20 of the Best History Field Trips We've Been On

Most kids aren't real big fans of history.  They aren't that interested in the names and dates and dry facts that are often taught.

I have tried to teach history to my kids in ways that are fun and meaningful.  The easiest way to get them excited about history is to take them on field trips.

 When learning about slavery and the civil rights movement we acted as slaves on the underground railroad running from room to room and hiding under beds without making a sound listening for the footsteps of "master."

In addition to reading really interesting storybooks and watching both non-fiction and even some fictional movies with them we learn a lot of history from field trips.

I'm always on the search for new places to take the kids and thought I'd compile a list of places we've been where we've learned about history and a short summary about each place.  I've included links to each destination's webpage so you can look into these field trips for your family but I also included a link to each of the blog posts I wrote back when we went there.  

Hope you enjoy and please feel free to leave me suggestion ideas of other places to learn more about history.

1.  Mystic Seaport--In Seaport on Sunday's post I wrote about our trip there during their educator weekend.  We had a great time.  Alec got called to do some blacksmithing, he also tried his hand at harpooning (just throwing the harpoon not actually killing an animal or anything with it), & they all had fun touring the boats.  All three boys enjoyed learning about life in a seaside town during colonial times very much.

2. Mark Twain House-- We went on a homeschool field trip to Samuel Clements home in Hartford, Ct.  We got to tour the home and learn all about this historical figure.  We saw many antiques and even saw an old page compositer.  It was a lot of fun.  You can read about it here. 

3. Old Sturbridge Village-- We've been a few times and each time my kids have learned something new about colonial times.  Our first trip they had fun making tin candle holders, using a spinning wheel and pumping water from the well.  When we went for their homeschooling day we signed up for one of their special classroom programs, got to see the blacksmith at work, saw the sawmill up and running, and watched musket demonstrations. 

4. Nautilus Museum-- We had such a great day learning about the navel history of our state.  We toured a submarine, learned about sonar, torpedoes & their advancements, and so much more.  Here is a link to a summary of our trip. 

5. The Higgins Armory Museum (now closed!)-- Another place we've visited a few times, my kids just loved trying on the armor and building castles with blocks.  We watched videos and learned about everything from samurai warriors to vikings to knights.  Many pieces from the collection are now on display at the Worcester Art Museum.   

6. Dinosaur State Park-- We learned about fossils and dinosaurs on our trip to Dinosaur State park.  I honestly expected at least one my boys to go through a dinosaur phase but not one of them ever did.  This was a fun way to introduce them to the topic and to gauge their interest on learning even more.  You can read a short summary of our trip here

7. Gillette Castle-- While not directly related to American or World history events Gillette's Castle is the historical home of William Gillette.  The boys still talk about the tour of his house that we took and some of the neat inventions he made. That must mean it was a good field trip since we went three years ago! Here is a link to our blog post on it.  

8.  Medieval Times-- A dinner show we've been to twice now in Orlando, Florida (though they have locations all around the United States). Complete with a small village to walk through this was a really fun way to learn a bit more about medieval times.  The kids may not love the food, but they really enjoyed the jousting, watching the falconer and it was the perfect compliment to our Knights & Castles unit!  Our first trip & Our last trip

9.  Prudence Crandall Museum-- learning about the first school set up for women in Connecticut that allowed African American students to attend too.  

10.  Ecotarium-- Though I usually consider the Ecotarium more of a science museum, sometimes their content leads themselves nicely to a history lesson.  Like this time when we got to learn about dinosaurs.  Another time they had games set up and we learned about the history of games played all over the world. 

11.  The Children's museum of West Hartford-- With all of it's changing exhibits I can't always call this a history trip but we did go this one time when they had an exhibit about Ancient Egypt and we had such a great time learning about pharaoh's, King Tut, and pyramids.  

