SO MANY EXCITING AND EDUCATIONAL CHOICES FOR TEACHERS AND HOMESCHOOLING PARENTS ALIKE
From within walking distance to surrounding communities to venturing out even a little further away from home – field trips have come a long way!
When we think of educational field trip choices, we traditionally start with places like art galleries and museums, and planetariums and aquariums to name a few. They are obviously great choices for children to learn from. Nowadays, the list is long for places to visit outside of the classroom where learning is reinforced in some pretty unique ways. These places are where students can try new things with hands-on educational experiences. From historical to social, cultural to many more natural environments, each choice creates a connection between the classroom and the real world, offering opportunities for critical thinking, problem solving, and social-emotional development.
We have created this Go-To guide for teachers, home schooling parents, and other caregivers to refer to when considering what educational field trips to book this upcoming school year. To make this a quick reference for you, we have broken it down into three categories.
- NATURE – learning about animals and Mother Nature in natural surroundings
- HUMANITY – learning about people and What, How, and Why they do the things they do
- ADVENTURE – learning through experiencing or imaging
Starting off with BC Agriculture In The Classroom, this field trip offers free educational agriculture tours where students explore BC agriculture subjects while enjoying the fresh air and getting their hands dirty. Teachers appreciate the curriculum-linked experience covering soil, pollinators, water preservation, growing zones, the Agriculture Land Reserve, greenhouses, crop rotation, and more. Join them for an immersive learning journey at farms in Abbotsford, Kelowna, and Langley!
The Edible Project – this project started off from a desire to promote food security on the North Shore and has grown into a beautiful network of local gardens in both North and West Vancouver. These gardens offer a variety of opportunities to educate our youth and those of all ages about how to grow, harvest, and benefit from growing food locally. Locations include the self-sustaining Loutet Farm and Sutherland Schoolyard, along with five sharing gardens that raise produce for those in need in nearby communities, as well as offering local childcare centres and schools the opportunity to grow their own vegetable beds and home gardens.
UBC’s Wild & Immersive field trip will immerse students in the magic and beauty of the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest located in Maple Ridge. Through hands-on and interactive activities, students will learn about local ecology and natural sciences. Teachers can pick from over 15 module choices to create a field trip that meets their learning objectives and aligns with what they are learning in the classroom. Popular module choices include Survive the Wild, Life as a Tree, Habitat Trackers, and Wetland Wonders. They inspire natural curiosity in students with unique field trip opportunities.
Timberline Ranch is committed to their goal of connecting the next generation to nature. Some teachers have brought their students to the Maple Ridge facility for over 20 years to offer hands-on lessons in biology, the outdoors, and leadership. They have over 50 years of experience in hosting large groups who return to them year after year for the pristine rural setting and amazing horseback riding programs. The staff at the Maple Ridge facility prides itself on accommodating the unique needs of each group and works to meet the requests for each educational excursion!
Maplewood Farm offers enriching field trips for children, fostering a deeper connection with nature and animals. Through interactive experiences, kids gain hands-on learning opportunities, develop empathy and responsibility, and enhance their understanding of farm life, fostering a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world. The field trips can include private tours, behind the scenes experiences and learning demonstrations.
According to Leah McGraw, Art Education Coordinator for Evergreen Cultural Centre, “Field trips to cultural centres are a great way for students to make connections between the classroom curriculum and their real-world experiences. Places like art galleries and museums present opportunities to engage in hands-on or experiential learning activities where students explore diverse art forms and perspectives, and connections between the past and present. Learning in an immersive environment helps cement students’ understanding of their classroom lessons through a memorable experience out in their community.”
Though we cannot possibly cover every arts related option available in our communities in this story, other not-be-be-missed choices include Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s elementary school concerts. These performances combine visuals with music to provide engaging and entertaining musical discoveries for the children, and with a theatrical twist!
For Visual Arts we will start off with the Bill Reid Galley of Northwest Coast Art and their Gallery Education Program. Immerse your class in the oral traditions of the Northwest Coast; explore Indigenous worldviews through hands-on learning about the connections between land, sea, people, and the art of the Northwest Coast; delve into deeper understandings of sacred resources, including Indigenous history, and artistic practices of the Northwest Coast.
The Vancouver Art Gallery School Programs provides exhibition tours and workshops designed for elementary and secondary school groups. These programs introduce tools to foster visual literacy in students and to promote critical thinking about the world around us. Led by the Gallery’s Education staff, virtual and in-person school tours and workshops are a great way to learn more about the cultural and social contexts of art.
From hands-on-learning to critical thinking, students of all ages are guaranteed to have an enjoyable and engaging experience at Brittania Mine Museum. When planning a field trip here, customize it to your exact needs by choosing the educational programming relevant for your students’ age group from many options. The programs are designed by education specialists and reflect British Columbia’s transformed curriculum and provide opportunities to exercise and extend students’ core competencies. Britannia Mine Museum is a STEAM Education Partner, providing unique, entertaining and memorable curriculum-based educational experiences that consider the relevance and impact of resource Management and geologic exploration.
