Any kid can tell you that the best part of school is the field trips. When you’re eight years old, even a trip to the supermarket is an exciting excursion – so of course even the smallest field trip was enough to blow your mind. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret… You don’t have to be eight years old to enjoy a nice field trip. In fact, you would never guess how much fun you might have if you cast your adult-hat aside and be a kid again for a day. Take the time to explore all those places you loved as a child, and you might just be surprised at how little things have changed. For a day of fun reliving your childhood, here are 12 field trips you have probably taken, and should definitely retake:
1. The Iowa State Capitol Building, Des Moines
Pretty much every kid in Iowa took the field trip to the Iowa State Capitol Building at least once. And even though you lost track of how many days it seemed like you were on the bus, when you got there and got to go all the way to the top of the dome, it was well worth the wait. As an adult, it's just as exciting to tour the magnificent capitol building, exploring every nook and cranny, looking for secrets hidden in the statehouse and pretending you're Nicholas Cage in National Treasure.
2. The Old Capitol Building, Iowa City
If you grew up in the Iowa City area, you probably got to tour the old capitol building instead. Recreate this field trip with a visit to the museum, complete with a brown-bag lunch to eat on the lawn!
3. Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines
Another one of those field trips that had you so anxious that you couldn't sleep the night before was the Blank Park Zoo. Be sure to pack your backpack early so you don't forget your disposable camera and zoo animals guide book. Bonus tip: as a more 'adult' field trip, make sure to visit for Zoo Brews, where you and your pals can enjoy a nice beer and live music after hours at the zoo.
4. The Iowa Children's Museum, Coralville
This place is heaven on Earth for school-kids, but hey, who says kids should have all the fun? Revisit this place as an adult. We promise you - it’s still just as fun.
5. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum, Council Bluffs
Were you that kid in school who was obsessed with the Wild West? If that’s the case, a field trip to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs was probably the highlight of your childhood. After all, what’s more notable about the Wild West than the early railroads that went through it - particularly the notorious train robbers, like Jesse James.
6. The Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, Cedar Falls
Another favorite of any artsy kid was the trip to the local theatre, where you were lucky enough to see your first play (most likely The Nutcracker). One particularly fun place is the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the UNI campus. Now that you’ve grown up a little, you can appreciate the fine arts in a whole new way by going to see one of the many plays, ballets, or other shows at Gallagher Bluedorn.
7. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, West Branch
When you’re a middle school student who gets told you have to go on a field trip to some library for some boring old president, your brain instantly goes to sleep. You’d rather just stay at school - at least there you have recess. But as an adult who has taken a few history lessons, you have a whole new appreciation for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and National Historic Site. It really must be a sign of aging when you get excited about libraries and history.
8. The Guthrie County Historical Village, Panora
Undoubtedly, when you were learning about pioneer life for history class, you went on a field trip to the nearest historical village. One particularly cool one is the Guthrie Center Historical Village, where you can view thousands of artifacts that explore the history of the area from 1850 to the early-20th Century. Call me a nerd, but history is cool - especially when it’s brought to life so well!
9. Living History Farms, Urbandale
Much like your local historical village, the Living History Farms in Urbandale are a staple in every teacher’s field trip planner. They say that the best way to learn is to do, and what better way to learn about the history of the Iowa Prairie than to send kids right back into the past. Not literally though, like with a time machine or anything, but just by recreating the past and bringing it back to life with fun, interactive exhibits. To be honest, this place is fascinating no matter what age you are, in fact, I think it becomes more fun as you get older!
10. The Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
As soon as any kid hears that he’s going on a trip to the Science Center, his eyes light up. Visions of dinosaur digs and space exploration dance through their minds. This one’s a bit newer, so you may not have had the pleasure of visiting this place as a child, but I promise you - visit as an adult and you will have every ounce as much fun as a kid would while doing the dino digs and exploring the solar system.
11. Sioux City Arts Center, Sioux City
Unleash your inner Picasso with a field trip to the Sioux City Art Center. Spend your day learning about the different styles of art, and don’t forget to bring a sketchbook so you can create your own masterpiece.
12. The Kaleidoscope Factory, Pocahontas
You probably never went on a field trip to this place as a kid, but you definitely should as an adult. Not only can you admire the enviable collection of kaleidoscopes in the shop, but you can also see how the magic is made by watching a demonstration of a kaleidoscope being created.
Man, life as a kid is good, huh? I wish I could be eight years old forever… Field trips rule! What are some of your favorite field trips in Iowa?