9 Family “Field Trips” That Make Learning Fun


What did your kids learn about in school this year? What are they going to study next year? Summer is the perfect time to sneak in some real-world experience to amplify what’s going on in their textbooks, and if you do it right, these educational excursions will be anything but boring. Here are 9 outings sure to pique kids’ curiosity and get the whole family involved in learning.


1. Working farms can be mind-blowing for urban and suburban kids who have never milked a cow or fed a flock of hungry chickens. Check the farm’s schedule for special demonstrations of things like candle making, clothes washing, or horseshoe forging. 

2. Spending the afternoon at a natural history museum is a great, easy option, but if you’re ready to turn it up a notch, look for sites where you can see the real deal: dinosaur bones at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, geysers in Yellowstone, the Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas, or Niagara Falls on the New York/Ontario border, to get you started. If you’re not claustrophobic, cave and cavern tours can be especially breathtaking and memorable, and they can be found all over the United States and abroad. And if you have a fourth grader, be sure to check out the Every Kid in a Park program to get your free pass to hundreds of public lands for an entire year!

3. Planetariums are cool during the day, but they’re downright magical at night. See if yours does telescope viewing parties or hosts sleepovers. (And don’t forget to bring your BuyPower Card; science museums always have the best gift shops, and this way you’ll be turning purchases into earnings toward a new GM vehicle!)

4. Art museums can be tricky with younger kids, but it can be done if you think outside the frames of the Old Masters and steer them instead toward the bright colors of pop art, the intriguing shapes and textures of sculptures, or the constant surprise of interactive installations. Bring along your own (non-messy!) art supplies for when inspiration strikes.

5. For kids who love animals, wildlife refuge areas (think bird sanctuaries and tide pools) can give them a deeper appreciation for regional ecosystems and how to preserve spaces for our wild neighbors. To get up close and personal with some animal friends, drop by a center that hosts wildlife encounters, like West Coast Game Park Safari in Oregon, which turns up the volume on your run-of-the-mill petting zoo and offers face time with a baby bobcat. More traditional wildlife museums often have critter ambassadors available for meet-and-greets, so if you’ve ever wanted to pet a skunk, here’s your chance!

6. Tech museums are the newest wave in educational attractions, and they’re full of interactive exhibits that bring technology to life in ways the whole family can appreciate. The Tech Museum of Innovation -- in, you guessed it, Silicon Valley -- is family friendly and utterly fascinating.

7. Aquariums, whether world-class or on a more modest scale, are always a hit for families. With rotating exhibits and special programs throughout the year, you can buy a membership and go back again and again and never stop learning.

8. No matter where you’re from, state history is your history. Learn about the people and events that shaped your home, and then hit the road in search of relevant monuments and preserved sites. See the cliff dwellings in Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park, spend the day in Colonial Williamsburg, pan for treasure in California’s Gold Country, tour the historical tenements of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, or remind yourself about the Alamo. 

9. If you have the opportunity to travel to a different country, take full of advantage of the opportunity to immerse your family in the local culture. New languages, new foods, perhaps a new pace of life . . . they all open up your children’s minds to the world and the diverse people in it, and in ways you can never learn from a book.

When traveling with your family this summer, remember that with the BuyPower Card from Capital One, you can turn anything you buy into Earnings toward a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle*! There’s no limit on the amount you can earn or redeem, and your Earnings don’t expire.  You’ll earn 5% on the first $5,000 in purchases every year, and unlimited 2% earnings on all purchases after that. Apply now!

Capital One, N.A. is the issuer of the BuyPower Card. General Motors is responsible for the operation and administration of the Earnings Program.

*BuyPower Card Earnings may not be used with fleet vehicle incentive programs or with some other offers and discounted sale programs, such as the GM Employee Discount.

†Credit approval required. Terms and conditions apply. Find out more at buypowercard.com.

Sponsored by the BuyPower Card from Capital One®

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