Field Trips & Tours

As education research emphasizes the importance of hands-on learning, field trips are increasingly attractive ways for parents and teachers to increase kids’ engagement in what they learn. Many listings throughout our Family Resource Guide can also serve as field trip ideas, so be sure to check sections like Museums & Historical Sites and Science & Nature.

BUTTE COUNTY

Bidwell Mansion; Chico. Learn about the area’s history with a guided tour of a three-story, 26-room historic mansion, carriage house & grounds. The Bidwell mansion was one of the first to utilize gas lighting. http://www.bidwellmansionpark.com. 525 Esplanade. (530) 895-6144.

California State University, Chico Outdoor Classroom. CSU Chico’s Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve offers a free, hands-on, outdoor classroom opportunity for all students, teaching kids the importance of wisely stewarding our valuable natural resources. Find out more at http://www.csuchico.edu/bccer/education/outdoored. To inquire about reservations, email Jon Aull at aulljon@csuchico.edu.

Bolt’s Antique Tool Museum; Oroville. View the largest-known documented collection of hand tools in the United States! Celebrates the tools that built our world, with over 12,000 items on display. Group discounts & tours available. http://www.boltsantiquetools.com. 1650 Broderick St. (530) 538-2528.

Bricks 4 Kidz; Chico. Field trips, classes & camps offer children of all ages an imaginative, 3-dimensional, hands-on learning experience using LEGO® bricks to explore architecture, engineering & technology concepts. For preschools: teachers can come to you with a variety of educational themes available. http://www.bricks4kidz.com/california-chico. 1141 Forest Ave., Ste. 40. (530) 332-9172.

Chico Children’s Museum. Opening soon! Visit the website to see how you can help bring this project to life. http://www.chicochildrensmuseum.org. 325 Main St. (530) 520-7685.

Chico Community Observatory. Schedule a docent-led evening astronomy experience for your school or private group. Open on clear nights Fri, Sat & Sun year-round. Summer: sunset – 10:45pm; Winter: approx. 6-9pm. Docents lead discussions about the night sky in an outside viewing area. Look through telescopes inside the building. Free. http://www.chicoobservatory.com. Near Horseshoe Lake in Upper Bidwell Park, look for sign at intersection of Wildwood Ave. & Observatory Way. 1 Observatory Way. (530) 487-4071.

Chico Creek Nature Center. Offers environmental education through a variety of programs including a live animal museum, field trips in Bidwell Park, the Thrive K-12 Learning Center, & other ongoing educational programs. http://www.bidwellpark.org. (530) 891-4671.

Chico Museum. Hosts changing exhibits, including prestigious traveling hands-on exhibits & exhibits that focus on local Chico & Butte county history. Classroom tours available http://www.chicomuseum.org. 141 Salem St. (530) 891-4336.

Chico Performances School Field Trip Series. Offers student groups an opportunity to see a variety of quality music & theater at reduced rates. Special shows are presented during school hours & are geared toward children, with an educational & entertainment focus. Ticket orders are on a first-come/first-served basis. Shows run Sep-May, held at CSU, Chico’s Laxson Auditorium. http://www.chicoperformances.com (“For the Kids” tab). (530) 898-6333.

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area; Gridley. Year-round wildlife viewing on a 9,100-acre wetland area managed for wildlife. In fall & winter see vast numbers of migratory waterfowl. Guided group tours & self-guided tours. Special events, wheelchair access, visitor’s museum & paved trail to viewing platform. http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/Places-to-Visit/Gray-Lodge-WA. Located along the Pacific Flyway, 3207 Rutherford Rd. Mon-Fri (530) 846-7500, Sat & Sun (530) 846-7505.

Lott Home; Oroville. The C. F. Lott Home in Sank Park was built in 1856 by Charles F. Lott, a gold-rush pioneer, California senator & judge. Book a guided school or group tour to learn captivating stories of the Lott family & their importance to early California history. View original furnishings, paintings, clothes, silver & more. The house & garden encompass an entire city block at 1067 Montgomery St. (530) 538-2401.

National Yo-Yo Museum; Chico. Featuring the world’s largest public display of yo-yos & yo-yo memorabilia. Holds weekly yo-yo club practices & spring/fall contests for kids. Free. Open to the public 7 days a week. http://www.nationalyoyo.org. 320 Broadway. (530) 893-0545.

