Unique Field Trips in the South

home in St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, FL via Kevin N. Murphy on flickr.com

Field trips can be a crucial part of your students’ education, playing an important role in strengthening the lessons you impart, expanding upon learning and helping apply concepts to real-life situations. Field trips open students’ eyes and show them how science, math, history, art and more are at work in every aspect of our lives.

Education should be stimulating, engaging and exciting — so just because your students have fun at a field trip, that doesn’t mean it’s not educating them in significant ways! If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to add another dimension to your teaching, consider taking your class on one of these unique adventures in the American South:

St. Augustine, FL
Founded by Spain in 1565 (42 years before the first English settlers), St. Augustine is literally the oldest city in the nation. Throughout the last 450 years, the city has maintained its rich cultural history and beauty as one of the only Spanish settlements in the country. Despite damage to some of the city’s earliest structures, much of the architecture from the 1700s onwards has been preserved. It is one of the most unique places to visit in the country, and offers students the chance to learn about the history of Spanish colonialism, as well as America’s unique roots and even the civil rights movement of the 1960s through the city’s pivotal role.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

Wright Brothers National Memorial via flickr.com

Wright Brothers National Memorial (Kill Devil Hills, NC)
Wilbur and Orville Wright taught the world to fly, and the Wright Brothers National Memorial is where they did it: a wonderfully maintained landmark that preserves the history of the first successful airplane flight in 1903. As the birthplace of modern aviation and an important part of history, the Wright Brothers National Memorial makes an exciting field trip for students of all ages. You can take your class to the Wright Brothers Visitor Center, which displays various exhibits that chronicle the life and career of the Wright Brothers, as well as the development of their first flying machines. The Centennial Pavilion chronicles the evolution of aviation, and the Flight Line commemorates the take off of the first successful flight.

South Carolina State Museum (Columbia, SC)
The South Carolina State Museum is one of the best state museums in the country and is the center of historic and cultural explorations of South Carolina. The museum itself is housed in the historic 1893 Columbia Mill textile building, and with over 70,000 artifacts spanning four floors, it offers an incredibly diverse range of southern art, natural history, science and cultural exhibits. This is a must-see for any class that is learning more about its southern culture and heritage.

Okolona Historic District (Okolona, MS)
The Okolona Historic District is representative of an important part of Mississippi’s development as a state, offering a candid look into the history of commerce in the south. Here, students can tour buildings that have survived since 1850, see the historic Mobile and Ohio Railroad and learn about the history of the Civil War, during which a famous battle took place in Okolona.

Marietta Historic District (Marietta, GA)
Marietta is another southern town that has preserved its historic charm and cultural resources. The Marietta Historic District in Georgia is a great place to take your students to learn more about the Civil War. You can take them to visit such historic sites as the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, the Marietta Confederate Cemetery and the Marietta National Cemetery. There are a variety of museums as well, which host “ghost tours,” concerts and events. Your students can also take in the ambiance of a historic town: the parks, the buildings, the centers of commerce. Incidentally, the White Water Six Flags park is also just outside of the town(!).