Field Trips

Field Trip

(Editor’s Note: We hope you enjoy this repost of a classic Retroland article)

Permission slip signed: check.

Sack lunch made: check.

Big yellow school bus: check.

Teachers and chaperones: check.

A good field trip could bring otherwise deadly boring classroom lessons to life, or at least provide students with an opportunity to play a little hooky. Often tied in with lesson plans, educational field trips brought us to museums, parks, nature conservatories, zoos, aquariums, the theater, even space centers and planetariums. What better ways to learn a subject than getting to see it first-hand, or at least as close up as a school budget would allow.

Of course, not all field trips were educational. Some trips were rewarded students for a good year, an impending graduation, fundraising accomplishments and other accolades. Class trips, for example, would take kids to water parks, beaches, even other cities. Some were even combined reward and educational trips – such as going to an amusement park to learn about physics. (Nothing like learning about centrifugal force on the loop-de-loop!)

Getting there was half the fun, whether you traveled by schoolbus or with parent chaperone (or if you were lucky, on a real tour bus complete with VCR… let’s hope you didn’t watch Speed!) But no matter where you went or how, field trips felt like the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to exchange the drudgery of a normal school day for an adventure in the great outdoors.

Which destinations were your favorites? Do you have a particularly fond memory of a specific field trip? Share those childhood memories with us in our comments section, as we celebrate those rare and magical days when going to school meant hitting the road with all your friends.

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6 Responses to “Field Trips”

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  1. Allie Fox says:

    Growing up in the New York City area, field trips were always a blast. As early as third grade we were taking trips to the city to Museum of Natural History, the Statue of Liberty, the Bronx Zoo and Hayden Planetarium.

    I was able to see the original tour of King Tut’s relics in the late 70s which was probably the memorable field trip I’ve ever been on.

    • Eric says:

      Growing up in Long Island, I visited all of those places you mentioned on field trips. We also took a trip every year to the Sunken Forest on Fire Island that was always fun.

      Thanks for sharing that memory!

  2. jennifer harris says:

    I went to Impressions 5 museum and then McDonalds,going to Baskin Robbins.,Cranbrook Institute Of Science.

    • I also remember Impressions 5 (I’m guessing that if you do, you’re from the Greater Flint Area in Michigan like me, or another area that has/had that museum)…wish it were still around, if it isn’t. We also went to the GM plant, Longway Planetarium, Sloan Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, a school play, Genesee County Corrections center (strange place for a field trip), etc. Lots of memories, those were the days!

  3. Dave says:

    One of the most memorable field trips I went on was when I grew up in rural southern Nevada during the late 70s and early 80s, I think the year was either 1978 or 1979, and our class plus the class behind us went on a field trip to the Rainbow Playhouse in Las Vegas for a liver performance of “The Diary Of Anne Frank”. Quite heavy subject matter for 6th and 7th graders, but I know what some of the teachers must have been thinking when they found about this play. It was definitely a very potent history lesson

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I liked field trips to get out of the classroom and because my Mom always bought me a can of Hawaiian Punch for my sack lunch. :)
    But I do remember feeling overwhelmed by all the boys from our school that misbehaved and got us yelled at constantly. When I was about 11, I witnessed a boy I had a crush on steal a necklace from the museum’s gift shop and I never liked him again after that.

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