Oregon City School; Oroville. Visit the oldest one-room school in Butte County; see photos of students of the olden days. A California Historical Landmark, Oregon City was one of the county’s first mining camps, established in 1848 by a party of Oregonians led by Peter Burnett. Also see the Oregon City covered bridge & tour the nearby Cherokee Museum (by appointment). The school is open Sat & Sun, 1-4pm, or take a chance & toot your horn on weekdays & the caretaker will let you in. http://www.buttecountyhistoricalsociety.org. 2100 Oregon Gulch Rd. (530) 533-9418.

Paradise Depot Museum. Features a full-sized restored caboose in addition to its star attraction: a 30-foot working HO gauge model of the Butte County Railroad. Kids have a blast running the button-operated model representing the 33-mile rail line that ran between Chico & Stirling City. Project of the Gold Nugget Museum: Open Sat & Sun 12-4pm.  http://www.goldnuggetmuseum.com Paradise Community Park, 5570 Black Olive Dr. (530) 877-1919 or (530) 872-8722.

Paradise Gem & Mineral Club. Join this fun group for adventures that inspire appreciation for rocks & minerals, earth sciences, lapidary techniques & general rock hounding. Monthly activity nights & field trips that include rock hunting & trips to gem & rock shows. http://www.paradisegem.org. (530) 343-0894.

Patrick Ranch Museum; located between Chico & Durham on the Midway. Dedicated to enhancing the  understanding & appreciation of the area’s rich agricultural heritage. See exhibits & tour the first floor of the historic Glenwood Farmhouse, built in 1877. Fun & educational annual events include the California Nut Festival (Apr), the Country Faire & Threshing Bee (Jun), the Omega Nu Barn Dance (Sep) & AutumnFest (Oct). School & group tours available. patrickranchmuseum.org. 10381 Midway. (530) 342-4359.

Rancho Esquon; Durham. A working farm & wetland wildlife preserve. Hands-on learning activities, egg salvage facility.
http://www.ranchoesquon.com. (530) 891-8455.

Ron’s Reptiles; Chico. Visit to see a variety of lizards, snakes & amphibians, or Ron will come to you for club or school assemblies in Butte & Tehama Counties. Open five days/week. http://www.ronsreptiles.com. 44 Rock Creek Rd. (530) 893-2095.

The National Heirloom Exposition Field Trip; Santa Rosa. Teachers/schools can apply for a transportation grant to help kids participate in the world’s largest heritage food event, held annually in September at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Event is geared for children & features educational activities, exhibits, a Kids’ Pavilion, food tastings, contests & acclaimed speakers, all celebrating the pure food movement. Youth ages 17 yrs & under admitted free. Info: http://www.theheirloomexpo.com.

The Worm Farm; Durham. Family farm featuring 9,600 linear feet of windrows of redworms. Learn about vermicomposting at this popular field trip destination. Hands-on group tours year-round by appointment. Wear gardening clothes when visiting! Provides gardeners with a means of producing healthy plants while positively affecting the environment. http://www.thewormfarm.net. 9033 Esquon Rd., 7 miles south of Chico. (530) 894-1276.

Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology at CSU, Chico. Museum tours with free admission, classroom field trips, workshops & camps. anthromuseum@csuchico.edu.  http://www.csuchico.edu/anthmuseum. Located in the Meriam Library complex. (530) 898-5397.

MARIN COUNTY

Guide Dogs for the Blind; San Rafael. School groups grades 2 & up can tour the facilities to learn how guide dogs assist blind people. All tours are at 10am & require advance reservation. Tours can also attend canine graduations. http://www.guidedogs.com. 350 Los Ranchitos Rd. (415) 400-4000.

Marine Mammal Center; Sausalito. With tours tailored for every age, the Marine Mammal Center exposes kids to the importance of healthy oceans for humans & marine mammals alike. The center rescues & rehabilitates sea mammals. http://www.marinemammalcenter.org (415) 289-7325.

