpanzees, zebra, and giraffe. Also features a petting zoo, merry-go-round, boat rides, aviaries, bird, reptile, alligator, and squirrel monkey exhibits
Santa Fe Community College Teaching Zoo
Located in Gainsville, SFCC Teaching Zoo is home to over 75 different species of animals and over 200 individuals. Our diverse collection contains both native and exotic species that everyone can enjoy. Some family favorites are the Bald Eagles, White-throated Capuchin monkeys, Sika Deer, Galapagos tortoises, Matschie's Tree Kangaroo, Asian small-clawed otters and African Grey parrots. These species and many other mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are on display in a naturally wooded environment. Admission is free.
Caribbean Gardens, The Zoo in Naples
Caribbean Gardens features a natural path almost a mile in length winding past rare and beautiful animals residing within a 52-acre jungle of exotic plants first planted in 1919. In this tropical setting, you'll see lions, kangaroos, and monkeys, plus endangered African wild dogs and Asian deer. The Primate Expedition Cruise takes you through islands inhabited by monkeys, lemurs, and apes.
Jacksonville Zoological Gardens
The Jacksonville Zoo is the only walking safari in Northeast Florida. See over 1,000 animals on 73-picturesque acres as they tour around the world from Africa, Central America, and Asia. Also features Wild Florida, a native Florida attraction featuring native animals and plants, and Land of the Jaguar, a neo-tropical attraction featuring jaguars and other Central and South American animals. Other animals include koalas, kangaroos, wallaby, lorikeet, and a cassowary.
Miami Metrozoo
Metrozoo houses more than 700 wild animals in a cageless environment. Large, open-air exhibits provide the ideal setting in which visitors can experience some of the world's most beautiful and endangered wildlife. With nearly 300 developed acres on a 740-acre parcel of land, Metrozoo is the only zoo in the continental United States located in a subtropical climate.
Central Florida Zoological Park
Visit a variety of animals and take in the many educational programs at the Central Florida Zooological Park, located in Lake Monroe, Florida.
The ZOO
A wildlife experience awaits you at The ZOO, with over 700 animals surrounded by botanical gardens. Spend the day - get a close look at bears, tigers, rhinos, zebras, birds, primates, and otters. Take a ride on a camel or on the Safari Line Limited, a train ride through over 30 acres of free-roaming wildlife. The ZOO is located in Gulf Breeze.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a family adventure park offering an array of attractions based on exotic encounters with the African continent. Busch Gardens provides a blend of rides, a zoo featuring more than 2,700 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games.
Mote Marine Aquarium
From its humble beginnings in tiny shed in a small Florida town, Mote Marine Laboratory has expanded to include a 10.5-acre campus in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations and public exhibits in Key West and field stations in Summerland Key and Charlotte Harbor. The Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota offers large displays of marine life, mammals, turtles, and aquaculture.
Florida Aquarium
With over 10,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida and beyond, The Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa features 152,000 square-feet of air-conditioned fun. From playful river otters to intimidating sharks, there are more than 20,000 aquatic animals and plants to see during a visit to the Aquarium. Touch a bamboo shark in Stingray Beach or a sea star in the No Bone Zone on the 2nd floor.
Marineland Dolphine Adventure
Marineland Dolphin Adventure, the world's first oceanarium, invites you to their 1.3 million gallon series of dolphin habitats. Choose from a variety of interactive programs, which range from those for land-loving guests to enjoy dolphins up-close, to those that offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in the dolphins' aquatic world as you swim with our gentle residents. Experience these amazing animals for yourself. General admission guests are able to view the dolphins through 6 x 10 ft acrylic windows as they swim, play and interact with guests in programs alongside the pristine Atlantic coastline.
The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience
Founded in 1974, the Whitney Lab is dedicated to using marine model animals for studying fundamental problems in biology and applying that knowledge to issues of human health, natural resources, and the environment. The goal of the Whitney Lab’s K-12 outreach education programs is to use the Lab’s resources and expertise in modern biology to enrich science education in the surrounding communities and increase STEM education for local student learners. At the elementary school level, our programs introduce younger students to the scientific method, and do so in a format that promotes observation and questioning. At the higher level we provide high school students with the resources to conduct an experiment using modern biotechnology.
The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary offers visitors an opportunity to learn about tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, bobcats, coatimundis, and foxes. You can enjoy a daytime or nighttime tour.
Visitors Centers
Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
This park is the original site of the nation's oldest city. Located in the area first explored by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 and settled by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565, historic St. Augustine is the oldest successful European settlement in the United States. Colonial America started right here, 55 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, and 42 years before Jamestown. With a long, rich history spanning nearly 500 years, the Fountain of Youth Park will delight and amaze you. Whether you visit for an hour or take all day, the 15 waterfront acres will provide you with hours of enjoyment.
