Field Trips in Fort Worth, TX, by Kristen C

Field Trips

 

There are so many great field trip opportunities here in Fort Worth. Some are well-known and others are slightly off the beaten path. If you are a local wanting to shake up your regular school week or if you are planning on visiting our excellent city, there are some places you certainly won’t want to miss. Any of these locations could fit seamlessly into your studies, be it viewing the Assyrian and Sumerian works at the Kimbell while you are studying the Ancients, or learning about the native insects and visiting birds at the Fort Worth Nature Center for Biology. Fort Worth has something for everyone.

History & Government

National Cowgirl Museum

  • Hours: Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Price: Adults (13+) – $10.00, Children (3-12) – $8.00, Children (3 and under) – Free with adult
  • What’s Special – Along with the amazing collection of real Cowgirl clothing and amazing photography, there are plenty of things for kids to enjoy.  The highlight of your visit, though, will be riding the life sized Bronco replica.  While you ride the gently bucking bronco, a screen will be playing old style rodeo videos behind you making you feel like you are really there.  Later, you’ll be able to get a code and download a 10 second clip of your ride!

Texas Civil War Museum

  • Hours – Tuesday through Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Price – Adults (13+) – $6:00, Students (7-12) $3.00, Children (6 and under) – Free with adult
  • What’s Special – In this Texas sized museum, you’ll be able to see the largest collection of original Texas Flags in the state, as well as view a rotating collection of over 300 Victorian dresses.  If you have a large group, be sure to contact them, you can arrange for a special presentation.

U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing

  • Hours – Tuesday through Friday:  8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.  The last tour walkway entrance is at 4:30 p.m.
  • Price – Free!
  • What’s Special – Visitors to this facility can see billions of dollars printed from an enclosed walkway, which is suspended above the production floor.  Tours are self-guided and at your own pace.  Be sure to plan enough time to get through security, as this is a government building.

Log Cabin Village

  • Hours – Tuesday through Friday: 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Saturday & Sunday: 1 p.m.- 5 p.m.
    Closed Mondays
  • Price – Adults (18+) – $5.00, Children (4-17) – $4.50, Children (3 and under) – Free
  • What’s Special – The Log Cabin village is a living history museum and is entirely outdoors.  There are things to do and see at each cabin, but make sure not to miss the Seela Cabin where you are encouraged to touch and explore all of the things around the cabin.

Science & Nature

Fort Worth Zoo – 

  • Hours – Open 365 days a year, check the website for times.
  • Price – Adults (13+) – $12.00, Children (3-12) – $9.00, Children (2 and under) – Free
  • What’s Special – The Fort Worth Zoo has over 7,000 native and exotic animals so you probably won’t be able to see all of them in one visit, but you are welcome to try!  As you explore, though, don’t miss MOLA: The Museum Of Living Art.  This air-conditioned exhibit is a welcome break in the Texas Summers and houses the most amazing collection of amphibian and reptiles.  You could spend most of your day in this area alone!

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

  • Hours – Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday: Noon – 5:00 p.m.
  • Price – Adult (13+) – $15.00, Children (2-12) – $11.oo
  • What’s Special – The FW Museum is home to many permanent exhibits, but make sure to visit DinoLabs and see the State Dinosaur of Texas (the Paluxysaurus jonesi)
    and to visit the Innovation Studios where you can get hands on with experiments, art, and maybe even lay on a bed of nails!

River Legacy Science Center

  • Hours – Mondays-Saturdays, 9 am – 5 pm
  • Price – Free!
  • What’s Special – River Legacy Science Center is a small center that houses interactive environment exhibits as well as aquariums and terrariums with native wildlife.  As you explore here, though, make sure to check out the park surrounding it and if you are local, take a look at the amazing education programs they offer!

Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

  • Hours – Daily 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Price – Adults (13-64): $5.00, Children (3-12): $3.00, Children (3 and under):  Free, Seniors (65+): $3.00
  • What’s Special – The FWNC has over 2,ooo acres of wildlife and over 20 miles of hiking trails.  This is a beautiful way to see Native Texan forests, prairies, and wetlands.  Don’t miss the short hike around Greer Island, it never disappoints!  If you are local, be sure to ask about their Summer programs.

Art & Local Culture

Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District –

  • Hours: Varying
  • Price: Varying
  • What’s Special – The historic Stockyards are home to so many activities, attractions, and amazing food you just can’t pass up a chance to visit.  If you have to pick only one thing to do, though, make sure you visit during the daily Cattle Drive.  Yes, daily.  Every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. real Cowboys and Cowgirls drive the Fort Worth Herd up and back East Exchange Avenue.  The longhorns are nothing short of spectacular.

Casa Mañana –

  • Hours – Varying
  • Price – Tickets prices vary, but generally are between $10-$75
  • What’s Special – Casa Mañana provides outstanding Musicals and Children’s Theater performances year-round.  If you can only make it to one, be sure to see whatever Children’s performance they are currently performing.  Casa does excellent Broadway shows, but their Children’s Theater is unbeatable.

Amon Carter Museum of American Art –

  • Hours – Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Thursday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sunday: Noon–5 p.m.
  • Price – Free!
  • What’s Special – The Amon Carter is the perfect trip for any family that wants to view an outstanding collection of American art.   Take your time and don’t miss the Georgia O’Keefe paintings and the excellent collection of illustrated books.

Kimbell Art Museum

  • Hours – Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday:  10:00 a.m. – 5:00p.m., Friday Noon – 8 p.m., Sunday Noon – 5:00 p.m., Closed Mondays
  • Price – Adults (12+): $14.00, Children (6-11): $10.00, Children (6 and under): Free
  • What’s Special – When you want to see the truly breathtaking works of art, the Kimbell is where you visit.  Home to an impressive collection including works by Monet and Michelangelo, the Kimbell houses more than you can see in one visit.  On your way to visit the famous pieces, don’t miss the newly finished Piano Pavilion, currently housing their African, pre-Columbian, and Asian collections.   Again, if you are local, ask about their Kid & Family programs.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the above locations, please visit the websites linked in their names.  Each place has so much more to offer than can be shown here!

Kristen is a homeschooling mom of four, living deep in the heart of Texas. She loves history, 13021867383_2cf4e968cb_qrunning, and camping, and drinks more coffee than is prudent. Kristen blogs about her daily adventures trying to classically homeschool kids who would always rather be up a tree than writing anything, ever, at www.unsinkablekristen.blogspot.com

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, by Sarah R

Field Trips

 

The dinosaurs are leaving! The dinosaurs are leaving!

When we heard that, our family headed into Washington, DC to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The dinosaurs aren’t really leaving, but the Dinosaur Hall is closing at the end of April for a five-year makeover and we wanted to see the fossils before it was too late. We hope to make one more trip before they close since it is such a long renovation.

A few basics: Entrance is free since it is a Smithsonian museum. It is easy to get to, either on Metro or driving, if you go on the weekends. If you go during the week I suggest taking Metro, because parking in downtown Washington, DC can be tough to find. On Metro, get off at the Smithsonian Station on the orange line; the museum is about a two-minute walk from there. If you drive, the walk will likely be a bit longer. We drove this time and had a five- to ten-minute walk to get to the museum. The museum has a  couple of dining options, and the food there is surprisingly good, albeit expensive. There are street vendors right outside the museum with much cheaper options, but there’s no good place to sit and eat.

The museum has an IMAX theater which offers a variety of videos to see. We did not explore what movies were offered on our visit, but the website outlines a nice selection of choices. There is a butterfly pavilion that charges a small fee if you wish to go through it. You can, however, look in the windows outside for free to see some of the butterflies if preferred. They also have other activities available listed on the calendar on their website.

