The school year is in full swing. Now that your curriculum is set and prepared, how do you really get your kids the “hands on” experience that really makes them retain what they have learned? That’s right! It’s field trip time!
Science field trips are often hard to find that are age appropriate. However, in Texas, there are several options for middle school aged science field trips. No matter the area of study, whether it is biology or astronomy, Houston has it. Let’s take a quick tour of the great places you can take your class this year.
Natural Bridge Caverns (www.naturalbridgecaverns.com)
26495 Natural Bridge Cavern Road
Natural Bridge Caverns, TX 78266
Pricing: On-line form to fill out for school rates (http://www.naturalbridgecaverns.com/schoolTour.aspx)
Explore the largest caverns in Texas at the Natural bridge Caverns. An awe-inspiring experience, the Natural Bridge Caverns take you underground to explore ancient rock formations created by underground aquifers, rain, and a little time. Students can mine for their own artifacts and arrowheads, explore the caverns, or for those who want to get down and dirty, adventure tours where the students can explore undeveloped caverns, climb and repel from formations.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (www.fossilrim.org)
2155 CR 2008
Glen Rose ,TX 76043
Pricing: $20 per child with a free adult/teacher for every 5 kids. Optional picnic lunch $6.50/person
There are special tours just for field trips. This price includes: a 45 minute tour of the Giraffe Pasture where kids can see and sometimes feed giraffes. Kids can also see zebras, many species of deer, oryx, and turkeys. An additional program is offered with this price that you can choose. These choices include arthropod examination, animal explorations, or a hands-on animal capture program. Nearby is also Dinosaur Valley State Park. Information about the park can be found at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/dinosaur_valley/
Aquarena Center San Marcos (http://www.aquarena.txstate.edu/)
921 Aquarena Springs Dr.
San Marcos, TX 78666
Pricing: Depends on package, starts at $4 for students/$6 for adults (one free adult for every 15 students)
Having taken this field trip when I was in the eighth grade, I can personally vouch for this one. It is AWESOME!! The price is for the glass bottom boat rides, which takes you through the San Marcos Springs. Price and tour can be adjusted by how long you spend on the tour and how much and what you want your students to learn. (30 minutes to 2 hours) For a more in depth information on each tour go to : //www.aquarena.txstate.edu/Educational-Tours/Elementary-through-Middle.html. There are also several free options at Aquarena Center, including, aquarium, wetlands walk and Texas Rivers Center.
There are over a hundred zoos and science centers across Texas. The Houston Museum District alone has several options, including the Natural Science Museum (www.hmns.org), The Health and Medical Science Museum (www.thehealthmuseum.org) and the Houston Zoo (www.houstonzoo.org)
For other options in the Texas area or in other states, go to www.classtrips.com