12. Natural History Museum of Providence--  We had a great time exploring this small (but packed) museum.  They have a wonderful scavenger hunt for the kids to participate in.  We saw Greek statues, a Korean bell, and the tribes of Oceania.  We also learned about many changes in the Earth over time.  The kids all got to pick a prize for finishing up the scavenger hunt too.  You can read all about it here

13. Mystic Aquarium-- While I would normally consider any aquarium to be a science field trip Mystic had a Titanic exhibit set up for quite some time and my boys just loved learning all about the Titanic. 

14. Mashentucket Pequot Museum-- We had a great day here learning all about the ice age, glaciers, extinct animals, life on a native american reservation, and all the tools Native Americans used.  There were lots of videos, interactive components and it was a lot of fun. 

15.  King Richard's Faire-- My kids had never been to a renaissance fair and we thought it would be a great way to make the past come alive for them.  We decided to bring them last fall and they had a great time.  We saw sword swallowers, watched jugglers, candle makers, glass blowers, and blacksmiths at work.  They watched animal shows and got to try their hand at archery and throwing stars.   Here  is the post I wrote about our trip.  

16.  Universal Studios-- OK, maybe I'm reaching here but we did spend a long time in the Jurrasic Park area learning all about dinosaurs.  They played quiz show games about dinosaur facts, saw dinosaur & dinosaur fossil replicas, and even got to hold a fake dinosaur egg.  It wasn't a huge portion of our day and we didn't intend for it to be a history lesson but it was. 

17.  The United States Army Heritage and Education Center-- We had an amazing impromptu stop on our way home from Tennessee to check out this amazing history museum.  We learned all about the evolution of tanks, helicopters, and military strategy throughout history starting way back during the American Revolution all the way through the Gulf War.  The boys did not want to stop... but once we arrived and explored for a bit they didn't want to leave!  Here is a summary of our day. 

18. The Athena Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee-- This was the highlight of the trip for my younger two Percy Jackson fanatics.  Knowing they were stopping to see the same building and statue that was used in the making of the movie just made their day.  While there we learned a lot about Greek Mythology and the history of Nashville, TN as well as the world fairs.  

19.  The New England Air Museum-- While here we learned all about the history of planes, the various wars that the United States has been involved in.  We learned about the history of the space program, Amelia Earhart & her trip, got to see one of the oldest hot air balloons baskets, and learned about the Hindenburg; just to name a few things!  The museum is another one that had a fun scavenger hunt set up for  the kids to participate in that helped keep them engage and encouraged them to read many of the signs about the bigger (more important) exhibits.   

20. The Connecticut Science Center-- This trip we learned a little history to go along with all the science.  They had a large Egypt exhibit so we learned even more about mummies, ancient Egypt, pyramids and the like. 

    Places still on our list that we hope to visit soon:
    • Plymouth Plantation, Plymouth Rock, & Mayflower II 
    • Battleship Cove
    • The Freedom Trail in Boston
    • Old Ironsides & USS Constitution 
    • Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, RI
    • The Newport Mansions
    • When we study the Salem witch trials I want to bring them to Salem, Mass. 

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      1. What wonderful field trips! :) Those memories will last a lifetime! Field trips have been a huge thing for us, especially when we had to travel for surgeries for one son.. we turned it into a giant field trip... :)

        1. We used to do that too! I had one son who had to have a few MRI's and EEG's in Boston so we took in a new museum or sight each time we went.

      2. This had me doing a bit of a double take. I have blog posts about Mystic Aquarium, Gillette's castle, The Pequot museum and Medieval Times in orlando also. Plymouth is a great little town, I highly recommend spending some time there. I've also heard great things about a few of Boston's museums but haven't made it to them yet. We went to the one in West Hartford a few months ago #fridayfriviolity

        1. I spent quite a bit of time in Plymouth when I was younger; my grandfather traced our ancestry back to the Mayflower and I can remember attending tons of Mayflower society events with him. Plus we vacationed on the cape each year. It is a wonderful area.


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