North Dakota Field Trips for Homeschoolers
President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “I never would have been president if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.” From wildlife watching to creating art, from studying native peoples to U.S. presidents, homeschool families who love to learn and explore have so many options for North Dakota day trips. Whether you are a resident of the Peace Garden state or simply plan on visiting soon, Time4Learning would like to help you plan out your adventures to make the most of this fascinating state. Browse the homeschool field trip ideas below, organized by state region.
To start planning your field trips, use this printable map of North Dakota. You’ll also find free Time4Learning lesson tie-ins that you can download at the end of this post to help supplement your fun field trips in North Dakota. Please make sure to contact each site before you plan your visit, as COVID-19 may have impacted their hours of operations.
Home education is not the same in every state. Make sure you’re getting the information you need to start homeschooling in the Peace Garden State.
Field Trips in North Dakota’s Missouri Plateau
- Fort Union Trading Post, Buford – Fort Union was the most important fur trading post on the upper Missouri until 1867. Seven Northern Plains Indian Tribes, including the Assiniboine, traded buffalo robes and other furs here for goods such as cloth, guns, blankets, and beads. The partially reconstructed fort would tie in well with lessons on Native Americans, early American trade routes, or the interesting relationship between Native Americans and early European settlers.
- Little Missouri State Park, Dunn Center – When you are searching for things to do in North Dakota with kids, don’t overlook North Dakota’s 13 state parks! At this one, you can hike in the Badlands, ride horseback on the extensive trail system, and even watch for wildlife such as coyotes, eagles, hawks and deer.
- North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, Medora – Native Americans, ranchers, and rodeos have been at the core of much of western North Dakota’s history. The 15,000-square foot interpretive center features permanent and traveling western culture exhibits, a Hall of Honorees, theater, gift shop, and archives. If you are studying the western expansion of the U.S., this would make a terrific tie-in.
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park, South Billings – The legacy of Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation of public land has strong ties to the state of North Dakota. A stop at this National Park would be a perfect tie in to a unit study on the life of the 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt. But it’s also a great opportunity to see bison, elk & deer roaming their native prairies and buttes.
- Dakota Zoo, Bismarck – This 90-acre facility is home to over 600 animals, reptiles, birds, and fish. If you are looking for something more than just an educational trip, Dakota Zoo offers dedicated camps such as Animal Ed-Ventures and Junior Zookeepers camp. Also on site is the The Bismarck Tribune Discovery Center offering live animal and educational displays, aquariums, computers and graphics designed to educate visitors about the natural world.
- Garrison Dam & Power Plant, Coleharbor – Lake Sakakawea is the third largest man-made lake in the United States and is formed by the Garrison Dam. It was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1947 to 1953 and is the fifth largest earthen dam structure in the world. Free one-or-two-hour tours of the dam will enlighten students about the operation and functions of dam along with explanations on electric distribution of power.
- Knife River Indian Villages – This site was an active trading point for Native Americans in the area for hundreds of years, and it continued to be central to fur trading after the Europeans arrived. Your homeschoolers will enjoy the interpretive movie, museum exhibits, a full scale reconstructed earth lodge and walking trails to the Knife River.
- Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, Washburn – Multisensory learning experiences are the order of the day at this historic location. The center highlights interactive exhibits about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Fort Clark and the fur trade, and the agricultural history of North Dakota. There is also a replica of Fort Mandan which was the epicenter of many of Lewis & Clark’s journeys.
- Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Tappen – Will you be doing a study of birds this year? Don’t miss this site which is home to the largest breeding colony of American White pelicans and has been identified by the American Bird Conservancy as one of the top 100 Globally Important Bird Areas in the United States.
- Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Mandan – What began as an Indian tribal village became a military outpost in the late 1800s. Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer was one of the first post commanders at this fort. Learn more about US history by touring the reconstructed military buildings and visiting the ancient village site of the Mandan Indians.
- North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, Bismarck – What was North Dakota like from prehistoric times until now? History comes alive for students who get the opportunity to visit the many permanent and visiting exhibits at the site. The website offers plenty of educational resources to complement your visit, as well.
Field Trips in North Dakota’s Drift Prairie
- International Peace Garden, Dunseith – This unique site was established as a symbol of the peaceful relationship between the United States and Canada. In 1957, North Dakota adopted the “Peace Garden State” as its official nickname. This would be a wonderful field trip idea complementing a botanical unit study or even the study of the country of Canada.
- National Buffalo Museum, Jamestown – This museum aims to preserve the history of the bison and is home to numerous works of art and Native American items. Your homeschoolers will see a 10,000 year old bison skull, a skeleton of a bison ancestor (bison antiqus), albino bison and more. This is a perfect day trip to have your student learn all about bison!
- Prairie Village & Museum, North Pierce – Plan your next day trip to this fun village and museum. There are always fun activities for kids, art shows and historical demonstrations going on. If you have a photography lover, entering the yearly photo contest is a must. Make sure to check out the calendar for all the upcoming kids camps and events!
- Grahams Island State Park, Devils Lake – Located on the shores of Devils Lake this park is a hidden treasure perfect for camping, fishing, hiking, swimming and skiing. Home to numerous national and regional fishing tournaments, you’ll be sure there’s plenty of action going on throughout the year.
Field Trips in North Dakota’s Red River Valley
- Fargo Air Museum, Fargo – The goal of the Fargo Air Museum is to inspire a whole new generation of aviators. Hands-on learning opportunities abound within the two hangars and youth camps are offered in aviation, engineering, rocket propulsion, and photography. This would be a wonderful tie-in with studies on aviation, transportation, or the science of flight.
- Heritage Village, East Grand Forks – The 21 buildings of the Heritage Village will introduce students to life in North Dakota during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Examples of items students can see are an old steam boiler from a Fram ship, an old bonanza Saw Mill, a home gardening station, a Military Room, a Town Hall that holds historic old photos and past newspapers, a working printing press and other pioneer domestic and agricultural artifacts.
- Icelandic State Park, Cavalier – When the weather is amenable and you are feeling like getting out and exploring, it’s time to visit this state park, built on a former homestead. Lake Renwick is a favorite summer swimming spot, but on the property you will also discover miles of hiking trails, the Gunlogson Homestead and Nature Preserve, and a Pioneer Heritage Center.
- Plains Art Museum, Fargo – This impressive museum features over 56,000 square feet of educational exploration. With constantly changing exhibits, and dedicated educational programs, homeschoolers of all ages can visit this facility again and again to learn more about the art and artists on display. The Center for Creativity offers classes for youth and adults, as well.
ND Field Trips Unit Study Suppl.
Is there anything more fun than learning through field trips? To make your experience at these destinations even more meaningful, Time4Learning members will appreciate this download of free activity tie-ins.