With so many families now schooling at home for various reasons, field trips can be taken in the family vehicle rather than a school bus. One of the best ways to learn about history, science, and nature is to experience them through museums, historic sites, science centers, and national parks.
To help families bring their children’s curriculums to life, here are 10 educational sites to visit with kids for your next family road trip.
1. U.S. Space & Rocket Center
This one is for all the kids who wanted (or still want) to become astronauts when they grow up. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the largest spaceflight museum in the world. It showcases everything from America’s first satellite, Explorer I, to next generation space vehicles like Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser.
While this historical Huntsville site houses more than 1,500 space-themed artifacts, it also allows your kids to experience the physics of astronaut training with the Moon Shot and G-Force simulators. If your child can’t get enough, consider enrolling them in the infamous, week-long Space Camp.
2. Yellowstone National Park
Sure, Yellowstone National Park is jaw-droppingly beautiful. But did you know this scenic park holds a special place in history? Not only is it the first national park in the United States and the second oldest in the world, but its founding helped launch our National Park Service.
Established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, Yellowstone is located between the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It is most famous for its geysers and hot springs; particularly the iconic Old Faithful. See animals in their natural habitat and embark on some of the best hiking trails in the country.
3. Gettysburg National Military Park
Gettysburg National Military Park is the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most crucial battles of the American Civil War, which took place over three days in early July 1863.
From April through October, living history demonstrations take place throughout the park every weekend so you and your kids can see the past come to life. Explore battlefield camps, interact with historians, and watch reenactments of the two armies that waged war across these historic fields.
4. The Freedom Trail
This 2.5-mile route links together 16 historical sites that lead visitors through Boston’s 200+ year history. Take a walk back in time and learn about the American Revolutionary War, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party. You’ll see sites like the Boston Common (the oldest city park in the U.S.), Paul Revere’s house, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the USS Constitution Museum.
5. Pearl Harbor
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial commemorates one of the most pivotal moments in U.S. history. On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. Naval base Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, essentially ushering the U.S. into World War II. Visit two exhibit galleries, watch a documentary film at the onsite theater, peruse the bookstore, and more.
6. Colonial Williamsburg
From 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg, Virginia was the thriving center of the American colonies. Take a stroll back into the 18th century, past blacksmith shops, apothecaries, brickyards, carpenter yards, colonial yards, and other historic sites. You’ll meet men and women dressed in 18th-century costumes, ready to tell you about life in the 1700s. With ghost tours, art museums, and countless sites to explore, you may want to spend a whole weekend in this historic city.
7. Alcatraz Island
Located just a short ferry ride from San Francisco, Alcatraz Island is a designated National Historic Landmark that was a Civil War fortress, infamous federal prison, bird sanctuary, the first lighthouse on the West Coast, and the birthplace of the American Indian Red Power movement. Alcatraz is best known for housing some of the world’s most infamous criminals, including Al Capone and Whitey Bulger. It closed in 1963 due to high maintenance costs and a poor reputation, but it can still be visited today.
8. Dinosaur Valley State Park
If your child’s favorite movie is Jurassic Park, they’ll love this fascinating site. Located about an hour and a half drive from Dallas, Dinosaur Valley State Park is famous for the actual dinosaur footprints in the Paluxy riverbed where the first sauropod trackways were discovered. You can literally step where dinosaurs trod. With 20 miles of trails, rivers and creeks to swim, and guided horseback tours, your child will have fun learning about their favorite prehistoric animals.
9. National Mall
You won’t find a Macy’s or Dillard’s at this mall. Instead, the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is a collection of public lands that has been around for more than 200 years. The first building to be constructed in the Mall was the White House in 1800, followed by the U.S. Capitol in 1829. The following couple centuries brought the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Air and Space Museum, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. As America’s most-visited national park, it’s a must-see for tourists visiting the nation’s capital.
10. The Alamo
The Alamo, an abandoned fort in the city that is now San Antonio, was the site of a 13-day battle between the Republic of Texas and Mexico in 1836. Before this 300-year-old fortress was occupied during the Battle of the Alamo, it was a home to Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. The Alamo is Texas’ most visited historic landmark and regularly features living history demonstrations and commemoration events.
Source: GOGO Charters, gogocharters.com.