The museum is large, with many exhibits to explore. We spent 3 1/2 hours and did not see all of them. Since we had come specifically for the dinosaur fossils, that’s where we started.  We visited the dinosaurs, looked at the different fossils, and peeked into the FossiLab where archaeologists work on the fossils. No one was working when we were there, but the children enjoyed seeing the area where fossils are cleaned and molds of them are made.  After the dinosaur fossils, we moved on to the Ocean exhibit where the children explored and learned some ocean facts.

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From Oceans, we went into the Hall of Human Origins. My five- and seven-year-olds were interested in this area, but it was designed for older children and adults. They did look at various skeletons and exhibits showing how humans have evolved through history, and we got to see the skulls of various early humans. My five-year-old stopped to watch a video about human origins, and my seven-year-old watched a video on evolution. All three of my children enjoyed looking at the mockup of a cave wall showing examples of primitive drawings, which we had discussed earlier in the year during our history lessons. We then moved into the Mammals exhibit where my five-year-old enjoyed looking at the giraffe models.

After the Mammals exhibit, we moved upstairs to the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. We learned about earthquakes and volcanoes and then looked at different types of rocks and minerals, those that came from volcanic eruptions and others. The children had a good time playing with a large magnetic rock that is on exhibit.  They watched paper clips stick to it and saw how the metal was attracted to the rock. We then continued through the exhibit to look at the various gems and finally made our way to the Hope Diamond. My five-year-old especially enjoyed that exhibit.

We then headed to the Insect exhibit where the kids saw various types of bugs. Unfortunately the bee hive in that area was closed, but the children still enjoyed looking around. On our way out of this area, we looked through the windows of the butterfly pavilion. They enjoyed seeing the bright butterflies flying around inside the pavilion.

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At that point, the kids were tired so we headed down for a snack and then home. There was a lot to explore in the museum, and we did not see everything. We could have easily spent far longer even in the exhibits we did visit. There were many exhibits with a lot of information about the various topics. This museum would make a good full-day trip for those that have the stamina to explore the different exhibits – and even then you are unlikely to have seen everything. We really enjoyed our visit and hope to make it back at least once more before the dinosaur exhibit closes. Even without the dinosaurs, there is still much to explore at the museum. We all enjoyed learning about rocks, dinosaurs, human evolution, and insects.

Sarah–Sarah is the wife of Dan and mom to Desmond, Eloise and Sullivan (Sully).  She enjoys sarahreading,  board games, D&D, computer and console games, the Oxford comma, and organizing fun trips. Sarah and Dan decided years before they had children that they would be homeschooling and now they are. Their family has enjoyed beginning their homeschooling journey and the early elementary years. There are a lot of fun opportunities upcoming in the next year as well, including Eloise starting Kindergarten at home, numerous trips to Atlanta, and a month long trip to India. They currently reside in a suburb of Washington DC and enjoy all the local attractions available for day trips.

A Visit to the Smithsonian Air and Space Udvar Hazy Center, by Sarah R

Field Trips

 

In December we went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Udvar Hazy Center, the newer Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Virginia near Dulles Airport. We spent only four hours but could have easily taken the entire day to explore this great museum.

 A few basics to begin: Admission to the museum is free since it is a Smithsonian museum. However, parking is $15 per car, and while it is possible to take public transportation there, most people will find it easiest to drive based on the location of the museum.  There is only one food option at the museum –  McDonalds. If you bring your lunch, you may eat at the picnic tables outside the museum since outside food and drink are not allowed in the museum.

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The museum has a number of fun things to do. If you check the online calendar beforehand, they may have an event going on that day. They have storytime most weekdays and other events, as well.  On the day we visited, they had a special twenty-minute puppet show about the  Wright Brothers which all three of my children (ages 2½, 4½, and 6½) enjoyed. They also have an IMAX theater with various educational videos.  There is a fee for the theater, but they had a nice selection of videos when we went.  We did not end up watching one, but I noted two that would have been both interesting and educational for my six-year-old.  They also have simulator rides for a fee. There is a flight simulator where you can either control a plane, which is appropriate for older children, or choose from a variety of programs for the ride simulator, including a space walk.  Both my four- and six-year-olds enjoyed their simulator ride to watch repairs on the Hubble telescope.

