There are so many places to visit in New York for kids. How do you choose where to spend a one-day trip in New York, especially if you are planning New York field trips that are both fun and educational? Whether or not you live in the state, you can seek out homeschool field trips that range from industry exploration in the cities to agricultural history museums in the rural areas. The range of experiences from Western New York to downstate New York can be both overwhelming and exciting. Regardless of which part of the state you are exploring, you will find many things to do in New York with kids that even the adults will enjoy.
Educational Field Trips in New York
Choosing an educational field trip in New York can be difficult because there is so much to do. How can you find places where your kids can learn while enjoying themselves? You can try going to your local, regional or city webpages for field trip ideas or continue reading for some suggestions for resources and fun day trips in New York by category:
Agriculture & Farming
“The Battery Urban Farm is an educational farm where New York City’s students, residents, and visitors experience sustainable farming, enjoy tasting organic fresh foods, and learn environmental stewardship. The farm was developed in 2011 by The Battery Conservancy in response to a request for a vegetable garden by eight students from neighboring Millennium High School. From those eight students, we now engage over 5000 students from over 100 schools and community volunteers who annually grow thousands of pounds of vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains, and flowers.” The Battery, State Street and Battery Place, New York, NY 10004. (212) 344-3491.
The Dutch Colonial style farmhouse was built on this site by c. 1784. Opened as a museum in 1916, today it is nestled in a small garden and is an extraordinary reminder of early Manhattan and an important part of its diverse Inwood neighborhood…. Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, the last farmhouse in Manhattan, is a vital cultural asset in New York City.” 4881 Broadway at 204th Street, New York, New York 10034. Call (212) 304-9422.
“Welcome to the world-famous Empire State Building. Located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, our 86th and 102nd floor observatories provide unforgettable 360° views of New York City and beyond. Whether you’re in town for a week or a day, no visit to NYC is complete without experiencing the top of the Empire State Building.” 16 W 34th Street, NY 10118.
“Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) designed a unique residential estate for wealthy Buffalo businessman Darwin D. Martin and his family between 1903-1905. The most substantial and highly developed of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Houses in the Eastern United States, The Darwin D. Martin House received National Historic Landmark status in 1986. The house is considered by leading Frank Lloyd Wright scholars as one of Wright’s finest achievements of the Prairie period and, indeed, of his entire career.” 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14214. (877) 377-3858.
Learn about architecture through educational workshops. “LEGOLAND® Discovery Centers have collaborated with LEGO® Education to provide unique, high quality learning experiences…. Twice a year, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester hosts special homeschool weeks. For two weeks in January and September, enjoy a reduced admission rate of $11 per child (without any group minimum) and experience all we have to offer at the Center, including complimentary LEGO Education Workshops taking place throughout the day!” 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710. (844) 740-9223.
“The Corning Museum of Glass is a not-for-profit museum dedicated to exploring a single material: glass. Annually welcoming just under half a million visitors from around the world, the Museum’s campus is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of glass, the world’s foremost library on glass, and one of the top glassworking schools in the world…. Guests can learn about the science and technology behind innovations in glass through hands-on exhibits in the science and technology gallery, called the Innovation Center. They can explore the concepts behind optics, vessels and windows and meet the innovators who have changed our world using glass.” 1 Museum Way, Corning, NY 14830. (800) 732-6845.
“The Met Cloisters, which opened to the public in 1938, is the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.” Enjoy interactive family programs, children’s classes, child rates on selected concerts throughout the year, and art and culture festivals and special events. 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, New York, NY 10040. (212) 923-3700.
“Founded in 1899 as the world’s first children’s museum, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) is New York City’s largest cultural institution designed especially for families. Proudly based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, BCM serves 300,000 children and caregivers annually with exhibits and programs grounded in visual arts, music and performance, natural science, and world cultures.” 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11213. (718) 735-4400.
“Children’s Museum of the Arts is a non-profit art museum that aims to introduce the transformative power of the arts to all children and their families. Our staff of professional artists guide and mentor young artists ages 10 months to 15 years through fun and advanced art projects in professionally equipped studios, across a variety of techniques and mediums including printing, drawing, painting, weaving, sewing, photography, animation, filmmaking, editing, songwriting, sculpting, graphic novel, and more!” 182 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel (212) 274-0986.
“Named “Best Museum” by Hudson Valley Magazine in 2019 and 2017, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (MHCM) is the ideal destination for families with young children. With exhibits that focus on early literacy, art, early STEM, health and the local community, the museum welcomes 80,000 visitors each year and provides an educationally rich environment through which children have the opportunity to develop foundational skills, to engage in purposeful play, and to develop interpersonal connections.” 830 South Road, Suite 155, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. (914) 297-5938.