Adventure based field trips allow kids to use their imaginations as they practice hands-on dramatic play and exploration in settings such as Kidtropolis. This fun and educational choice provides so many learning through play and exploration opportunities in this amazing indoor play city! Fun-filled field trips compliment educational curriculums which are similar to dramatic play objectives found in early learning environments. Here, children use their imaginations freely in their play while developing their social-emotional and sensory skills by exploring this pretend community with their peers.
Another amazing place that is set up as an entire community taking us back in time is Burnaby Village Museum which continues to be a very popular field trip choice for schools, and for good reason. This open-air museum located at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, spans over 10 acres, exhibiting a reconstructed village from the 1920’s including original heritage buildings, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith, general store, and even a carousel that students can ride on. Various options for field trips include 90 minute guided tours with a museum interpreter exploring specific themes. There is also the option for a self guided program.
Other popular choices not to be missed include a very unique experience at Academie Duello. Here students can learn all about European history while taking swordplay and archery lessons! This rare opportunity will immerse your students in the learning process through hands-on tours including demonstrations, lessons, and presentations for students of all ages at the Swordplay Centre & Historial Armour Museum in downtown Vancouver.
Two other fun and unique museum experiences not to be missed include playing detective in solving forensic investigations at The Vancouver Police Museum where students can investigate Break & Enter or Kidnapping crimes! Price of admission includes a visit to the museum and a guided forensic activity and mini tour! For all those sports buffs, The BC Sports Hall of Fame offers a wide variety of field trip options for Grades 4 to 10, combining guided and self guided tours and interactive explorations.
Cultus Lake Waterpark offers a thrill seeking waterslide park adventure! This waterpark offers over 50 sheltered picnic areas and a very fun filled environment for water sliding adventurers. Rides range from super thrilling to the less adventurous options and even include a relaxing floating break down the lazy river.
Of course, thrill seeking adventures are always fun at exhibition parks such as Playland. What better way to celebrate the end of another school year than with rides, games, food and fun! Primary and Secondary group rates apply for students and supervisors. Year End Party bookings pay only $28 instead of $45.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is filled with objects and stories that are perfect for multi-sensory learning. Many of the programs combine storytelling with a hands-on component. Students can learn about the history of Chinatown and discover what life was like for early immigrants through artifacts. They can also explore Chinese arts and culture with calligraphy, tea ceremony, and tai chi workshops.
Experience guided walking tours in the heart of Chinatown at Chinatown Storytelling Centre and explore the “touchable teaching collection” filled with unique artifacts! Through a range of interactive activities, students will learn about the key events and figures in Chinese Canadian history as well as contemporary issues around Chinatown’s cultural heritage, gentrification, and anti-Asian racism.
On Vancouver Island, School Tour Coordinator, Yvonne Van Ruskenveld, shares that “the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria offers students a unique way to learn about BC history through walking tours in Victoria’s heritage cemeteries. Our tour guides bring people from the past to life so they’re not just names in a lesson. We encourage students to ask questions and learn more about their communities and the people who shaped them.”
At Forbidden Vancouver, students will enjoy a fully immersive adventure into local history, from the cobblestone streets of Gastown to the Davie Street Village, to the trails of Stanley Park, and the iconic buildings of Downtown Vancouver. Talented storytellers lead the way as students step in the shoes of real historical figures to gain a new perspective of Vancouver.
Hopefully after these trips are over there will be plenty of opportunities to reflect upon what was experienced and what stayed with the children. Education Kits are a great way to follow up with these visits with classroom discussions and even group projects.
Check with the organizers of your field trips to see what take-away materials or ideas they have available for you to take back to the classroom. For even further learning opportunities, you can also check out After Field Trip Activities on TeachersPayTeachers.com and the many additional resources.
405 Seymour River Place, North Vancouver, BC 604-929-5610
Embark on an engaging adventure at Maplewood Farm! Enjoy an interactive and educational field trip surrounded by friendly animals in the heart of the North Shore. From hands-on experiences with farm animals, to guided tours and learning opportunities, Maplewood Farm offers a memorable and enriching outing for all ages.
22351 144 Avenue, Maple Ridge, BC 604-463-9278
Some teachers have brought their students to our Maple Ridge facility for over 20 years to offer hands-on lessons in biology, the outdoors, and leadership. Accommodating both small and large groups, Timberline will provide trained staff to lead your group in horseback riding, scaling the climbing wall, or enjoying the challenge course if you’d like to make use of those facilities. Group leaders may also make use of amenities such as the archery range, team building course, swimming pool, and orienteering course, as long as they provide the proper supervision.