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Desmond in front of a plane

The main part of the museum is broken into two large areas. One has all the planes and the other houses the spacecraft Discovery.  We enjoyed looking at all the different types of planes and helicopters.  We saw one of the Wright Brothers’ planes and numerous early planes, as well as newer planes and helicopters.  We also got the see the Concorde plane and were able to discuss how fast it went and how it could carry a lot more people than some of the older planes  which only held one or two people.  We also discussed the various helicopters and looked at different types, such as emergency helicopteres used to take people to the hospital.  We saw planes that could take off and land in water and discussed how different types of aircraft needed different amounts of space to take off and land.  We compared how a helicopter could land without a runway, while all planes needed a runway to get off the ground or to land.

After we finished looking at the myriad types of planes and helicopters, we moved to the space area. At an exhibit with space suits, the children were able to put on a glove from a training suit and examine the suit itself.  They learned that it takes three hours to don the suit and were able to see what astronauts wear when they are out in space.  We then continued on to the spaceship Discovery.  We looked at the Mercury capsule which let them see the difference in size between the large Discovery and the early small one-person space capsules.  We also looked at the Mobile Quarantine Facility, which is where the moon astronauts were quarantined for the first few days after their return to Earth.  We discussed what it would have been like to visit the moon and why astronauts went into space.  We also saw assorted missiles and satellites.  We looked at the replicas of the Mars Pathfinder Lander and Sojourner Rover and discussed why NASA sent a rover to Mars rather than astronauts. We learned that scientists are working on ways to one day transport people to Mars, as well.

 We had a lot of fun exploring the spacecrafts and airplanes at the museum and spent a good four hours visiting the museum before my children were done.  With older children we likely would have spent even longer at the museum.  We will definitely go back. We had a great afternoon, and my children still sing songs from the Wright Brothers puppet show even now, two months later.

Sarah–Sarah is the wife of Dan and mom to Desmond, Eloise and Sullivan (Sully).  She enjoys sarahreading,  board games, D&D, computer and console games, the Oxford comma, and organizing fun trips. Sarah and Dan decided years before they had children that they would be homeschooling and now they are. Their family has enjoyed beginning their homeschooling journey and the early elementary years. There are a lot of fun opportunities upcoming in the next year as well, including Eloise starting Kindergarten at home, numerous trips to Atlanta, and a month long trip to India. They currently reside in a suburb of Washington DC and enjoy all the local attractions available for day trips.

Beating the Heat

by Siena

It’s hot here in Roswell.

I don’t care if it’s a dry heat – 109* is hot.

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To cool off – and take a break from regular studies – we made a quick jaunt to Albuquerque.

We hit ¡explora! Children’s Museum on Friday afternoon.

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And on Saturday, we went to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

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I ask you, does that look like the face of a child who is bored with learning? I think not!

Tamra Yvonne  lives in the desert southwest where antelope play in the front yard, among the rattlers and scorpions.  She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and crochet.  She is homeschooling one son, age 12.

Summer Vacation Can Be Educational, Too!

by Emma Anne

We are currently on our summer break. This has consisted of lots of pool time, reading, sleeping in, playing outside, and field trips. This week we went to a local Science museum where the kids learned about world cultures, sea life, and dinosaurs.

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As you can see, here she is learning just how easily her head fits in the mouth of a T-Rex!

After an exciting afternoon of learning and studying our local nature, we came home and had our two hours of quiet time. This day, quiet time included napping for my mini-me, and reading Hardy Boys for my big guy.

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So that’s a typical day of summer vacation around here. Except for those days where we go to the pool, eat ice cream and run through the sprinklers. Those are fun, too. 🙂

Emma Anne has been married for 7 years, and is mom of 2, plus one once-crazy dog. She’s been homeschooling for 3 years now in NC. In addition to being a wife, mom and educator, she is also a Graphic Designer.