Holy Land Experience
The Holy Land Experience is a living, biblical museum that takes you 7000 miles away and 2000 years back in time to the land of the Bible. The structures and exhibits characterize the style, architecture, and settings that existed in the Holy Land 2000 years ago. The Garden Tomb, Qumran Dead Sea Caves, Great Temple and Plaza, Jerusalem Model, and Wilderness Tabernacle are all intricately detailed, both inside and out, to provide you with a clearer understanding of their biblical significance.
Nature Centers
Big Lagoon State Park
This coastal park sits on the northern shoreline of its namesake, Big Lagoon, which separates the mainland from Perdido Key and the Gulf of Mexico. Natural communities, ranging from saltwater marshes to pine flatwoods, attract a wide variety of birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations. Beaches, shallow bays, nature trails, and open woodlands offer splendid opportunities for nature study. The park also beckons visitors with opportunities for camping, swimming, fishing, boating, canoeing, and hiking. Crabbing in the shallow waters of Big Lagoon is a popular activity as well. The West Beach picnic area, shaded by pines and oaks, is just the place to enjoy a relaxing meal.
Eden Gardens State Park
Stop in for a picnic along Tucker Bayou, stroll down our nature trail, or simply meander through the gardens. The focal point of this park is a beautifully renovated, two-story house with elegant white columns and wrap-around porch. Surrounded by moss-draped live oaks and ornamental gardens, the Wesley house inspires visions of hoop skirts and landed gentry. The park is part of the estate owned in the 1800s by the Wesleys, a wealthy Florida timber family. In 1963, Lois Maxon bought and renovated the home, creating a showplace for her family heirlooms and antiques. The collection of Louis XVI furniture is the second largest in the United States. Guided tours of the house are available hourly Thursday through Monday (including holidays). Visitors can enjoy the grounds, gardens, and picnic area daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.
The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience
Founded in 1974, the Whitney Lab is dedicated to using marine model animals for studying fundamental problems in biology and applying that knowledge to issues of human health, natural resources, and the environment. The goal of the Whitney Lab’s K-12 outreach education programs is to use the Lab’s resources and expertise in modern biology to enrich science education in the surrounding communities and increase STEM education for local student learners. At the elementary school level, our programs introduce younger students to the scientific method, and do so in a format that promotes observation and questioning. At the higher level we provide high school students with the resources to conduct an experiment using modern biotechnology.
The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary offers visitors an opportunity to learn about tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, bobcats, coatimundis, and foxes. You can enjoy a daytime or nighttime tour.
Tree Hill Nature Center
Located in the center of Jacksonville, Florida, Tree Hill is the perfect place to connect with nature for individuals and families, school field trips, home schoolers, scout troops, business groups and so much more. Stop by with your friends and family to explore our 50-acres and three ecosystems. Plan a family reunion or evening reception in the beautiful Joseph A. Strasser Amphitheater. Enjoy fresh air, plentiful trails and an on-site butterfly house.Tree Hill is open to the public Monday - Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Field Trip Tips & Guidelines
The Ultimate Guide to Field Trips for Homeschoolers
Field trips don’t have to be elaborate or cost of ton of money to be both fun and educational. Some of the best “field trips” are a nature walk and park lunch with friends. Especially when your children are young, keep them simple. Nature walks, zoos, and local places like the bakery, pizzeria, greenhouse, post office, police station, fire station, coffee shop, you name it you can tour it!
How to Plan a Successful Field Trip
One of the highlights of homeschooling is a fun field trip. With the flexibility that homeschooling offers, the world is our oyster, right? Why read about something in a book when you can go experience it firsthand. Planning field trips, however, can be stressful. It doesn’t have to be, though. Read through tips that can help you plan successful field trips for your homeschool group.
Field Trip Planning Form
Helpful form for getting organized when planning field trips. Free and printable.
A Field Trip Should Not Be a Free-For-All
A reminder of the importance of teaching children respect and proper behavior when out enjoying field trips.
Organizing Homeschool Field Trips for Groups
Organizing group field trips is becoming a highly desired activity in homeschool support groups and co-ops. Not only do they offer social interaction but learning experiences as well. But without good planning, a field trip can end up being just a glorified play date. Home education time is limited, especially with the increasing number of extra curricular options for homeschoolers. Parents are becoming more selective of outside activities and attendance on group trips will fall off if participants aren’t seeing an educational benefit in addition to social time. This e-book will describe how to plan and host a great group field trip that will leave the participants anxious for more and perhaps even take a turn at planning themselves.
Field Trip Guidelines for Homeschool Groups
This letter can be used to establish an understanding about homeschool groups when you organize a field trip.
Field Trip Report Form
This handy printable form lets your child record a written record of your field trip visit.
Planning Homeschool Field Trips: 10 Things To Do Before You Go
Children enjoy field trips because they’re able to explore new destinations. Parents enjoy field trips because they offer children hands-on learning and specialized information. Farms, museums, gardens, landmarks, industrial centers, battlegrounds, and businesses are great field trip destinations. Educational opportunities at these sites are plentiful, so homeschool parents will want to venture out so their children can glean valuable information. However, in order to experience a worthwhile field trip, some advanced planning is necessary. Here are ten things to do before you go on a homeschool field trip.
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