Field trips with just the fam or with friends are great! I’m going to mention Oregon trips and you can translate it for your state. At the end of the blog, I’ll add a couple of tips and links to help you.
We joined the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) which also gave us entrance into several children’s museums around the states (we have family in several states). We also joined the Newport Aquarium and the Oregon Zoo. It was costly so to make it worth the outlay of cash, we went to one or more of these places monthly or several times a month. So what’s the big deal about frequenting museums and such? How about the learning that goes on? The first time we went to OMSI, the kids went skedaddling everywhere, every room. By the third time, my kids sat in one room (very large hands-on rooms) and read the information, worked at all the stations, figured things out. It was interesting to me when a child on a field trip told my son to move and when he didn’t because he was taking the electronic quiz on something, the boy and his friends rushed away to touch another button and move quickly to the buttons that had the most lights flash on. My other child went carefully through an exhibit which was a house built for access and had wheelchairs for the kids to try to make their way around...compared to the kids on the field trip who rushed through and then went to find the next button to push.
I’m glad the school children had an opportunity to go to OMSI. My children rushed all over their first time, too. But now they were taking their time in one place, getting a little more in-depth information. One more little advantage of being a member: we arrived in the OMSI parking lot for a visit only to see numerous school buses. We turned around and went to a nearby children’s museum where it wasn’t crowded. After that I figured it was best to arrive at OMSI right before 1 or 2 pm while all the school children were getting ready to leave. As a member I had that option. The other memberships we purchased also furthered the education.
With all that being said, I noticed that memberships are much more expensive now. Maybe you’d be able to pick up one that best suits your family’s needs.
Not everything costs. We toured nearby spots of Oregon. We hiked at Silver Falls State Park behind several waterfalls. We went to the coast: in Newport and visited the lighthouse; Lincoln City where we love to walk the beach at Roads End, two miles to the cliffs and back; and Pacific City at Cape Kiwanda with its 240 ft high sand dune. It doesn’t cost a thing to go to the observation deck of the State Capitol, you just have to be able to climb 121 steps and it’s primarily open mid-June to late September. Then there’s Baskett Slough, Minto Brown Island, McMinnville downtown, Marys Peak. Been to Mt. Hood? We haven’t (gasp; talk about the elephant in the room and we haven’t gone) but we did step into Washington to go see Mt. St. Helen’s, with smoke streaming gently above it. Anyway, you get the idea. There are no- and low-cost things to see and do. I like to check out Travel Oregon on a regular basis.
And if you’re not from Oregon, you can still find marvelous places to go in your area. Many activities and places to go can be found on tourism websites. Search on the internet with something like “Travel [State]. For instance there’s a Travel Texas website. The tourism website for Arizona is Visit Arizona. I love to search by cities, too. I might try “Things to do in [city, state]” or “Things to do with kids in [city, state].” You’ll get a lot of links for either search parameters and I try not to overwhelm myself so I’ll choose one or two that have something like “15 best things to do in [city, state].” If you want something a little more unique, add unique to your search, e.g. “Unique places to visit in [state]. Oh my goodness. Look what I just found by adding unique - The Atlas Obscura Guide to Oregon: 147 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Oregon. YES! I’ll be homeschooling me and my husband with this list. I’m linking the Atlas Obscura so you can find your own state.
There are probably hiking, biking and other traveling books that are available for your area. And check out your own city. My little ol’ city has murals and butterfly wings on numerous walls. One of the walls was a community painted mural, led by Wall Together Now (I just met the artists last week at a library function). Oh! I forgot to mention libraries. The ones in our areas have events that are great to attend and usually free. We’ve been to painting, storytelling, and performance events. The summer performances are incredible. One we attended last year, even though we’re not children, is a Taiko Drumming group. Be informed by getting on emailing lists or on Facebook groups such as for your library or several libraries in your area; art associations (we’ve attended three or four free workshops for adults and for children); and your city’s visitor’s association.
Is there something that you want to do but it’s only affordable as a group? Then plan it. Get someone to help you if needed. One year, I planned a Schools on Trains trip from Portland to Seattle where our homeschool group stayed for the day and then came on back in the evening. Someone else in the group found out how many was needed for a group price to go to the observation deck of the Space Needle -- $5! We grabbed that opportunity. I’m afraid the Schools on Trains trip has doubled in price since we went but, hey, there’s no harm looking into it for something like that around your area.
Tip: if money is involved and you’re the organizer, get the money 1-2 weeks in advance of your deadline. Sometimes you have to get a headcount before the money is actually due and someone will put their name on the list but not get the money in your hand. Those who honestly wanted to go, got their money to me right away or at least by the deadline. I hate being hardnosed but you need to in this case.
And if your family loves to travel here’s an article about must-see attractions in every state.
If you have some great links for your state or area, please leave them in the comments below.