One joy of living in a short school bus full time is all the unique experiences we get to have. Plus with homeschooling being one of our family priorities, any opportunity to throw in an educational spin on something I am all about. Here are some of our top Roadschooling field trips!
Junior Ranger Programs
The Junior Ranger Program is an activity based program available in almost all of the National Parks. Kids between the ages of 5 to 13 will love doing the activity books which aim to educate its readers about the park history, learn about the local animals, and ways to protect nature for future enjoyment. After completing the books your kids take an oath and earn their very own junior ranger badge. Pop into the ranger station and inquire next time you visit a national park! Note: Many state parks also have Junior Ranger programs, like the California Junior Rangers for kids between the ages of 7 to 12 or Wyoming’s Kids Extreme Programs.
Trekking with Llamas
How is this educational? I know. I know. It is hard to step outside of the traditional vision of how kids learn but trust me with this one. When in the Smokey Mountains we had the immense pleasure of Trekking with Llamas. Each child was given charge of their very own llama hiking buddy. They needed to learn how to respectfully treat and take responsibility for their new furry friend. Plus the owner who guides you along the shaded trail gives a wide range of information on the area, llamas, and motivation to pursue your dreams. All around, we all felt much more enlightened after this beautiful day.
New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
This sweet little donation-driven museum is hidden tucked in a small town on a windy road near the Bay Area. After hiking the Almaden State Park we decided to stop by the gorgeous home we had driven past which proved to be a museum. Small in size but massive in heart, the volunteers here truly adore the history of the first mine established in the west. As you walk past rooms captured in time you get a glimpse not only into the mining culture of the time but the clashes of cultural influences and zest for success. If you are in the Bay Area I highly recommend hiking the old mine area and visiting the quaint New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum for a fun-filled day.
Bodie Ghost Town
What happens when a gold rush town dies? The road alone to reach Bodie is a beautiful journey. This state park is a unique way to see a true ghost town where homes are in ‘arrested decay’ and littered with bits and pieces of those who once dwelled there. From the glass jars to the ancient work out equipment – this state park gives you a rare opportunity to see how the 1800s were. This park is well preserved so you can do your own walking tour with a printed guide listing the dates and names of former residents. Or spend a few coins for the Ghost Mill Tour or Ghost Walk. Whatever you choose do not miss visiting the cemetery on the outskirts of town as a bonus.
Silver Mine Tour
This is a gem of a tour nestled in the picturesque town of Wallace Idaho. Every building along these streets are historical landmarks so taking a stroll down Main Street is a stroll in preserved perfection. Take a tour to the Sierra Silver Mine where you actually walk in a true once in use mine! Hard hats and everything, your former miner will give you all the education about mining practices as well as try a blaster or two. But be warned! Your guide may drop a few choice words but will definitely keep you on your toes in laughter.
Charles Schultz Museum
Not our typical outdoor focus adventure but I could not do this list without recommending our family’s absolute favorite museum. Nestled in recovering from the massive fires town of Santa Rosa, this building seems unimpressive at first look. Once you enter through the glass doors you are immediately transported to the wonderful world of Charles Schultz. From the theatre playing non-stop Charlie Brown classics to the replica of Mr. Schultz’s office, this entire building is one beautifully done masterpiece to another. Perhaps our very favorite aspect is the learn-to-draw education room dedicated to learning how you too can draw yourself a Charlie Brown or Lucy. On a very rainy, winter day this museum was a gift. And if you are wanting to burn off some energy check out the ice rink right next door and see where Charlies Schultz spent almost every day.
Wherever your adventures take you remember there is always an opportunity to roadschool. And trust me, if you visit one of these recommendations you too will learn a lesson or two.
Happy travels and hope to see you on the road!
Kaitlin is a former ballerina who now travels around the country in an 18-foot converted school bus. Her and her tall one husband have welcomed 34 sweet children into their home the past eleven years. Although they would be a forever home for all of them they were able to adopt their daughter buckets and are legal guardians of their son monkey. Follow their crazy adventures on Instagram @runawaymusbus