On Tuesday, our two daughters and I joined a field trip to Bee City Honeybee Farm, Petting Zoo, and Nature Center. I visited the farm several years ago with our older daughter and was excited about going back.
We had a wonderful time learning about bees and honey, petting and feeding animals, walking through the nature center, and exploring the children’s garden.
After going on field trips as a child myself, later as a teacher, and now as a parent, I’ve figured out seven keys that help make these outings successful.
1. Look for interactive features. You don’t get much more interactive than feeding monkeys, llamas, goats, and ponies! The girls also got to fill their own bottles of honey, pour beeswax into molds, water flowers in the children’s garden, and walk through a small fun house.
|Feeding the llamas and alpacas
2. Ensure that the activities and information are age- appropriate. This can be difficult when your children are different ages, but try to find at least a few activities in which everyone will enjoy participating.
|The girls used water pumps to race rubber ducks
3. Food is important. Either pack snacks and/or lunch or be prepared to buy food. Most places have a website so you can research ahead of time to see what food is available as well as the cost.
4. Highlight the educational value. While field trips are about having fun, it’s nice if you learn something in the process.
|Our ten-year-old was the only one brave enough to touch the snake!
5. Allow freedom to move from one activity to another. We had a set time to be in the farm’s classroom for a learning session, but outside of that, we were free to roam the attractions at our own pace.
|Pouring beeswax into molds
6. Try to determine in advance how much time will be involved. Bee City is a 50 minute drive from our home, so I wanted to be sure the drive was worth it!
7. Decide how to handle the gift shop ahead of time. I knew that the gift shop had small, reasonably-priced items, so I allowed the girls to take some of their own money to spend if they wished. At other times, we have avoided gift shops all together.
A final key is having beautiful weather like we had on Tuesday, but I’m afraid we can’t control that one!
What’s a favorite field trip you’ve taken with your kids?
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