“The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the United States and one of the leading museums serving families. The Strong houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. The Strong’s multifaceted array of research, exhibits, and other interpretive and educational activities serve a diverse audience of adults, families, children, students, teachers, scholars, collectors, and others around the globe.” One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607. (585) 263-2700.
“Costumed interpreters discuss & demonstrate the daily lives of the first European settlers in the Upper Delaware River Valley and their place in local and early American Revolutionary War history. Blacksmithing, candle making, farming, cabin keeping, musketry & military drills, cannon firings and more.” 6615 State Route 97, Narrowsburg, NY 12764. (845) 252-6660.
“The Museum at Eldridge Street is housed in the Eldridge Street Synagogue, a magnificent National Historic Landmark that has been meticulously restored. Opened in 1887, the synagogue is the first great house of worship built in America by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Today, it is the only remaining marker of the great wave of Jewish migration to the Lower East Side that is open to a broad public who wish to visit Jewish New York. Exhibits, tours, cultural events and educational programs tell the story of Jewish immigrant life, explore architecture and historic preservation, inspire reflection on cultural continuity, and foster collaboration and exchange between people of all faiths, heritages and interests.” 12 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002. (212) 219-0302.
“Through authentic and unique learning experiences, the DiMenna Children’s History Museum invites multi-generational families to meaningfully connect with American’s past, present and future. The exhibits, collections, programs, and staff challenge visitors to grow up with history. Targeted for children ages 8–13, the DiMenna Children’s History Museum focuses on the life stories of a diverse selection of youngsters who lived in New York City from the late seventeenth through the twentieth centuries.” 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024. (212) 873-3400.
Industry & Technology
Entrepreneurship Tours in New York City
“In middle school and high school, students are often asked what they want to be when they leave academia. What major do they want to study, which college should they go to…. However, many young students have a burning passion for business, technology, and other fields that lend well to entrepreneurship. For those inspiring souls, seeing is better than believing. Take them on a tour of one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the entire world, New York City, and grant them an inside look into the real world of business.”
“The Weill Music Institute strives to develop creativity, imagination, and musical curiosity in people of all ages by presenting free and affordable programs for children and families. These highly engaging experiences at Carnegie Hall involve the entire family, strengthening connections and promoting the value of play in early childhood development.” 881 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019. (212) 903-9600.
“Central Park is one of the best birding spots in the United States, attracting birders from all over the world. Birds migrating, spring and fall, along the East Coast find Central Park a welcoming place to rest and stoke up energy for the next leg of their journey…. Since the creation of Central Park, more than 280 bird species have been recorded.” Central Park, New York, NY 10022. (212) 310-6600.
“The animals and exhibits at the Bronx Zoo span the globe and include tiny toads from Tanzania and big cats from the Russian Far East. With more than 700 species, the zoo is the perfect place to inspire animal lovers of all ages. Part of our mission is to connect visitors to wildlife and inspire them to join our conservation work.” 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10460. (718) 220-5100.
“Built on a historic, elevated rail line, the High Line was always intended to be more than a park…. Bring the whole family to the High Line! This is a great place to explore public art, horticulture, and history anytime. We also host special family programs throughout the year. So come play, create, and learn together.” The High Line, New York, NY 10014. (212) 500-6035.
“The Museum offers engaging experiences for every age and interest. Tour the permanent collection and dynamic exhibitions of American art that range from nineteenth-century Hudson River School paintings to contemporary art installations; and explore Gilded Age decorative arts in the period rooms of our historic home, Glenview, built in 1877, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Excited by science and astronomy? Find out about the mysteries and discoveries of the cosmos in our state-of-the-art Planetarium…. Learn all about the Hudson River…. Come see a dance or music performance, participate in a lecture and discussion, or learn about what’s happening in the night sky on the very day you visit.” 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10701. (914) 963-4550.
“The Paleontological Research Institution’s Museum of the Earth was established in 2003 to provide the general public with a unique opportunity to explore our world through a mix of natural history displays, interactive science features, and art exhibitions. The museum’s 8,000-square-foot permanent exhibition takes visitors on a journey through 4.5 billion years of history, from the Earth’s origin to the present day. Through hands-on, visual exhibitions and outreach, the Museum of the Earth encourages critical thinking about life on Earth in the past and today, and how our species is affecting the natural world.” 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850. (607) 273-6623.
Homeschool Wild Days are once a month get-togethers at a deep ecology center, featuring a science lesson, a craft, and a shared lunch. Located in Herkimer County, the Shawanagunk Nature Preserve is a reasonable drive from Utica, Rome and many other places in central NY. 255 Shawangunk Road, Cold Brook, NY 13324. (315) 735-1329 or (315) 826-7405.
Science & Math Museum
“A significant part of the Museum’s collection of more than 700,000 specimens pertain to the Greater Niagara Region and form, by far, the most complete record of life in all of its forms in this area in anthropology, botany, entomology, mycology, paleontology and zoology. They provide a good representation of the present and past natural history of the Niagara Frontier of New York and adjacent Ontario, as well as material of worldwide provenance of value in teaching, exhibition and research.” 1020 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14211. (716) 896-5200.