NEVADA COUNTY

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park; Nevada City. Hydraulic mining washed away mountains in pursuit of gold. Visit California’s largest hydraulic mine & learn about the gold mining era through the Environmental Living Program. Look for overnight options & tours guided by “Akali, The Last ‘49er.” Book early; schedule fills up quickly. Visitors center offers exhibits & info. http://www.malakoffdigginsstatepark.org. (530) 265-2740. 

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum; Nevada City. Dedicated to the preservation of local transportation history & artifacts from the narrow gauge railroad era. Offers docent-led historical tours of the museum, railyard & restoration shop. See wooden rail cars & much more, including an 1875 Baldwin locomotive that hauled lumber, passengers & freight, then was a movie engine at Universal Studios in Hollywood. School & group tours available. Free admission. http://www.ncngrrmuseum.org. 5 Kidder Ct. (530) 470-0902.

PLACER COUNTY

Maidu Museum & Historic Site; Roseville. Offers memorable field trips for schools, youth groups & homeschool groups. Includes a guided tour of the museum’s Native American cultural exhibits, activities & a trail tour of the historic site. Programs meet CA history & social science content standards for preK–6th grade. A shorter program is offered for preK–2nd & special needs groups. http://www.roseville.ca.us/indianmuseum. 1970 Johnson Ranch Dr. (916) 774-5934.

SACRAMENTO

California State Fair Farm School Tour Program; Sacramento. In spring & fall, students grades K-6 will enjoy a 1.5-2 hour tour of the California State Fair Farm’s crops & interactive stations, including a functioning greenhouse. Highlights California agricultural history, seeds, crop growing & innovations in farming, soil & worm composting. Produce tasting too.  http://www.CAStateFair.org/farmtours.(916) 263-3277.

California State Capitol Museum & Building Tour; Sacramento. Expose kids to where laws are born & history is made! Free guided school tours by reservation. 1315 10th St. (866) 240-4655.

California State Railroad Museum; Sacramento. Offers several school field trip opportunities including free entry reservation for grades K-12, where students can see the Railroad Museum’s 21 restored locomotives & railroad cars, talk with uniformed docents & view exciting ever-changing exhibits. 125 I St. (916) 323-9280.

Esquire IMAX Educational Films; Sacramento. Large format films accompanied by activity guides that that support national education standards for science, geography, math & English. Films let groups encounter wild animals, swim to the bottom of the sea, & more! Adventures in Wild California is especially appropriate for grades 4-8. http://www.imax.com/sacramento. (916) 446-2333 ext. 201.

Sacramento History Museum; Old Sacramento. Offering several educational programs for field trips, all adhering to California Curriculum Standards for History Social Studies & Life Science. Programs range from living history, Victorian-era mysteries, California Native American exhibits, Gold Rush experiences, underground tours &more. 101 I St. sachistorymuseum.org. (916) 808-7059.

SHASTA & TEHAMA COUNTIES

Build It; Redding. Field trips, after school classes, camps & birthday parties offer experiences in LEGO® robotics, computer programming, game design & development, animation & filmmaking, 3D modeling & more for ages 6-18. http://www.builditredding.com. 925 Merchant St., Ste. 2. (530) 638-3399.

City of Anderson Water Pollution Control Plant. Students of all ages can learn what happens to our sewage water in a field trip that takes them through the steps of sewage waste-water treatment before it is released into the Sacramento River. Students will view the microorganisms used in a natural biological process that treats the water. Located in the Anderson River Park, 3800 Rupert Rd. (530) 378-6665 or (530) 378-6664.

Coleman Fish Hatchery; Anderson. Explore one of the largest Chinook salmon & steelhead hatcheries in the lower 48 states! See the hatchery building, rearing raceways, fish ladder, Battle Creek Trail, spawning operations (Oct-Mar) & more. Open daily for informative self-guided tours. http://www.fws.gov/coleman. 24411 Coleman Fish Hatchery Rd. (530) 365-8622.

Court House Museum; Shasta. Part of Shasta State Historic Park. Bring your group to tour a former county courthouse restored to its 1861 appearance. Historical exhibits include early California artwork. See remains of brick buildings that were once the center of intense Gold Rush era activity; see historic roadways, cottages & cemeteries. Field trip guides for teachers online. 15312 Highway 299 W. (6 miles west of Redding). (530) 243-8194.

