McDowell Creek Falls
This beautiful park is located in Linn County. The hike to the falls is about 1.1 miles round trip, which would make for a beautiful nature walk for your class. You could dive into a geology lesson or science inquiry as your students observed thier surroundings and stood in awe at these beautiful falls. Bonus... It's FREE!!!
Who doesn't love the zoo? While it would be an all day event, it would be a great wrap up to an animal unit, allowing the students a chance to view the animals they researched. The zoo will do a group rate for field trips which helps with cost, or if you go on the second Tuesday of the month admission is only $4. Located in Portland Oregon, this is a fun way to explore some of earths cool creatures.
Portland Children's Museum
This museum is a hands-on kid wonderland! They have rotating themes, the upcoming one is Storyland. I have been told to reserve an entire day because the kids will want to stay and play as long as possible. The fee is a little bit high for students but it sounds like they might have different scholarships for schools to help offset the cost. It is located right next to the Portland Zoo and is sure to inspire your kids to get out there and explore their surroundings. This is how all science museums should be!
Oregon Coast Aquarium
What a fun way to explore the oceans creatures. The under water tunnel that you can walk through is very very neat and will allow students to just sit/stand and observe all that is around them for quite sometime because it is constantly changing. The admission prices seem to continue to rise, but once again they do have large group rates and special discounts if you go at certain parts of the year. This is a field trip that you should pair with the Hatfield Marine Science Center or just a long walk on the beach with your students so that you are sure to make the best of your trip since it is a bit of a drive.
Hatfield Marine Science Center
A free substitute to the aquarium. If classroom funds are tight this this a great alternative that is free to attend. They have little "tide pools" where the students can actually touch the anemone and starfish which is always a big hit. Allow plenty of time for the kids to just work their way around and play/touch everything. If you are at the coast, make sure to walk along the beach to allow your students to find their own shells and look for real tide pools to look at.
Eugene's Science Factory
Located right in Eugene, this is a trip that you don't want to miss. When I took my first grade class we paired the science factory with the observatory since we had just wrapped up our solar system and the kids loved being able to see all the planets they had worked so hard to learn about. Lots of different options to schedule for your field trip and tons for your class to do.
Fish Hatcheries in Oregon
Kids of all ages will love feeding the fish. When I took my preschoolers one of the employees actually allowed my students to feel some of the fish eggs and look at a fish that was cut open (gross, but super cool). There are fish hatcheries located all over Oregon which ensure that one is just a short distance away from your school. It is a good lesson on the life cycle. Also, ask about hatching out fish in your own classroom. The hatchery provides the tank and eggs and your students get to watch the whole process from start to finish and then release your fingerlings into the wild.
Crater Lake National Park
I am hoping to eventually teach in either Chiloquin or Klamath Falls which means that Crater Lake will be right in our backyard. The trails would allow for nature walks, observations, a geology lesson on Mt. Mazama's eruption, and a history lesson of the creation of the National Parks. There are tour guides available to walk your class through the highlights which ensure that you don't miss anything.
Southern Oregon Attractions
Crack in the Ground, Fort Rock, the Homestead Village, and much more. If I end up in Southern Oregon these trips will help to incorporate the local history and culture. It is my understanding that most of these trips are free which is an added bonus. A great addition to any geology lesson, crack in the ground is sure to intrigue your students.
An interactive zoo. My fondest memories of the wildlife safari are of an ostrich pecking our windshield as we were leaving. Talk about a way to spark some passion about wildlife in your students. You can drive around and view lions, bears, emus, and other fun creatures from the comfort of your car. The website says you are allowed to drive your bus through the park which might cut back on cost. If you can't make it to the zoo, this might be a good alternative.
More than just pretty flowers, the Oregon Gardens is home to trees, flowers, shrubs, water lilies, and bushes. When I went with my first graders we had an employee who gave us a lesson on the different types of pine trees and the animals who call the forest home. There are so many different species of plants to look at and it would be a great addition to a biology lesson or plant life cycles.
