Field Trips
Who says homeschooling has to happen at home? Most homeschoolers will tell you that they spend almost as much time out of the house as in it. Field trips are learning opportunties that offer fun ways to make every life experience a learning experience. You'll also find tips and strategies for planning, managing, and attending field trips with your homeschool support group.
Links and Items
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Community Field Trips in California
CiCi's Pizza Field Trips
CiCi's Pizza offers Lunch & Learn Field Trips for school groups. This is a hands-on workshop at CiCi's designed by teachers to help kids develop basic math skills. Students use pizza ingredients and other related items to solve problems, and in the process make and enjoy their very own pizza! They offer beginner, intermediate and advanced math level curricula.
Factory Tours
Scharffen Berger Chocolates
Visit Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, located in Berkeley, California, for a free one-hour tour of the factory.
Zoos & Wildlife
Micke Grove Zoo
Located in Lodi in San Joaquin County, Micke Grove Zoo features native animals and exotic species from all over the world, including several endangered species, such as the Chinese Alligator, the Snow Leopard and the Cotton Top Tamarin. Exhibits include the Tropical Forest Canopy with its Rodrigues Fruit Bats, Paseo Pantera – Path of the Mountain Lion and the Island Lost In Time featuring lemurs, parrots and radiated tortoises from Madagascar.
San Francisco Zoological Gardens
The San Francisco Zoo is home to over 250 species of exotic and domestic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.
Santa Ana Zoo
The Santa Ana Zoo occupies 20 acres featuring at least fifty monkeys at all times, a rain forest, endangered species, an aviary, a steam train and children's zoo right in the middle of the Orange County urban jungle. The Zoo also offers educational programs.
Aquarium of the Pacific
Experience the world’s largest and most diverse body of water at the Aquarium of the Pacific, the fifth largest U.S. aquarium and home to over 12,000 ocean animals representing over 550 species. Located in the beautiful Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, Calif., the Aquarium of the Pacific takes visitors on a journey through three regions of the Pacific Ocean, exploring the waters of Southern California/Baja, Northern Pacific and the Tropical Pacific through 18 major habitats and 31 focus exhibits.
Happy Hollow Zoo
Located in Kelley Park, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo is a peaceful, creative and safe place for children of all ages, with the main focus on "little ones" between the ages of 2-10. There are creative play areas, children's rides, hand puppet and marionette shows, special events, and birthday areas. It also gives hands on experience with many animals and the education that is needed to secure the future of endangered species. The petting zoo features llamas, goats, guinea pigs and miniature horses.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium features over 550 different species of marine life and numerous special exhibits, including the Splash Zone family exhibit. The Aquarium's website offers facts and information about sea life, including several life webcams of specific exhibits in the facility.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Set against a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps is home to more than 350 species of marine life found in waters from the cold Pacific Northwest to the warm tropical reefs of the South Pacific. Forty-six tanks range in size from a 70,000-gallon re-created kelp forest to small nursery tanks. The aquarium also features a man-made tide pool that stimulates an awareness in visitors of the fragility of San Diego's intertidal environments.
Sacramento Zoo
Learn about animals and their habitats at the Sacramento Zoo, featuring animals exhibits, educational programs, and special events.
Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo houses a collection of 1,200 animals from around the world.
Safari West
Nestled on 400 acres in the heart of California's wine country 65 miles north of San Francisco, Safari West is home for over 400 exotic mammals and birds. Not a zoo, not a drive-through park, it's a wildlife preserve where the whole family can experience some of nature's most beautiful animals in a natural habitat.
Charles Paddock Zoo
At the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascarero you will discover over 100 animals in five park-like acres. You will be able to view the animals up close in naturalistic habitats.
Steinhart Aquarium
At the Steinhart Aquarium, located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, you can view poison dart frogs, box turtles, sea horses, and clown fish in jewel tanks. Get an up-close look at sturgeon, giant sea bass, alligator snapping turtles, gars, and moray eels. Touch sea stars, bat rays, hermit crabs, at the touch tide pool. Don’t miss penguin feedings which happen every day Interact with aquatic biologists as they study, feed, and care for the animals.
Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno
Chaffee Zoological Gardens is home to the world's first computerized Reptile House, a South American Tropical Rain Forest Exhibit, and numerous animals.
Aquarium of the Bay
The Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco features two 300 feet crystal clear tunnels, 700,000 gallons of filtered Bay water and more than 23,000 aquatic animals. Also includes touch pools.
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing more than 800 species and subspecies. Newest exhibits include: Absolutely Apes, the Giant Panda Research Station, and Gorilla Tropics.