Gaumer’s Mineral & Mining Museum; Red Bluff. Educational & entertaining for visitors of all ages. Gold mining, fossils, Native American artifacts, rocks, crystals & fluorescent minerals. M-F, 9am-5pm. School tours available. http://www.gaumers.com. 78 Belle Mill Rd. (530) 527-6166.

Lake Shasta Caverns; Lakehead. Fun spelunking experience. Take a boat ride across Shasta Lake, then a scenic bus ride to the cavern entrance. Enjoy a one-hour guided tour through the caverns (2 hours total). http://www.lakeshastacaverns.com. 20359 Shasta Caverns Rd. (800) 795-CAVE (2283).

Makerspace; Red Bluff. “Hands-on, minds-on” learning is offered to Tehama County students, with activities that include electronics, graphic design, animation, coding, creative writing, engineering & videography. All activities are aligned with Common Core State Standards & built around the notion that learning can be meaningful & FUN! Call to reserve time slots. http://www.tehamaschools.org. 1135 Lincoln St (530) 528-7310.

Moore’s Flour Mill; Redding. While at the shop you can see the old-fashioned 19th-century millstones used at this wonderful local mill & store. Freshly-milled flour, oatmeal & other hot cereals, many different kinds of sugar, spices, teas, pasta, honey & other products that are mostly local & organic available for purchase. http://www.mooresflourmill.com. 1605 Shasta St. (530) 241-9245.

Reptile Parties; Tehama & Shasta Counties. Brings a fieldtrip to your school or group! Brings live snakes, lizards & turtles from around the world to you. Children can pet & hold these live ambassadors of their species. http://www.reddingreptileparties.com. (530) 226-5329.

Sacramento River Discovery Center; Red Bluff. Learn about science in an outdoor classroom! Activities include outings, elementary environmental education, seminars, summer camps & classes. Located on the Sacramento River. Walk native habitat trails, explore a two-acre native plant garden & more. http://www.sacramentoriverdiscoverycenter.com. 1000 Sale Ln. (530) 527-1196.

Schreder Planetarium; Redding. Offers educational programs for school & youth groups in a 1,700-square-foot planetarium with 10-meter projection dome. See the night sky projected in the dome & experience other engaging programming that blends science, technology, engineering, math & imagination. Supports preK–12th grade studies. http://www.schrederplanetarium.com. 1644 Magnolia Ave. Field trips: (530) 225-0243; Showtimes: (530) 225-0295.

Star Parties; Whiskeytown National Recreational Recreation Area, Shasta County. Join members of the Shasta Astronomy Club seasonally to view the amazing sights in the sky. Telescopes provided. Free event; weekly parking $10. Monthly or bi-monthly viewings held at Mt. Shasta Mine Loop trail parking lot. Begins 30 minutes after sunset, weather permitting. Visit: https://goo.gl/uEp0mR & http://www.shastaastronomyclub.org. (530) 246-1225.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park; Redding. Schedule a group adventure to learn about a variety of topics including science, art, history, forestry, native animal species, horticulture & more. http://www.turtlebay.org/learn. 844 Sundial Bridge Dr. To schedule a group field trip call (530) 242-3108.

Whiskeytown Environmental School Clear Creek Field Labs; A field trip series for grades K–4, with mini units based on California State Science Standards. Includes three pre-classroom lessons, a two–three hour field lab led by a naturalist, & a post classroom lesson. Program provided by the Shasta County Office of Education. http://www.shastacoe.org. Located in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. (530) 225-0111.

SISKIYOU COUNTY

Lava Beds National Monument; Tulelake. Site of the largest concentration of lava tube caves in North America. Offers ranger-led explorations & evening campfire programs that explore the monuments Native American history. Rangers help match children’s interests & capabilities to the numerous developed caves. http://www.nps.gov/labe/index.htm. 1 Indian Well Hqts. Tulelake. (530) 667-8113.

Liberty Arts “Explorations” Program; Yreka. 90-minute educational arts program for school grades K-12. Includes gallery tour, discussion & hands-on art project related to the current exhibition theme or processes. http://www.libertyartsyreka.org. 108 W. Miner St. (530) 842-0222.

Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery. The West’s oldest operating hatchery raises trout to stock mountain streams, rivers & lakes. Feed the fish & learn how they are raised. Tours by appointment. Free. Open daily. http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Hatcheries/Mount-Shasta. 3 N Old Stage Rd. (530) 926-2215.

