Pennsylvania Field Trips for Homeschoolers
Pennsylvania, also called the “Keystone State” because of its central position within the colonies, has always held a key place in the political, social, and economic development of the United States. It’s no wonder, then, that the state is full of sites and destinations that offer learning opportunities for students of all ages. Whether you are interested in airplanes, weather science, geology, or early American history, Pennsylvania has something to offer.
To help you locate fun day trips in Pennsylvania, we’ve organized them by geographical area. Plan out each of your learning adventures on this printable map of Pennsylvania from Time4Learning. 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 Keystone State.
Homeschool Field Trips in Western Pennsylvania
- Arts & Education at the Hoyt, New Castle – When your homeschool field trip budget is tight, but you still want an educational experience, head to the Hoyt to view the latest exhibitions in their free-admission art galleries. Or, if the museum is within easy driving distance, you can even taken advantage of the many youth and teen art classes and clubs offered.
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Philadelphia – When you want to infuse your online science curriculum with some real-life experiences, then it’s time for an educational trip to one of the premiere natural history museums in the U.S. Allow yourself time to combine the trip with a visit to Powdermill Nature Reserve to learn about their bird migration program.
- Fort Ligonier, Ligonier – The French and Indian War will come alive for your homeschooler with a visit to this British fortification. It served as a key link in British communications and supply lines throughout the campaign. Learn about George Washington’s time at this fort and about Native American attacks during its history. Special homeschool days are scheduled during the year, as well.
- Presque Isle State Park, Erie – This educational trip offers history, wildlife viewing, and outdoor recreation all in one. Learn the story of the Presque Isle lighthouse, take a bike through the 13.5 mile national recreation trail, hunt for glass on the beach, and keep your eyes peeled for any of the over 300 bird species that have been recorded here.
- Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center, Punxsutawney – It certainly doesn’t have to be Groundhog Day to do a weather study – – especially if you live in or are traveling through Pennsylvania. That’s because Punxsutawney is home to a year-round center dedicated to weather science. The website is also full of links to wonderful weather learning resources.
- Rachel Carson Homestead, Springdale – Often called the “mother of the modern environmental conservation movement,” Rachel Carson was a scientist, writer, and ecologist who grew up in Springdale. Visit the homestead where she first took nature walks with her mother and began to fall in love with the woods, orchards, and fields that surrounded her home.
Homeschool Field Trips in Central Pennsylvania
- Appalachian Trail Museum, Gardners – The idea of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200 mile marked hiking trail in the Eastern U.S., came about in 1921 and was finally completed in 1937. This museum, located in Pennsylvania’s Pine Grove Furnace State Park,uses exhibits, programs, audio-visual presentations, and publications to tell the stories of people who have endeavored to hike on the trail since its inception.
- Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, Halifax – One of the most fun things to do in Pennsylvania is to go on a wildlife safari! On the Lake Tobias safari tour you’ll encounter wild animals from around the world in an open-air cruiser. The guide will share their knowledge about the creatures along the way. The site also includes a petting zoo, a baby animal program, and a reptile facility.
- Lincoln Caverns & Whisper Rocks, Huntingdon – Here you can take a tour of two different crystal caverns and view a wide variety of cave formations such as crystals, stalactites, and flowstones. Students have an opportunity to pan for gems in a sluice, or you can walk one of the nature trails and keep an eye out for turkey, deer or rabbits in their natural setting.
- Old Bedford Village, Bedford – Visiting a living history site is always a favorite for homeschooling families. At Old Bedford, you’ll explore one-room schoolhouses, a blacksmith shop, rural homes and farms, a cooper shop, and many other homes and farms from 1800s America. Explore the calendar for many history events that happen at the site during the year, too.
- Piper Aviation Museum, Lock Haven – Between 1927 and the end of 2009, Piper Aircraft company produced 144,000 models of aircraft. This museum honors the machines built under the Piper name, and if you have an airplane lover in your homeschool, then they’ll thoroughly enjoy the crafts, information, memorabilia, and the simulator at this site.
- Wheatland, Lancaster – The 15th president of the U.S., James Buchanan, lived at this home and retreat for 20 years of his life. Students who visit can learn not only about the history of the president, but Lancaster County history as well. The site even includes an arboretum, with over 100 varieties of trees.
Homeschool Field Trips in Eastern Pennsylvania
- Delaware Water Gap – When you find yourself stuck inside for too many days in a row, it’s probably time to take your homeschool out for some exercise. That’s the perfect opportunity to explore this recreational area that hosts multiple waterfalls, more than 100 miles of hiking trails, historic structures, and bountiful wildlife.
- The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia – Where better to build your STEAM skills than in a place built in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin? This is one of the leading science centers in the country, and features a planetarium, augmented reality exhibits, a sportszone, a train factory, and much, much more.
- Historic Bethlehem Tours, Bethlehem – Founded as a Moravian community in 1741, Bethlehem has a deep and rich history. Depending on how much time you have to spend, you might choose to visit sites such as the Moravian Museum, the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, the Hoover Mason Trestle, or the Burnside Plantation.
- Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square – Over 1,000 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows await you at one of the best family activities in Pennsylvania. The gardens serve as a hands-on, living classroom with both organized and self-led curriculum activities available. Study pollination, play in the topiary garden, sit in on story time, or spread out on the grass and sketch in your nature journal.
- Ringing Rocks County Park, Upper Black Eddy – Sonorous rocks, often called “ringing rocks” actually resonate like a bell when struck. This peculiar type of geological phenomenon is only known in a few places in the world, including right here in Pennsylvania. Be sure and bring your own hammer to try the sounds out for yourself!
- Salt Springs State Park, Montrose – It’s not every day that you can reach out and touch a 500 year old hemlock tree. Some of the largest trees in all of Pennsylvania are right here in this park. There are over 15 miles of hiking trails available to visitors, historic farm buildings to explore, and public programs and educational opportunities throughout the year.
Do you have additional Pennsylvania field trip ideas we’ve not mentioned here? Add them in the comments or share them on our Pennsylvania Homeschool Support forum.
PA 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.