Ideas for Field Trips Across the United States

ideas for field trips across the United States

Across the United States, the weather is improving and spring here. Get ready to take advantage of spring (or summer) break by planning a family field trip!

There are many spring field trip ideas you can try if you’d like to go somewhere nearby, but if you want to do something special, consider going a little farther and visit a prominent museum, park, or other big landmark. Take a look at our list of field trip ideas throughout the five regions of the United States.

Field Trips in the Northeast

The Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. See the bell that has symbolized freedom in the United States for over 200 years.

Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Use the official field trip planner to organize your trip to the park’s Museum and Visitor Center, battlegrounds, and Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Explore exhibits, from Roboworld™ to the USS Requin submarine, that fit your family’s interests.

Ellis Island in New York City, New York. Take a boat ride and see the nation’s historical entryway—and the Statue of Liberty—up close.

America on Wheels in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Visit this museum to learn about the history of transportation.

Field Trips in the Southeast

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. Meet over 100,000 animals, including dolphins, sharks, and otters, as you walk through over 60 exhibits.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Take your family to this indoor attraction that features models and attractions inspired by the Lego building toys.

Jarrell Plantation Historic Site in Juliette, Georgia. See what life was like on a cotton plantation during the 1800s.

Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. Visit the Charleston harbor to see the USS Yorktown, a World War II aircraft carrier, and many other National Historic Landmark ships.

Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Plan a trip to the visitor complex to touch a moon rock, meet an astronaut, and more.

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Take a unique nature walk through Louisiana wetlands and see birds, snakes, turtles, deer, and other wild animals.

Field Trips in the Midwest

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Stop at the Freedom Center to discover the history of the Underground Railroad and learn about freedom and human rights today.

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Port of Dubuque, Iowa. Explore hands-on exhibits such as the Carver Wet Lab as well as aquariums, nearby historic sites, and wetland boardwalk trails.

WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology in Bloomington, Indiana. Discover over 50 hands-on science activities, both indoors and outdoors.

University of Wisconsin Geology Museum in Madison, Wisconsin. Check out fossils, dinosaurs, meteorites, and even a fluorescent rock and mineral display.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor Michigan. Dive into technology, engineering, science, math, and art through hands-on activities for kids.

Field Trips in the Southwest

NASA Space Center in Houston, Texas. See a full-scale model of the space shuttle and different historic spacecraft and spacesuits.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. View art galleries and displays of artifacts and memorabilia from the Wild West.

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Gaze into the canyon by visiting the South Rim, or take a hike on one of the trails.

Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona. Go on a safari to see animals from around the world living in natural habitats.

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Experience Native American art and culture by seeing pottery, weaving, and other traditional art forms.

Field Trips in the West

High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. Encounter a real bird of prey, visit the otter exhibit, and investigate the museum’s indoor exhibits.

Mesa Verde National Park in Mesa Verde, Colorado. Take a tour through cliff dwellings where the Pueblo people lived over 700 years ago.

San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California. Find your favorite animal among more than 650 species and subspecies.

Redwood Forest National Park in Crescent City, California. Go hiking, camping, bicycling, and kayaking, or simply take a scenic drive through the park.

Hoover Dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada. Take a tour of the 726.4-foot-high dam and drive across its 1,244-foot length.

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  • 5 Strategies for Teaching Empathy to Teens

    by Beth Werrell

    Two Connections Academy students

    Empathy is a quality that has come to the forefront of social and professional conversations over the last several years—and with good reason! Not only is empathy a quality that can aid adults in the workplace(opens in a new tab), but it’s also an important quality to focus on in childhood development. 

    Developing an empathetic heart and mind can help children, and especially teens, become more conscientious, self-aware, and sensitive to the needs of others, which can translate to greater ease in creating friendships, social relationships, productive conversation, and so much more. 

    Check out these insights from psychologists and other experts on how to nurture empathy in teenagers, plus five great ideas for teaching empathy to teens. 

    What Is Empathy? 

    To convey the importance of empathy for teens, it’s necessary to first understand what empathy is. According to mental health education resource Verywell Mind,(opens in a new tab) empathy is defined as “the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place.” There are different levels and expressions of empathy, but essentially it has to do with the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  

    Why Is Empathy Important? 

    Empathy is an important emotional response that has many benefits. Some of the benefits of developing empathy(opens in a new tab) for teens include: 

    • Ability to build stronger relationships with other teens and educators 
    • Increased tolerance and acceptance of others  
    • Reduced likelihood of bullying  

    In addition, adults who practice empathy are generally shown to have greater success, both personally and professionally. So, teaching empathy to teens can help equip them for a brighter future in many ways.  

    Online students learning empathy by volunteering in a garden.

    How to Teach Empathy to a Teenager 

    Here are seven tips for you to encourage the development of empathy in your household and assist you with teaching empathy to teens. Most of these are also great empathy activities for middle school students, and can help build a foundation for empathy in their formative years. 

    1. Be a positive role model. 

    One of the best ways to learn is through modeling desired practices. Do your best to model empathetic behavior in your daily life, and especially in your interactions with your teen. Give them your full attention. Ask them how they feel and ask questions about why they feel that way.   

    2. Play devil’s advocate. 

    Teenage life comes with its own set of struggles and challenges, many of which will be centered around personal relationships and disagreements. When your teen runs into a disagreement, encourage them to see the other person’s point of view, and put themselves in their shoes. Can they see where the other person may be coming from? This is a great way to discuss and implement empathy (and also a great practice for teaching empathy to middle schoolers). 

    3. Look to history for empathy-teaching moments. 

    Being a teenager offers the benefit of being able to look to difficult historical events that are not recommended for younger students. Learning about acts of injustice and social catastrophe, such as the Holocaust, can educate teens about empathy on a larger and more historically-driven scale. 

    4. Highlight lesser-told stories to encourage historical empathy. 

    Similar to observing and discussing large-scale historical events to promote empathy, another great tactic is to specifically seek out lesser-told stories of injustice and struggle that might prompt discussion on empathetic response. This allows teens to “analyze history through multiple perspectives,” and tap into the power of historical empathy(opens in a new tab).  

    5. Use art and photography for empathy-teaching moments. 

    Another unique way to encourage empathetic thinking in teens was made popular by The New York Times in their “What’s Going On in This Picture” series(opens in a new tab). This series presents a photo without a caption and prompts students and readers to make their own observations on what might be happening in the photo.  

    Other Great Resources for Instilling Empathy in Teens  

    In addition to the empathy exercises for teens mentioned above, here are some other great learning resources from Connections Academy® that can help teach compassion and empathy to students: 

    Focus on teaching your teen empathetic practices and watch their relationships, engagement with school and extracurricular activities, and self-esteem grow as a result! 

    read more