Looking for an excuse to get out of the classroom for a day? Remind your teacher that October is Go on a Field Trip Month and throw a few of these suggestions her way.
1. Universal Studios.
Okay, so the “War of the Worlds” isn’t exactly literature, but no one can deny that Hollywood is an important part of the American economy and that movies are an art form. Convince your economics, art or English teacher to take your class on a tour of Universal Studios in Hollywood (there’s one in Orlando, Florida, too). If a whirlwind tour of Hollywood is out of your school’s budget, your class can be a studio audience for a television show—the tickets are usually free and most shows are filmed during the day in New York City or Los Angeles. It’s a great way to see how television gets made.
‘Nough said. You can’t teach U.S. history or music class without a nod to the king—and maybe a swing through Graceland, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, Tennessee, digs.
3. Dragonfire Hot Glass Studio.
This will blow your mind. Watch professional glass blowers transform molten glass into works of art at this San Antonio, Texas, studio. If your art teacher isn’t up for the trip, suggest it to your science teacher—there’s lots of chemistry involved in glassblowing.
4. Adler Planetarium.
Take a trip to another world. Literally. See explosions of cosmic proportions in Cosmic Collisions, a new space show at this awesome planetarium in Chicago.
5. Colonial Williamsburg.
Ever wanted to talk to a revolutionary? Or see how people farmed before tractors? A visit to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia where actors play the parts of ordinary citizens is like stepping straight into Revolutionary history.
6. U.S. Capitol.
See politics in motion with a visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. From an upstairs gallery, you can watch legislators duke it out and debate legislation.
7. Winchester Mystery House.
Doorways to nowhere, chimneys that stop below the roof and tales of ghosts and curses. The rifle heiress, Sarah Winchester, spent 38 years building this 160-room Victorian mansion in San Jose, California.
8. Ellis Island.
Twelve Million Americans entered the U.S. through Ellis Island in New York Harbor. See the clothes, suitcases and stories of America’s immigrants. Go online to search the island’s records for free.
9. Mount St. Helens State Park.
In 1980, Mount St Helens in Washington State erupted with such force that its north face collapsed and debris destroyed 150 square miles of forest. See the effect this living volcano had on its environment—and enjoy some good old nature that your Earth Science teacher will appreciate while you’re at it.
10. Rowan Oak.
If your English class reading list makes your eyes ache, stretch your legs and explore the sprawling grounds of Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s 19th century estate in Oxford, Mississippi. It was restored in 2005 and has drawn some pretty impressive visitors including John Updike, Richard Ford, Alice Walker and the Coen brothers. The gothic writer’s work literally comes out of the walls—Faulkner stenciled the outline for his prize-winning novel, A Fable, on the wall of his study and it’s still there today.
What was the best field trip you ever went on?