Oregon Lava Tubes in Bend
Thanks April for this great idea! I knew there were lots of cool places in Eastern Oregon but I didn't know about this one. What a great prelude to Earth's layers. The website says to dress warm because the tube is only about 47 degrees. It might be fun to have all of your students bring their own flashlights and become explorers of the underground tunnels.
Right now for a $2 additional fee you can do a Mythbusters explosive exhibition! How cool is that!! Along the same lines of the Portland Children's Museum, Omsi provides your students with a hands-on learning experience.
Cascades Raptor Center
A review to follow after our field trip on the 16th. I am excited to see what the Raptor center has to offer.
Nearby Nature - Eugene
http://www.nearbynature.org/ Nature walk meets science! Take a tour of Alton Baker park with knowledgeable guides and see what you can find! From native plants to scurrying animals, there's something for everyone.
Dorris Ranch - Eugene
http://www.willamalane.org/pages/parks/dorris.shtml Travel back in time to the pioneer days. Knowledgeable tour guides re-create the past on this Filbert Orchard. Students have the opportunity to dress like a pioneer and try some of those hands-on survival skills.
Hatfield Marine Science Center - Newport
http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/ Kids will love touching anemones and starfish! If time allows, you can schedule an outing to the nearby beach with knowledgeable guides ready to show you the mysteries that lie beneath the waves.
Leaburg Fish Hatchery - Leaburg
Kids will love to see the fish, tiny and big, swimming in the pools. Watch them laugh as they throw in handfuls of food and the fish jump for it!
Hult Center - Eugene
http://www.hultcenter.org/ There are shows throughout the year, including plays and children's symphonies. You can even learn about the planets through music!
Herrick Farms - Walterville
Visit during October and ride the hay truck to the pumpkin patch. Or come in the spring and see how seedlings are planted. You can even try it yourself!
Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum - McMinnville
A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village - Salem
1. Mt. Pisgha Arboretum: This is the longest running environmental education program of this kind in lane county. It is a 209 acre living tree museum with riverside trails, wildflower meadows, and a diverse abundance of wildlife. They provide nature guided tours for students K-5 and supplement with activities and games.
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History: Located at the University of Oregon the museum explores 15,000 years of human history and 200 million years of geology. The exhibits are flexible and constantly changing however, the collections are constant. For example, there is a paleontology collection featuring fossils from all continents, an anthropology collection featuring archaeological holdings that span more than 14,000 years combined with global ethnographic objects, and a zoology collection that contains samples of modern Oregon animals since the late 1800's. The museum offers a variety of educational programs and events for students K-12, teachers, families, and community members. They conduct guided tours for parties of 6 or more that range from 45 to 60 minutes.
Delta Ponds: Located behind the Valley River Center mall this 150 acre network of ponds, sloughs, waterways, and casual recreation area has been reclaimed from the devastation of deforestation and mining in the 1950's. This area is a major haven for wildlife and is home to a wide variety of species that include over 100 species of birds, numerous fish and aquatic species. For example, young salmon, steelhead, and the threatened Western Pond Turtle. It is also used as a nursery for the Canada Goose. There are activities such as birdwatching, wildlife viewing platforms, nature walks, wildflower identification, and nearby biking and running trails. It is free to the public and open all year.
6. Whitaker Fire Department: This fire department is unique in that it is an actual training center for firefighters. They encourage and provide community outreach by visiting schools and providing tours of the facility. There is a structure that they set on fire (not while students are present) and train on the techniques of putting out the flames. Students can also tour the station house and see the fire engines, ambulances, sleeping and eating areas for personnel, and equipment. They also provide specialized career tours for highschool students and a more in depth hands on women's camp.
7. Fish Hatchery: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Leaburg Hatchery was built in 1953 to mitigate for the loss of fishing opportunity because of the many dams on the Willamette Basin Rivers. The hatchery rears Rainbow Trout and Steelhead. They offer a viewing platform allowing visitors to see the spring spawning of Chinook Salmon. Earthen Japanese gardens provide viewing of Sturgeon, Chinook Salmon, Cutthroat, and Rainbow Trout. It is open to the public year round from dawn to dusk.