Whether you are looking for a family day trip idea or a class field trip, museums offer an amazing experience. Everything from art to history to science to just about everything in between can be found at museums. Looking for fun and quirky? Try the Pez Museum in Burlingame, CA. Are old, slightly-spooky homes more your thing? Take a tour of the Winchester Mystery House in nearby San Jose, CA. No matter what you are looking to find out more about, museums can be the ticket to education and fun.
Sadly, as more teachers focus on state mandated tests and curriculum, field trips to museums are dwindling. In fact, in December 2008, Elizabeth Blair reported on the decline of museum field trips on NPR. “It’s hard to quantify on a national level exactly how much the number of museum field trips is decreasing, but for many teachers, several hours at the museum is starting to feel like a luxury,” she stated.
If you are ready to take back the museum hallways, the museums that follow offer excellent educational experiences for children and adults. Some also offer memberships that entitle members to visit other museums in their network for little or no charge. Of course, some museums are publicly funded and require no admission fee at all! Check out the following museums and, if we have missed your favorite museum, leave a comment and let us know which one you recommend!
Museum Trip Ideas for the Family
The Smithsonian in Washington, DC offers the largest collection of FREE museums in the United States. With 19 museums and the National Zoo, visitors can explore everything from African Art to Natural History to the history of Air and Space Exploration. The museums are open every day of the year (except December 25th), free of charge and the hours generally range from 9am-5pm.
Located in Chicago, IL, the Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest museums in the world dedicated solely to science and industry. There are nearly 14-acres of exhibits and artifacts that beg for hands-on exploration and discovery. There is an admission fee, but for Chicago residents and group trips, the cost is discounted. There are also free museum days throughout the year. Open 364 days a year, the museum makes learning about science fun for kids and adults alike. For more information on group trips to the museum, they have established a special information page for trip planners.
Docents at the San Antonio Museum of Art are trained in bringing out the best critical and creative thinking in their visitors. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday with free General Admission on Tuesday nights from 4pm-9pm. Reasonable admission rates and an excellent and extensive collection of art pieces, make the San Antonio Museum of Art a perfect stop on your museum touring schedule.
In Fort Lauderdale, over 95,000 students visit the Museum of Science and Discovery annually on field trips. Interactive exhibits and a family-friendly setting make this one of the most visited museums in the state of Florida. They have an extensive resource page for teachers and families wanting additional information before their trip. Downloadable pages can help prepare students for their visit and get them ready to learn while having fun. The museum is open 365 days a year and offers reasonable admission prices with discounts for members and groups.
What is your favorite museum and why? Share your museum field trip favorites below!