Wisconsin Field Trips for Homeschoolers
They say, “To know Wisconsin is to know its cheese.” But, the Badger State isn’t just all about the cheese. Wisconsin is also home to a large variety of geographical features that can prove to be a fun educational experience for your young learners.
To help you plan your next great field trip adventure in Wisconsin, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best homeschool trips by region. Encourage your children to practice their mapping skills and help plan your day trips in Wisconsin with our printable map of the Badger state. Please make sure to contact each site before you plan your visit, as COVID-19 may have impacted their hours of operations. Get ready, get set, explore!
Home education is not the same in every state. Make sure you’re getting the information you need to start homeschooling in the Badger State.
Homeschool Field Trips in Northern Wisconsin
- Pattison State Park, Superior – This park is home to 9 miles of hiking trails, the Gitche Gumee Nature Center, and the spectacular Manitou Falls—the 4th tallest waterfall east of the Rockies. Be sure to get an up-close-and-personal view of Little Manitou Falls from right at its base or hike up to the top for some great photo ops.
- Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park, Danbury – Along the Yellow River, this historic logging route, gives visitors a peek into life as a fur trader. History study goes from boring to fun with replicas of two fur trade posts, a blacksmith forge, an Ojibwe village, and an 1887 Swedish Karlborg one-room schoolhouse. Perfect for a day trip in Wisconsin.
- Fred Smith’s Concrete Park, Phillips – Certainly a one-of-a-kind attraction, Fred Smith’s Concrete Park is a must see! According to local lore, Mr. Smith, inspired by the image of a leaping deer on a boy’s sweater, began using concrete to create unique awe-inspiring sculptures on his property. Enjoy a leisurely stroll among a team of giant Clydesdale horses, cowboys and indians, lumberjacks, and animals such as elk, moose, and a bear.
- Madeline Island Museum, La Pointe – “Step off the Madeline Island Ferry and into the stories that made this island the enchanting place it is today.” The museum houses unique artifacts that tell the tale of fur traders, Wisconsin’s Native Americans, and a special exhibit of “strength and resilience” shares the stories of the women who helped to shape the fur trade, the state’s industry, and more.
- Apostle Islands Sea Caves – A perfect spot to learn about geography, featuring amazing cliffs and sea caves.
Homeschool Field Trips in West Central Wisconsin
- Paul Bunyan’s Logging Camp, Eau Claire – Paul Bunyan and his big, blue ox, Babe, may be just a tall tale, but the logging industry of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley is a very real part of the state history. The logging camp really make you “feel like the lumberjacks are going to walk back in at any time.” Your students will especially enjoy the Tall Tales Room where children can “step into Bunyan stories,” as they climb into the legendary man’s boots.
- Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, Eau Claire – An interactive museum at its best, the Children’s Museum invites children to “See, touch, learn, and grow!” Children learn well by doing and doing is what this museum is all about–students can walk through a gigantic digestive system in Body Smarts, learn about community and business in Bitty City, build a house in Kidstruction, and shine in the spotlight in the amazing Show Business exhibit.
- The Gertrude Salzer Gordon Children’s Museum, La Crosse – The Gertrude Salzer Gordon Children’s Museum is sweet 16 this year. Happy Birthday! Since opening its doors in 1999, more than 1 million visitors have graced this wonderful play and learn space. Children can build and create in Imagination Playground, don their news anchor and weatherman (or woman) caps on WKID TV, learn about the mighty Mississippi River in Rivers and Bridges, test their coordination in Eye Play, and so much more.
- The Chippewa Valley Railroad – All aboard! The Chippewa Valley Railroad is dedicated to preserving the railroading history of the Eau Claire area and offers visitors a unique adventure. Enjoy a scenic ride through forest land and past beautiful Half-Moon Lake as you ride the rails in a ¼ size working railroad pulled by an authentic looking 1880’s coal-fired steam locomotive. Railroad buffs will also enjoy the train depot, roundhouse, turntable, switching yard, and “the oldest interlocking tower in the state.” Open Sundays and holidays Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Homeschool Field Trips in Northeast Wisconsin
- Cherney Maribel Caves County Park, Maribel – Don your spelunking caps and explore the amazing world of caves! Four of the five amazing caves are open to the public—visitors can explore the Maribel New Hope Cave, the Pancake Cave, the Cooper’s Cave, the Tartarus Cave The fifth cave, Spring Cave, named for the natural spring flowing through the cave, is not open due to the extremely cold water and lack of adequate oxygen levels; however, visitors can view the cave from the outside.
- Bookworm Gardens,Sheboygan – Step inside the world of your favorite storybooks where Bookworm Gardens is “Bringing books to life one garden at a time.” This land of enchantment welcomes children to “Hop aboard the Magic School Bus. Meet the three bears. and Dig for dinosaur bones.” Inspire your children’s imagination with a variety of programs based on seasonal changes and exploration, the five senses, weather, trees, seeds and leaves, and poetry. They also offer a Family Nature Club which meets at various locations typically on Friday evenings.
- National Railroad Museum, Green Bay – “Our exhibits bring the storied history of the railroad industry to life for thousands of visitors every year.” Visitors can see the “only A4 Class locomotive in the United States” along with official Dwight D. Eisenhower rail cars, the amazing Aerotrain from the 1950’s fame, learn about the fascinating history of the Pullman Porters, and the famous Bauer Drumhead Collection. Fancy a ride? Ride the museum’s antique full-size railroad and take a tour of the museum in style–listen as the conductor shares fascinating facts about its rolling stock and tells the story of the infamous hobos.