River Dancers River & Kayak Adventures; Mt. Shasta. Adventures offered include family & school rafting trips. A great way to spend quality time together! Day outings & overnight multi-day camps. Trained guides help guests discover new ways to enjoy the environment while learning skills on the river. Includes swimming, water-play, learning about wildlife & good food. http://www.riverdancers.com. 705 Kenneth Way. (530) 925-0237.

Mt. Shasta Stargazers Club. Promotes interest in astronomy & related sciences. Educational & fun. Monthly meetings, star parties & other events. All welcome to attend. http://www.mtshastastargazers.com. (530) 918-9540.

Shasta Mountain Guides; Mt. Shasta. For families with older kids or teens who are ready for the challenges of rock climbing, mountain climbing or other customizable trips. Professional guides make the experience memorable. http://www.shastaguides.com. (530) 926-3117.

Siskiyou Arts Museum; Dunsmuir. Offers docent tours to schools & groups by appointment. http://www.siskiyouartsmuseum.org. 5824 Dunsmuir Ave. (530) 235-4711.

Sisson Museum; Mt. Shasta. School & private groups can tour the museum to view exhibits & enjoy hands-on fun with interactive displays. See a vintage fire truck, model railroad & locomotive engine control panel, play with old-fashioned toys. http://www.mtshastamuseum.com. Located at the Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery site, 1 N. Old Stage Rd. (530) 926-5508.

Weed Historic Lumber Museum. Enjoy logging & town memorabilia, including the town’s original jail cell! Off-season tours avail. by appt. Open daily except Tue late May-Sep 10am-5pm. 303 Gilman Ave. (530) 938-0550.

SOUTHERN OREGON

Great Cats World Park; Cave Junction. Exciting, interactive & educational 10-acre park that’s home to lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, ocelots, lynx, a fishing cat & more. Meet feline ambassadors; learn about the plight of rare & endangered cats. Watch trainers interact; guided school & private group tours. http://www.greatcatsworldpark.com. 27919 Redwood Hwy. (541) 592-2957.

Medford Railroad Park. Five railroad clubs operate this 7-acre site featuring full-size train cars, caboose, hopper car, locomotive, HO scale model track & trains, working telegraph system, & operating outdoor garden railway. Open 2nd & 4th Sun, Apr–Oct, 11am-3pm. Free train rides – see bridges, waterfalls, tunnels & hills. Children love the “Thomas the Train” loop led by Thomas & Percy. Reserve the pavilion for birthday parties. http://www.southernoregonlivesteamers.com. 799 Berrydale Ave. (541) 944-9176.

Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve; Cave Junction. Offers ranger-led cave tours late Mar–Nov., plus dining & gift gallery. Lodging is available mid May–Oct. at the 1934-built Oregon Caves Chateau, a National Historic Landmark  http://www.oregoncaveschateau.com. http://www.nps.gov/orca. 19000 Caves Highway. (for lodging reservations: (541) 592-3400 or (541) 592-2100.

ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum; Ashland. Offers fun & intriguing hands-on experiences promoting the exploration of science & the arts in a multi-sensory environment. School field trips & educator resources support instruction of content & process standards. Field trips options include the “Bee’s Knees” pollinator workshop, “Ready, Set, Roll” rollercoaster workshop and “Chemistry Conundrum,” an exploration in chemistry & states of matter. Visit the website for current offerings & special events. http://www.scienceworksmuseum.org. 1500 E. Main St. (541) 482-6767.

SUTTER COUNTY

Sutter Buttes Education Program; Yuba City. School hikes open up access to this unique, privately-owned mini mountain range from Oct to Mar. Tailored to grades, 3,4 & 5. Submit online form to inquire about scheduling a hike. http://www.middlemountainhikes.org. (530) 671-6116.

North State Parent
About North State Parent

North State Parent is a free monthly publication that circulates within five California counties: Butte, Glenn, Shasta, Southern Siskiyou and Tehama. Our pages are filled with family-oriented places to go, services and products geared for women and things to do; a focus on parenting, community, health, education, teens, youth, and much more.

Updated: Jul 14, 2017 @ 9:33 am