Class trips can enrich curricula by giving students hands-on experiences and opportunities for exploration. Need some ideas? Here are some destinations across the state that will surely offer a meaningful opportunity for you and your students. Call or visit websites for pricing and more information:
Hudson River Maritime Museum
Models, artifacts, photographs, and paintings tell the tales of a bygone era when the Hudson teemed with commercial activity and vessels. One exhibit, Destination Catskill Mountains, is a multimedia profile of a family's journey from the docks of New York City to the resorts of the Catskills via boat and railroad.
An outdoor exhibit area features the 1898 steam tug Mathilda, as well as a 100-year-old shad boat, a lifeboat from the steamboat Mary Powell, and other relics of river life.
A school program for all grade levels includes a guided Museum Tour plus a trip to the Rondout Lighthouse.
See, touch, hear and understand life in 19th century America, with over a quarter of a million objects on display in more than 25 exhibitions and demonstration buildings.
The 17-acre site includes a weave shop, dress emporium, cobbler shop, blacksmith, broom maker, pharmacy, general store, barber shop and school house, and farm animals at the barn.
As a non-profit educational institution, Museum Village offers several school programs for grades 1 through 6. Hands-on workshops (grades 2-6) are offered in cooking, stenciling, candlemaking, printing, natural dyeing and spinning (wool, that is). Each class does two one-hour workshops. The Sampler (grades 2-6) program combines a workshop with a self-guided village tour.
On The Road (grades 1 and up) is an outreach program that gives groups a choice of hands-on activities in either buttermaking, spinning or behind the scenes at Museum Village. Most programs last about an hour (not including a tour), with a minimum of 15 and maximum of 30 students.
Albany Aqua Ducks & Trolleys
Albany Aqua Ducks offers affordable educational field trips that are developed by educators with an emphasis on curriculum appropriateness based on the group's age. Each field trip combines a marine component with science- or social studies-related themes.
The land tour includes major educational and historical sights of New York's capital city — the Governor's Mansion, the New York State Capitol, Albany City Hall, the New York State Museum and more.
The Hudson River tour includes sights of the USS Slater, the former Delaware & Hudson Railroad headquarters (now home to SUNY Central).
Can't leave the classroom? Not to worry. Henry Hudson re-enactors are available to come to your school.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
The Library's free education program, presented by a New York State certified teacher or the Library's Education Specialist, is both document- and curriculum-based.
The center's facilities include three classrooms for interactive and hands-on activities. The Wallace Center contains orientation exhibits and an introductory film.
Contact the FDR Library for directions, reservations for both Presidential Library and National Park Service educational programs, additional information, or to arrange a complimentary teacher's pre-visit admission pass.
Corning Museum of Glass
The education department offers guided tours and special programs for students of all grade levels. School tour options include developmentally appropriate curriculum-based activities related to art, history and science. Tours are designed to meet select New York State Learning Standards and promote individual discovery and team problem-solving.
The maximum number of students for a school group is 100.
The National Women's Hall of Fame
In 1969, a group of women and men of Seneca Falls created the National Women's Hall of Fame, believing that the contribution of American women deserved a permanent home in the small village where it all began.
The Hall is a shrine to some of the greatest women in the history of this country and a tribute that grows annually with each induction ceremony.
Letchworth State Park
Renowned as the "Grand Canyon of the East," this is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs as high as 600 feet in some places. Hikers can choose among 66 miles of hiking trails. Letchworth offers nature, history and performing arts programs, guided walks, tours and a summer lecture series.
Maple Ridge Wind Farm
Tug Hill region
Lewis County is home to the biggest wind farm east of the Mississippi. Stretched over 12 miles, the Maple Ridge Wind Farm has 195 wind turbines, each about the size of a 40-story building. The wind turbines spin at a speed of 14 miles an hour, and stand at 390 feet tall from base to blade tip.
Making use of the winds that blow off Lake Ontario, the wind farm became fully operational in June 2006 and provides an annual supply of electricity equal to the needs of 160,000 homes. The American Wind Association says that one megawatt of wind-generated power offsets so much carbon dioxide in the air that it's the equivalent of about one square mile of new forest. The land is leased from farmers, the local school and other residents and businesses. Wind tours are available by contacting the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, Lowville, 315-376-2213.
For a generation this remote post on Lake Champlain guarded the narrow water highway connecting New France with Britain's American colonies. The nation that controlled Ticonderoga controlled America and the struggle to keep or capture Ticonderoga resulted in one of the bloodiest battles in American history. During the American Revolution, Fort Ticonderoga was the scene of America's first victory in its struggle for independence.
Today, Fort Ticonderoga educates people from all nations on the events that took place here that changed the course of world history. Exhibits, interpretive programs and seminars are offered.
Students can learn about geology, natural history and earth science. They can learn learn first-hand the effects of geologic evolution, understand the power of time and water, and gain valuable perspective in the process. Advance reservations are required for all groups.
Buffalo Zoo, Distance Learning Programs
Distance learning programs offer a unique opportunity for students to see live interactive footage of exhibits, animals, and staff at the Buffalo Zoo without leaving their classrooms.
The 45-minute programs are interactive, multimedia and employ the use of live animals and live exhibit footage as needed. They are designed to help students fulfill national and New York State Learning Standards.
Program offerings include Habitat Explorers, SENSE-sational Animals, Behavior Basics, Animal Enrichment, Rainforest Experience, Gorilla Quest and more. Students can prepare questions ahead of time and are able to "interview" zoo staff in the Q&A program.
The Farmers' Museum
888-547-1450, ext. 410 or 607-547-1410
Teachers and students can spend time with the exhibits, demonstrations and interpretations that matter most to them. The Farmers' Museum includes The Country Fair, The Empire State Carousel and the Historic Village. The Fenimore Art Museum includes all of its permanent and special exhibits, the Mohawk Barkhouse and the Seneca Log House.
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium
Cold Spring Harbor
The facility houses New York state's largest collection of native freshwater fish, reptiles, and amphibians. It offers 40 aquariums with more than 60 species of New York freshwater fish, an outdoor Turtle Habitat and indoor Turtle Room with a complete collection of freshwater turtles, displays highlighting amphibians of New York state and an indoor stream exhibit.
Thousands of trout are still hatched here every year, and visitors can witness the process through six outdoor rearing pools that hold the fish in various stages of development.
School programs are offered weekdays for grades K-12. Most programs take 1 hour. Maximum group size is 25 students. Larger groups can be divided.
Life Sciences Learning Center
University of Rochester Medical Center
The Center offers a variety of programs for students in middle and high school. Field trips are 2.5-to-four-hour programs at the medical center for chaperoned groups of students that involve using authentic laboratory equipment and research techniques. For example, high school students can take part in The Nervous System: Fixing a Broken Brain or DNA Fingerprinting. Programs for middle-level students include Bugs on Drugs; DNA: Hand-me-down Genes; and LSLC Crime Scene Investigation, among others.