7 Field Trip Ideas In Erie, PA

Students waving out the windows of a school bus.

Planning and preparing for your school’s next field trip can be challenging, but Port Farms, your go-to location for educational field trips, is making it easier! From exploring state parks and museums to visiting farms and zoos, we’ve listed seven locations you can check out for your next field trip in Erie, PA!

1. ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum

Located in the historic cultural district of downtown Erie, Erie’s expERIEnce Children’s Museum is an excellent place for kindergarten to five grade students to explore and develop their creative sides. The museum is packed with a myriad of activities that will keep the children engaged in learning and thoroughly entertained.

The museum has four floors to explore: the Explore Floor, Imagination Floor, the outdoor Discovery Corner, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Creativity Floor. They also have a whopping 50 activities for your students. Investigate artifacts, study cave drawings, play doctor, and even learn about air pressure and wind resistance.

Tom Ridge Environmental Center
Photo courtesy of the TREC Foundation.

2. Presque Isle State Park/Tom Ridge Environmental Center

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) holds several education programs and opportunities for those of all ages, such as (the):

  • DiscoverE Program
  • Pennsylvania Envirothon
  • Think Outside Program
  • Pennsylvania Project Learning Tree
  • Wildlife Education
  • Water Education
  • Geology Education
  • Recreational Skills
  • Land Conservation and Stewardship

Presque Isle State Park, part of the DCNR, is a 3,200-acre peninsula and National Natural Landmark. The size of the park allows for many of the state’s endangered, threatened, and rare species to thrive, which, in turn, presents a myriad of observation and learning opportunities! Specifically, Presque Isle State Park hosts hands-on activities, guided walks, and evening programs. Additionally, the park is open every day of the year from 5:00 AM to sundown.

If you’re searching for an indoor field trip near Presque Isle, visit the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, a 65,000 square-foot facility that showcases the park’s diverse ecosystems!

3. Port Farms

If you’re looking for a source of outdoor education, take a ride out to Port Farms! Established in 1897, the farm has become so much more than your go-to source of local produce. Whether you’re an educator planning your class’s next field trip or a parent or guardian homeschooling your children, Port Farms has many activities that will teach and inspire! At our outdoor learning farm, children can:

  • Learn Spookley the Square Pumpkin’s story as they take a self-guided walk through the Spookley kids corn walk maze
  • Pick their special pumpkin from the school tour kids pumpkin area
  • Take pictures with our air-inflated Spookley
  • Enjoy a great day with the class in a beautiful fall setting

We even provide a lesson plan ahead of time. If you’d like to schedule a visit to the farm, fill out the form on our website, call us at 814-796-4500 x247, or email kelly@portfarms.com!

Yahn Planetarium at Penn State Behrend college.
Photo courtesy of Penn State Behrend.

4. Yahn Planetarium

Good news: you don’t need expensive telescopes to explore space! From current events in astronomy and space science to a view of the night sky, the Yahn Planetarium at the Penn State Behrend campus provides a plethora of opportunities for those of all ages to learn more about the universe. Although closed temporarily due to COVID-19, the planetarium now offers educational virtual visits.

What’s more, schools can receive free admission during the regular school year (fall to spring)! Whether you’re a parent, guardian, educator, or youth group coordinator, you can choose from 18 different programs that address myths and misconceptions, facts, stories, and more about the universe beyond earth!

5. Erie Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Whether you opt for a guided or virtual tour, the Erie Zoo presents many educational opportunities for you and your students. From discussing the role of zoos in conservation and the intricacy of their breeding programs to observing the behaviors of the animals in the zoo, there is so much to learn! If these programs don’t work in your curriculum, there’s no need to worry: the zoo’s staff will tailor a tour to suit your educational needs upon request!

To schedule a field trip or school tour, visit their website, call Kim at (814) 864-4091 x247, or email kbowes@eriezoo.org!

ReLeaf planting session
Photo courtesy of ReLeaf.

6. Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier (LEAF)

The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park (LEAF) is a nonprofit partner for Frontier Park that plants trees and seeks to generate environmental awareness. Although the park’s events and attractions are currently paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the park is still open to visitors! There are also rental opportunities for the outdoor amphitheater and education center. Students can learn about the various types of trees, problem-solve to explore a labyrinth, and witness the 3rd green roof in Erie County in action!

ReLeaf, LEAF’s volunteer-based tree-planting initiative, is also still active and worth checking out! Find out more about how you and your students can participate in adopting a tree and making the planet greener with LEAF!

7. Erie County Public Library

You can’t go wrong with choosing a library for a field trip! On top of being free to access, libraries provide an endless amount of knowledge to digest. From rows and columns of books to computers and DVDs, there is something for everyone. The third floor of the library, known as the Mead Children’s Library, offers storytimes, hands-on STEM workshops, art classes, and plenty of special events for learning!

Contact Outreach Services to plan a general or research tour, consult the events calendar, or call 920-459-3400, ext. 3!

Educational Fun for All

Field trips should be exciting for students of all ages, which is why Port Farms, your go-to source for making learning fun, has over 37 attractions and programs that touch upon several PA academic standards! Advanced registration is required, and the tours end in late October, so hurry and book your school tour today!