Library – This is the kind of educational field trip you can take every single week, or even multiple times a week. Most public libraries these days have many more options than just books – there are educational video games, puzzles, story time readings, all of which will fascinate the kids time and time again. And then there are all the books. Don’t underestimate the power of sheer volume, kids become entranced by HOW MANY books there are, and will spend hours digging through them trying to find the right one. The point is, don’t wait until they are old enough to read to start taking them to the library, start as soon as they are old enough to see and hear.
City Hall – Teach your child about politics by visiting your local county seat. Visit the court house and tour it, poke into the court chambers, and explore the grounds.
Planetarium – Going to the movie theatre can only be considered educational if you’re going to see a documentary. Beyond that, it’s all mental garbage. However, a planetarium is a different kind of theatre, and it will dazzle youngsters will teaching them about space, and Earth.Using a unique projector, a planetarium shows night skies, and educational films, played out over the dome ceiling. It is a unique experience, and aside from the occasional Lazer Pink Floyd or Lazer Zepplin light show, you can depend on a planetarium to always be showing something smart.
Zoo – Petting zoo, teaching zoo, full-blown zoo, it makes no difference, if you give kids the chance to gawk at animals up close, they will love you for it. Most zoos will have guided tours, which are always fun, and will also have plaques identifying most of the animals, which means you can talk about them with the kids without having to do any homework. A zoo will teach your kids about different types of wild life, their habitats, and their connection to the environment.
Farm – The animals aren’t nearly as exotic here as at the zoo, but most areas have some farms within driving distance. And animals are always a winner, even if they are cows and pigs. Putting animals aside, a farm has a lot to teach a child, from the machines they use to plant and harvest to the buildings and barns, to the land itself. It’s the perfect place to teach your children about food and where it all comes from. You can even follow it up with a trip to the grocery store for a “before and after” lesson.
Aquarium – These are harder to find, but everything great about a zoo is even greater at the aquarium. The huge tanks are soothing, the sea life colorful and perfect for capturing young imaginations. Other benefits for the parents include not being out in the sun, and not having that zoo smell.
Did I miss any of your favorites? Please leave a comment and let me know!