Living Desert
This 1,200 acre facility specializes in plants and animals found throughout the deserts of the world. Many exotic and endangered species can be seen in natural surroundings such as bighorn sheep, oryx, wolves, striped hyenas, thick-billed parrots, leopards and golden eagles. The ten ecosystems of the North American deserts are represented in the immersion gardens. A state-of-the-art wildlife hospital allows visitors to interact with the staff while procedures are being performed on animals. A desert children's play park, live animal shows, Discovery Room and many other features can be found in this unique zoo which sits in the middle of the Coachella Valley, just 15 miles east of Palm Springs.
San Diego Wild Animal Park
The San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is an expansive wildlife sanctuary operated by the Zoological Society of San Diego. Many of the earth's most rare creatures roam in herds and flocks in vast enclosures resembling their native homelands. It's home to more than 3,500 animals representing 429 species, including the largest crash of rhinos in any zoological facility, and one of the only California condor exhibits in the world. More than half of the acreage of the Wild Animal Park has been set aside as native species habitat. In addition, the Park maintains a native plant seed bank and extensive gardens.
Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
The Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens is located on over 30 acres overlooking East beach. In addition to over 600 animals, the Zoo offers the Gift Store, a Dentzel family enclosed carousel and two C.P. Huntington trains to complete your visit.
Oakland Zoo
The Oakland Zoo is nestled in the rolling hills of 525-acre Knowland Park. Each year thousands of families and school groups from around the Bay Area come to visit 440 native and exotic animals that live in naturalistic habitats at the Zoo.
Gibbon Conservation Center
Located in Santa Clarita, the Gibbon Conservation Center is the only facility in the world devoted exclusively to gibbons, an increasingly rare ape. GCC houses nearly 40 gibbons, among them 5 of the 13 living species. Offers educational tours.
Coyote Point Museum
The Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education in San Mateo offers a 4,000 square foot walk-through Aviary, a honeybee exhibit, river otters, and much more.
Sequoia Park Zoo
The Sequoia Park Zoo is located in Eureka and is situated on approximately 5 acres of level terrain northeast of the redwood ravines of Sequoia Park. The forest provides an impressive backdrop to the animal enclosures and blends directly into the hoofed animal paddocks. The Zoo is home for nearly one hundred animals. Admission is free.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Located in San Pedro between Point Fermin and the Port of Los Angeles, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium features a touch tank, marine animal exhibits, and special events.
SeaWorld San Diego
Located on 189.5 acres, SeaWorld San Diego offers marine animal attractions, educational performances, specialty tours, rides, and more.
Six Flags Marine World
Located in Vallejo, this commercial theme park also offers marine animal attractions and educational performances, along with rides and other attractions.
Nature Centers
Underground Adventures in California - Cavern Tours
Sierra Nevada Recreation Corporation runs five "underground adventure" locations: Black Chasm, National Natural Landmark; Boyden Cavern, California Cavern, State Historic Landmark; Moaning Cavern, and Sutter Gold Mine Tours. Guided tours are offered at each location and picnic tables provided for to enjoy their meals or snacks in the scenic beauty of the properties. Two of the locations offer challenging adventure activities: Moaning Cavern has the Rappel and Adventure Trip and California Cavern has the Mammoth Cave and Middle Earth Expeditions. In addition, we have added above ground Gemstone Mining at all of our properties in the Gold Country and free sign-posted nature trails at California Cavern and Moaning Cavern. Visitors to Black Chasm can ask for a map to take the free nature hike. Sutter Gold Mine also offers free movies in the Gold Theatre on the history of gold mining and above ground gold panning.
Field Trip Tips & Guidelines
Field Trip Guidelines
Some helpful guidelines from Home School Legal Defense Association. The guidelines could easily be adapted as a list for members of a homeschool group. There is also a helpful checklist for field trip planners.
Homeschooling Field Trips :: Planning an Adventure
Field trips make learning fun for you and your kids, and they give everyone a break from the routine of books, pencils and computers. Field trips are a wonderful way to instill the value of lifelong learning in your children, as you both experience and discover new places together. Sometimes getting out of the house for a day gives you a little inspiration, or a spark of curiosity, reaffirming just why you chose to homeschool in the first place. These ideas will help you make the most of your field trips.
Field Trip Guidelines for Homeschool Groups
This letter can be used to establish an understanding about homeschool groups when you organize a field trip.
Field Trip Planning Form
Helpful form for getting organized when planning field trips. Free and printable.
5 Steps to a Successful Field Trip
Summer is a great time for field trips. Your schedule may be a bit more flexible, making it the perfect time to head out and explore! Field trips are an excellent way to enhance the learning done during the previous school year and inspire future learning. Planning and enjoying a field trip for a group or for your own family is easy. Here is a list of ideas to make the most of every experience.
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Featured Resources

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