Best Bets on Homeschool Field Trips

Check out these spots for hands-on learning.
John Huneycutt
Educator Kate Shaner and Aragorn, the Peregrin Falcon, delight students on the Raptor Trail.

For home-schooled learners, Charlotte-area museums and venues are creating home-school days and programming with emphasis on science, technology, nature, art and history that include a robust list of activities. Many of the activities scheduled at these venues meet curriculum requirements. Whether new to home schooling or someone who has home-schooled for years, take advantage of what these area venues offer families.

Science and Technology

Carolinas Aviation Museum

4672 1st Flight Drive, Charlotte 

The Carolinas Aviation Museum is a great place for a science and technology field trip. Children can let their imaginations fly while learning about aviation. Four times throughout the year, the museum offers Homeschool Days with guided tours and education stations. Homeschool Days are appropriate for children ages 5-18.


Photo by Lowell Warner

Carolina Raptor Center

6000 Sample Road, Huntersville

The Carolina Raptor Center offers Homeschool Days every few months that include trail walks, scavenger hunts, crafts, and time with the birds, as well as $2 off the regular admission price. The programs meet many science-based goals in home schooling curriculum and are created with children in grades K-8 in mind.

Discovery Place Nature

1658 Sterling Road, Charlotte

Discovery Place Nature offers frequent programs for home-schooled children. Kids can take a class about geocaching and learn how to use a handheld GPS system or go to the “Stars and Stories” program to hear ancient stories about constellations. Other classes cover ecosystems and animal life cycles. Programs are presented in age categories — grades K-2, grades 3-5 or grades 6-8 — and often overlap in time so that siblings of different age groups can attend field trips at the same time. Call ahead to book a spot.

Discovery Place Science

301 N. Tryon St., Charlotte

Discovery Place Science offers an assortment of programs for students in grades K-8. Learn about anatomy, energy, plants, sounds, and climate change. There is often more than one program going on at the same time, so siblings of different age groups can simultaneously attend a program.

Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation 

Various locations

Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation nature preserves and centers offer educational programs about biodiversity, animals and fossils that can supplement home-school curricula. Most programs are for students age 5 to 14, but there are some guided hikes and programs for older teens.

Patterson Farm 

10390 Caldwell Road, Mount Ulla

Patterson Farm offers educational tours suited for young children. Take a farm tour to learn about changes in farming through the years, and go on a Treasure Mine Adventure Tour to learn differences between rocks and minerals. Geocaching tours are available during the summer, and Corn Maize tours are available in the fall. Call to make reservations.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., Charlotte

The U.S. National Whitewater Center offers programming for home-schoolers in grades K-12. Participants are put into groups with children of similar age. The price for admission to the programming includes a day pass to the center. After learning about the Catawba River, engineering or animal habitats, explore the grounds and see what other events are happening.

US National Whitewater Center

Credit: USNWC


Historic Latta Plantation

5225 Sample Road, Huntersville

Historic Latta Plantation was a cotton plantation in the 1800s. Guests can take tours of the grounds and learn about life on the plantation. Homeschool Days that include a living-history lesson with re-enactors dressed in costume from the 19th century happen a few times throughout the year. The plantation also rents Traveling Trunks that contain books, replica clothes, games and toys that help children learn about life in the 18th and 19th century. The plantation and its various events and resources are geared towards students of all ages.

The Schiele Museum of Natural History

1500 E. Garrison Blvd, Gastonia

Learn about tools from the stone age, American Indians and North Carolina’s natural history, and enjoy a planetarium show. Programs are offered to suit many grade levels and curricula guidelines.


Courtesy of Schiele Museum of Natural History


Mint Museum

Uptown | 500 S. Tryon St., Charlotte

Randolph | 2730 Randolph Road, Charlotte

Attend art workshops or photography classes. Children age 6-12 can join an afterschool art club. If you don’t want to sign your child up for a class, simply visit the museum. Since the exhibits offer an array of different types of art, a visit to the museum can teach your child about art, history and culture.

Addie Gottwald is a graduate of Davidson College who now lives in SouthEnd.