Missouri Field Trips for Homeschoolers
What’s the point of living in or visiting the “Show Me” State if you aren’t going to get out and explore it? Missouri is not only where the Pony Express got its famous start but where America’s favorite author, Mark Twain, got his as well. Over 1,000 battles of the Civil War took place in Missouri, and America’s 33rd president was born and raised here. With all that history, you can imagine that there are plenty of places to explore with your homeschoolers!
To help you locate fun things to do in Missouri, we’ve organized some field trip ideas by geographical area. Plan out each of your learning adventures on this printable map of Missouri. Please make sure to contact each site before you plan your visit, as COVID-19 may have impacted their hours of operations. Plus, as a bonus, we’ve even included a free download of Time4Learning lesson tie-ins that might be the perfect supplement for each trip [at end of article]!
Home education is not the same in every state. Make sure you’re getting the information you need to start homeschooling in the Show-Me State.
Homeschool Field Trips in Northern Missouri
- Arabia Steamboat Museum, Kansas City – Imagine finding a steamboat that had been lost for 132 years underneath the waters of the Missouri River! That’s exactly what happened in 1988 when the Arabia Steamboat was uncovered. Explore this time capsule of local history along with its 200 tons of buried treasure.
- Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site, Laclede – “Black Jack” Pershing served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front in World War I. Take an educational tour of the boyhood home of Pershing and the one-room schoolhouse Pershing taught in before leaving for West Point Academy.
- Mark Twain Cave and Campground, Hannibal – Sometimes, the most fun day trips in Missouri turn into stayovers! That might be the case if you happen to be visiting Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal and end up at the cave that the author mentioned in five of his books! This would make a super tie-in with a history, literature, or geology study.
- The Money Museum, Kansas City – Would you like to learn about the operations of the Federal Reserve and America’s financial systems? Then it’s time for a day trip to this museum that hosts interactive exhibits, a multi-story cash vault, and the chance to hold a real gold bar. This homeschool field trip would be a great supplement to your economics curriculum.
- Pony Express Museum, St. Joseph – Have you learned about the Pony Express in your homeschool history curriculum yet? It was the first fast way to get mail across the western half of the North American continent. It only ran for 18 months in the 1860s, but this museum highlights the history of the express with a diorama, maps, artifacts, and an archaeological dig.
- Powell Gardens, Kansas City – The 970 acres of this botanical garden will give your homeschoolers the chance to explore multiple biomes of plant life from across the world. Special “family frolic days” happen regularly, as well as camps and classes for learning more about nature.
Homeschool Field Trips in Central Missouri
- Bonne Terre Mine, Bonne Terre – This historic lead mine was built in 1864 and is actually located below the city of Bonne Terre. You can take both walking and boating tours of the mine, where you will learn about pick-and-shovel mining practices from the 1800s and see the amazing geologic rooms and formations created over millions of years.
- Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, Independence – The longtime home of the 33rd president, Harry Truman, is located here, and the Truman farm is located in nearby Grandview. Both guided and audio tours of the site are available and the park is part of the Junior Ranger program, so students can earn an educational badge during their visit. Lesson plans and teacher guides to use before or after your visit are available on the website.
- Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, St. Louis – Even if your budget is tight, there are still plenty of free field trips in Missouri, like this educational destination. Here, you’ll learn about topics like Jewish life prior to the Holocaust, World War II, and the liberation of the concentration camps. The museum website offers suggestions for reading lists about the Holocaust by age level.
- Missouri History Museum, St. Louis – Will you be doing a Missouri unit study this year? A trip to this museum operated by the Missouri Historical Society would be the ideal tie-in. When you visit, you will find local colonial and native artifacts including items from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. There is even a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis on display.
- Museum of Art and Archaeology, Columbia – Not every field trip has to lighten your wallet. This museum on the campus of the University of Missouri offers free admission to everyone. Make the museum an extension of your homeschool by exploring the more than 14,000 works of art and archaeological objects that are displayed in five unique galleries.
- Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis – When you are looking for family activities in Missouri that will appeal to everyone, keep this destination in mind. More than 16,000 wild animals make their home here, and there is no end of things to see and do. For youth, there are numerous workshops, summer camps, family animal encounters, and even activities geared specifically to homeschoolers.
Homeschool Field Trips in Southern Missouri
- Bluff Dwellers Cave, Noel – Take the opportunity to visit a cave that Native Americans sheltered in. Learn about the limestone that covers much of the Ozark Plateau in the Midwest. Cave formations you might encounter include stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, saw tooth drapes, flowstone, cave popcorn, and cave coral. You might also spot cave dwellers such as bats, salamanders, and crayfish.
- Bootheel Youth Museum, Malden – The hands-on learning opportunities at this children’s museum are extensive. There are over 70 exhibits that invite students to explore and make-believe such as a medical center, a bank, a planet room, and a recycling center. Educational workshops are also available for grades PreK-8, as well as periodic “Mad Scientists” shows.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum, Mansfield – Some educational day trips in Missouri are perfect for literature lovers, such as this one dedicated to the author of the Little House series of books. Your homeschooler will love touring the Rocky Ridge farmhouse where the stories were written and even see Pa’s fiddle on display at the museum.
- Neosho National Fish Hatchery, Neosho – Established in 1888, this is the oldest national fish hatchery in the U.S. Although many species have been bred at the hatchery through the years, rainbow trout, sturgeon, and Topeka shiners are the primary fish currently raised here. The site includes a visitors center with exhibits and aquariums as well as biking and walking trails.
- War Eagle Mill, Rogers – The history of this mill is a fascinating one, including multiple incidents where the mill was completely destroyed by weather and by war. Visitors to the mill will get to see how a water wheel powers the mill as well as many other aspects of a working mill. This would be a great educational field trip to connect to studies of 19th century history, simple machines, or agriculture.
- Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Republic – The first American Civil War engagement west of the Mississippi River happened right here at Wilson’s Creek. Bring your social studies curriculum to life by watching the video and viewing the exhibits at the visitors center. There is also a 5-mile automobile tour with interpretive stops along the way. Special living history events are scheduled throughout the year, as well.
MO Field Trips Unit Study Suppl.
Is there anything more fun than learning through field trips? To make your experiences at these destinations even more meaningful, Time4Learning members will appreciate this download of free activity tie-ins.