“In 1988, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory established the DNA Learning Center (DNALC) as the world’s first science center devoted entirely to public genetics education. Founder and executive director David Micklos anticipated that there would be huge gaps in science curricula taught at even the finest schools and conceived a program that would better prepare students in 5th through 12th grades and their families to thrive in the gene age.” 334 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724. (516) 367-5170.
“We ignite curiosity, fuel creativity and unlock the passion for problem-solving and discovery with STEAM curricula, programs and interactive museum experiences designed to cultivate future leaders and engaged citizens.” 11 West Main, Riverhead, NY 11901. (631) 208-8000.
“The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology is a hands-on science and technology museum for people of all ages and includes the Silverman Planetarium and the only domed IMAX® theater in New York State. Discover, Learn & Play!” 500 South Franklin Street, Syracuse, NY 13202. (315) 425-9068.
“MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics, is an award-winning museum that highlights the role of mathematics in illuminating the patterns and structures all around us. Its dynamic exhibits, galleries, and programs are designed to stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics. The Museum’s innovative exhibits will engage visitors of every age, from 1 to 100!” 11 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010. (212) 542-0566.
“Discover over 450 exhibits, events, and workshops designed to engage ages 1 to 100. With over 100,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space, plus 60,000 square feet of outdoors, you’ve got room to explore!” 47-01 111th Street, Corona, NY 11368. (718) 699-0005.
“Roberson Museum and Science Center is the area’s premier destination for community events, interactive exhibitions, and engaging education programs in art, history and science education.” 30 Front Street, Binghamton, NY 13905. (607) 722-0660.
“Our 106-year tradition of science learning remains strong and is continuously growing, from our newly renovated Strasenburgh Planetarium where we can discover the wonders of our universe; to the Cumming Nature Center with its 900 acres, six miles of idyllic trails, and innovative Forest School; to the Science Museum where fun, hands-on exploration sparks wonder and accomplishment, and where exploring the past helps us become better citizens today. Discovery and wonder await us around every turn.” 657 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607. (716) 271-4552.
“miSci is home to an exclusive archive and collection, a Challenger Learning Center, the Suits-Bueche Planetarium, and various special exhibitions and programs each year. miSci’s vast archives house more than 1.6 million prints and negatives from the General Electric Photographic Collection; a collection with more than 3,500 cubic feet of historical materials; and more than 15,000 objects relating to the history of science and technology. Featuring dynamic permanent and traveling exhibitions, state-of-the-art space learning centers, standards based education for K-12 classes, and special programming for teens and adults, miSci offers patrons hand-on exploration while fostering an understanding and appreciation of STEAM subjects and careers.” 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady, NY 12308. (518) 382-7890.
“The Sciencenter cultivates a broad community of curious, confident, critical thinkers. Our non-profit, hands-on museum offers guests of all ages more than 250 exhibits, educational programs, a gift shop, and seasonal outdoor science playground and mini-golf course. Explore, connect, and create through science at the Sciencenter.” 601 First Street, Ithaca, NY 14850. (607) 272-0600.
“Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation…. Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907. Visitors can board the vintage cars, sit at the wheel of a city bus, step through a time tunnel of turnstiles, and explore changing exhibits that highlight the cultural, social and technological history – and future – of mass transit.” 99 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. (718) 243-8601.
Additional New York Field Trip Resources
If you are brainstorming New York day trips, check out these resources and online lists:
“The number of family-friendly happenings in New York City on any given day is enough to overwhelm most parents. Our city plays host to top-notch museums and art, creative play spaces, amazing parks and playgrounds, and even amusement parks, all of which pump out fun children’s programming year-round. Even NYC restaurants get into the game, hosting dedicated kid play spaces, events, and cool DIY opportunities like ice cream and chocolate making. Yet every year, our kids suddenly grow up on us a little more…. So enjoy this list of 100 things to do in NYC, whether you’re a local or a visitor trying to experience the very best of our city.”
This is a list of museums and community tourism within the New York City region.
This is a book by Eileen Ogintz (2012). “The Kid’s Guide to New York City is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide for taking kids into the City.”
This is a book by Angela Hederman (2014). “The Little Bookroom Guide to New York City with Children focuses on what parents with good taste want to know: how to see New York City in a child-centered way… without passing up any of the city’s sophisticated food, sights, or shops just because the kids are along. Organized around EAT, PLAY, SHOP, and STAY, the authors take you to well-known museums and attractions, but also take you out of tourist-thronged Midtown and into corners of the city that New Yorkers themselves love to take their children.”
A list of all the museums in New York City.
Do you have a location that would make a good field trip in New York? Let me know in the comments below or contact me to get it added!