Unique Field Trips in the Midwest

Taking your students on field trips is an amazing experience for both you and them. Not only do they benefit from the excitement of a new and fascinating destination, but you yourself get to enjoy all that these places have to offer! And there can’t be anything better than seeing the looks of joy and curiosity on your students places and knowing that you are making a difference. Field trips are important because education does not stop at the classroom walls, and these excursions expand your students’ learning and teach them through immersive activities and interactions.

With twelve states in the region, each offering countless field trip opportunities, the midwest is a gold mine for engaging trips and activities. The following are five ideas for field trips in the midwest that your students are sure to love:

Wisconsin Dells (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
Wisconsin Dells is the Water Park Capital of the World, a great place for an end-of-the-year class trip or a fun excuse to treat your students and let loose for the day! With 28 themed parks, you’ve got more than enough to chose from, setting the tone for your trip by choosing a particular theme or visiting as many as you can fit in. Wisconsin Dells is known its variety of outdoor and indoor parks, so you can plan a field trip any time of the school year, regardless of inclement weather. There’s more to do here than go on rides: Wisconsin Dells offers a variety of museums and interactive exhibits, scenic tours and live entertainment.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, OH)
Cincinnati, Ohio, is home to one of the country’s largest and most important resources for learning about the history of slavery in America and the reality of slavery around the globe today. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is “a museum of ideas, a site of conscience, a museum of American history, a museum of African American history, an educational resource and a center for dialogue.” The center plays an active role in raising awareness for issues of injustice and inequality. Through their changing exhibits, historical artifacts and interactive learning tools, your students will learn about the history of the Underground Railroad, through which countless slaves made their way to freedom on the banks of the Ohio River, and the scourge of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Port of Dubuque, IA)
The Mississippi River is the primary course of the largest river system in North America, running for 2,530 miles from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. As such, it played a crucial role in connecting the states during the earliest days of American expansion. It has a vibrant history, and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Iowa is the largest and most important place to learn all about it. The Museum & Aquarium features numerous exhibits where your students can learn about its history and geology, and interact with some of the aquatic life of the river.

Mount Rushmore (Pennington County, SD)
Mount Rushmore is doubtlessly one of the most famous landmarks in the United States. Located in South Dakota’s majestic Black Hills, the memorial is visited by more than 3 million people each year. The timeless images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are carved into solid granite and measure 60 feet high. In addition to the memorial itself, classes can tour the surrounding hills, taking in the beautiful scenery and experiencing nature first-hand. Students can tour the Lincoln Borglum Museum, the Sculptor’s Studio and hike along the half-mile Presidential Trail. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is very welcoming of field trip groups all year long and offers important information for planning a field trip.

Shedd Aquarium (Chicago, IL)
For a time, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois, was the largest indoor aquarium in the world, and today it houses over 25,000 fish. The numerous exhibits and interactive attractions are a great way for students to learn more about aquatic life and explore through hands-on activities. The best part is that it is located in the heart of Chicago, with convenient access to many of the city’s other exciting educational attractions!