- Lumberjack Steam Train, Laona – The logging trade has played a major role in Wisconsin’s history since the 19th century so climb aboard the Lumberjack Steam Train and let Northwoods Logging Camp be your history book for the day. Visitors purchase tickets in the 1880’s Soo Line Depot and ride the only PRAIRIE style steam locomotive in Wisconsin, and enjoy the ride in an amazing open-air observation car or inside a rare caboose cupola. Ticket price includes the train ride to and from the logging camp and camp tour as well as admission to the nature center, museum and blacksmith shop, forest tour via motorized surrey, and so much more. Afterwards, treat yourselves to some great grub at the Choo Choo Cafe.
Homeschool Field Trips in South Central Wisconsin
- Spinning Top and Yo-Yo Museum – Are you gaga for yo-yos? Take the museum’s awesome Yo-Yo Class and master tricks that are sure to wow both family and friends! Plus, attendees get their own ball-bearing yo yo to take home! Do you know what a toupie is? How about a koma? After a fun-filled day at one of the most unique museums around, you’ll no doubt be an expert. Children can try their hands at 40 hands-on tops and top games, learn how to throw a peg top, and even share the spotlight–children who bring their own yo yo are welcome to demonstrate their favorite tricks.
- Circus World, Baraboo – Step right up into the magical world of the BIG top at Wisconsin’s Circus World. Visitors will be enchanted by the one hour circus show and magic show. Kid’s World Circus puts your children in the spotlight–kids get the one-of-a-kind opportunity to be a circus performer or pretend to be a favorite circus animal. Tap your toes to the rhythm of old-time circus music in the Shake, Rattle, and Toot show, and laugh until your bellies hurt at the antics of Steve and Ryan in their hilarious Nothing But Nonsense slapstick comedy show.
- Cave of the Mounds – Located in the National Natural Landmark, Cave of the Mounds is a great place to discover the best attractions of the midwestern state. They offer a variety of activities that you can participate in such as cave tours, mine and fossil digging, crack a geode, and many other opportunities for your children. On sunny day, take your science lessons to the Cave of Mounds!
- Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, Wisconsin Dells – “All day, every day, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory is the place to be for hands-on family fun!” This oh so unique place promises to “boggle your brain” with more than 175 interactive activities centered around science, technology, and space. Can you lift a 5,000 lb. car off the ground? Give it a go with the Exploratory’s amazing Giant Lever! Lift off into space and tour the Russian Space Station, Mir, see a replica of the US Mercury Space Capsule, have a “hair-raising experience” and see the fascinating effects of static electricity in the Bridge of Fire Exhibit, and ride if you dare, the High Wire Skycycle. Wow!
Homeschool Field Trips in Southeast Wisconsin
- Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee – Visitors receive a BIG welcome upon entering the Milwaukee Public Museum atrium—a Hebior Mammoth hanging from the ceiling will no doubt wow your children. Children will discover and learn all about other cultures as they “Visit” the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, the Arctic, and even a Costa Rican Rainforest. Don your lepidopterist cap for the day and get an up-close-and-personal view of free-flying butterflies from around the world in the Puelicher Butterfly Wing. And, tour the Milwaukee of yesteryear in one of the first walk-through dioramas in the world inside The Streets of Old Milwaukee.
- Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum, Kenosha – Families will enjoy astronomical events at the sanctuary’s observatory, learn how to make maple sugar, “attend” the Pike River One-room Schoolhouse, discover fascinating pond life at Pollywog Pond, and recognize the awesome power of honeybees in the Power to the Pollinator program.
- Mitchell Park Domes – The Domes are filled with many exotic plans, some which are home to tropical rain-forests and those that are home to the deserts of the American Southwest as well as Africa, Madagascar, and South American. Depending on the season you are visiting, the show Dome transforms its roots 5 times a year. Be sure to stop by and see the unique seasonal displays. Mitchell Park Domes is a fun educational experience for those interested in wildlife and botany.
- Old World Wisconsin, Eagle – Learn about Wisconsin’s fascinating immigrant history from the 1840’s through the 1910’s by walking around in their shoes—the fascinating self-paced tour offers children the chance to actually help do chores and cooking tasks, make crafts, and try their hands at a trade from way back when. Parents are even encouraged to participate!
- Logic Puzzle Museum, Burlington – Put on your thinking caps, homeschoolers, because your brain is about to be amazed and challenged like never before! The museum has more than 50 hands-on puzzles which will test your thinking skills as well as your mechanical skills. Your kids will thrill as they ring the bell to celebrate their puzzle-solving savvy! Children can even create a puzzle to take home! Step back in time and into a vintage-style parlor and view hundreds of antique puzzles, toys, and games.
- Milwaukee Art Museum – Not only does the Milwaukee Art Museum always change up their exhibits, they also offer a variety of programs and resources for teachers, students, and families. Luckily, they reserve special days for “Homeschool Days” where students can enjoy a guided tour through the museum and learn about the resources that can be used both in the museum and at home!
- Downtown Kenosha, Kenosha – When you visit downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin, you not only get a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan, but a single day here is like a month’s worth of homeschool field trips all rolled into one amazing adventure. Kenosha has many fun things to see and do, so here are just some possibilities to get you started:
- Dinosaur Discovery Museum
- Civil War Museum
- Southeast Light Station Museum
- Electric Streetcar Circulator
- Jelly Belly Visitor Center
- Kenosha History Center
- Lakefront Trolley Ride
WI 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 for each one.