Classroom learning is a vital part of the education process, and teachers do a wonderful job of bringing hands-on experiences into their schools. But there’s nothing quite like getting out of the classroom and into the wider world!
School field trips help to put lessons into context and expand students’ horizons. They can give lower-income students a chance to have experiences that may not otherwise be open to them. And they can introduce students to technology, history, and nature that just can’t be replicated within the school’s walls.
We’re big fans of field trips around here, whether they’re for traditional classrooms or groups of homeschooled kiddos. Here are 10 of the best field trips in the Austin area that will blow your students’ minds!
Have a Cow at Barton Hill Farms
A trip to Barton Hill Farms is part education, part play, and all fun. On our working farm, we discuss concepts like pollination, healthy nutrition, and where our food comes from. Students will get close to real farm animals, including sheep, goats, cows, and pigs. Depending on your schedule, they may also get some free time for swinging, sliding, climbing, and doing what kids do best—being kids.
We think it’s important to learn about the science and technology that make modern farming possible. Plus, we want young people to be aware of sustainable eating and farming methods. Farm activities and lessons are tailored for 1st through 4th graders, and field trip days are closed to the public. Homeschool groups are welcome!
Explore Inner Space Caverns
Georgetown’s Inner Space Caverns lurked underfoot for millions of years until the Texas Highway Department stumbled across them in 1963. Since then, these caves have been visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Hour-long school tours lead students through paved and lit trails, through some of the most exciting rooms. Tours can be customized based on student ages, and explore topics like paleontology, geology, history, and biology.
Discover the Natural World at the Austin Nature & Science Center
The Austin Nature & Science Center offers educational programs both on-site and in schools. Their educators guide students through hands-on lessons on arthropods, astronomy, birds, and the food chain to shed light on the complexities of the natural world.
The ANSC also holds special homeschool programs, including monthly meetups and the Homeschool Science Club, to help students make friends while they learn.
Go Wild at Austin Zoo
The Austin Zoo is a rescue zoo with an array of animals that have been saved from inhumane situations, laboratories, and simply retired from other facilities. As a nonprofit organization, the zoo counts on visitors and donations to continue rescuing animals in need.
Field trips allow classrooms to do self-guided tours through the zoo, exploring the exotic cats, primates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, Texas wildlife, and farm animals in their collection. Learn about conservation and rehabilitation while face-to-face with these wonderful animals.
Learn the Story of Texas at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
A school field trip to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum takes Texas history out of the textbook and into real life. Three floors of exhibits include the story of Texas from prehistory through the 19th century and into today.
Students can also watch an educational film at the Bullock IMAX theater, the largest screen in Texas.
Light Up Imaginations at Thinkery
Austin’s beloved children’s science museum makes a fun STEM-filled field trip. Pre-K through 5th-grade students will enjoy roaming free through the museum’s exhibits, playing and learning about simple machines, circuits, weather, light and shadow, and more.
Admire the Colorado River on a Redbud Field Trip
At the Wilkerson Center for Colorado River Education, students learn to appreciate the crucial Colorado. As a source of drinking water, an important part of Texas’ history, and a vibrant habitat, the Colorado has been key to the growth of Texas.
The Wilkerson Center is a 5-acre outdoor exhibit space, located on the banks of the river in West Austin. Docents guide 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students through lessons in conservation, the water cycle, and watersheds.
Enjoy a Student Matinee at The Paramount Theatre
Take kids to a day at the theatre at the historic Paramount Theatre on Congress Avenue. The venue hosts kid-appropriate plays, musicals, magic acts, and more at mid-morning and early afternoon showtimes. The theatre also offers pre-show workshops at your school to get students engaged in drama, acting, and body movement.
Smell the Roses at the Zilker Botanical Garden
Preschool through high school students will enjoy a stroll through the Zilker Botanical Garden in Zilker Park. Tours can be either self-guided or led by educated docents who know the gardens inside and out, from the plant life to the history of each individual garden area.
It’s a beautiful way to get closer to the unique flora of Central Texas. Gardens include the Taniguchi Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and Hartman Prehistoric Garden complete with dinosaur tracks.
Note: Docent-led tours are on hiatus due to COVID-19, but will be back soon!
Tour the Texas State Capitol
Support classroom lessons about Texas state history with a trip to the State Capitol building. Guided tours differ based on the grade level, with students from kindergarten through high school all finding something interesting to see in architecture, statues, and art. Students can also complete a scavenger hunt where they’ll have to identify historical markers throughout the Capitol Grounds.
Now Is The Time to Plan Spring Field Trips!
Many of these trips and tours book up weeks in advance, so now is the time to book! Contact us to discuss availability for spring field trips. And make sure to sign up for our email newsletter, where we’ll announce upcoming field trip days!