With Oregon’s stunning and diverse locations, there’s a ton of things to do! Which is one reason why Oregon is a great state for homeschoolers. Oregon field trips are a great way to enhance your child’s homeschool education, whether it’s adding it to your curriculum schedule or enjoying some delight-directed learning.
Our large and supportive homeschool network has shared their top favorite Oregon field trips for homeschoolers. And here they are!
*** What if you’re stuck at home due to illness, quarantine, or weather? There are some tips in here for that, too! ***
Stuck at Home?
Whether you’re struggling to go on field trips because of lockdowns or chronic illness, here are some tips that might help!
- We asked our Homeschooling in Oregon FB group what field trip destinations may still be open during restrictions. (Although it will vary depending on current restrictions, and we recommend calling first to check either way.)
Here’s what they said:
- “Schoch Dairy Farm! [Hillsboro] Buy some milk and check out the cows while you’re there.” – Beth
- “If people can tolerate some rain, it’s a great time to get outside and see fall mushrooms, migratory birds/waterfowl, and do some hiking.” – Kristen
- “TMK Creamery in Canby and Phillip Foster Farm in Estacada – These two places have allowed us to still take field trips at recently! Also Marion Acres in Hillsboro…” – Shannon
- Wildlife Safari in Winston, because you tour by driving through.
- Oregon Gardens has open space for social distancing and may be open during these times.
- Browse the big lists below for destinations at outdoor parks – they are more likely to be open than indoor venues!
- Try a virtual field trip!
- Oregon Capitol Tour from the Oregon State Capitol Foundation (you can even use a lot of this Oregon Capitol field trip packet from OCEANetwork for activities!)
- Online video events at the Oregon Zoo provided in lieu of in-person field trips
- Find 75 entertaining and educational ideas you can do indoors from this post at Learn in Color.
- Here are 100 easy P.E. ideas (to get the wiggles out!) from the Hess Un-Academy blog.
Coastal Oregon Field Trips
- Fort Clatsop: Lewis and Clark National Park, Astoria – What better way to tie in history studies of the explorers and Native Americans than to visit this as a part of your homeschool classroom?
- Fort Stevens, Astoria – Studying the Civil War or WWII and in between? Fort Stevens has a remarkable history of serving Oregon in battles.
- The Astoria Column, Astoria- Learning about early settlers? Visit the Astoria Column and visit the top. Scanning the Columbia River and landscape allows the imagination to help homeschool students to envision what the early settlers saw.
- Tillamook Cheese Factory, Tillamook – More than a cheese factory, homeschoolers may take a free self-guided tour, learn about dairy-farming, and stop by the Tillamook Creamery visitors center where ice cream and cheese may be enjoyed.
- The Tillamook Air Museum, Tillamook – Studying about airplanes or WWII? Then this is an excellent location for a homeschool field trip.
- Blue Heron Cheese Factory, Tillamook -Set in the beautiful country side of Tillamook, families can sample their famous Blue Heron Brie, gourmet foods, and wander through their wonderful petting farm for the kids to visit.
- Hug Point North Coast, near Seaside – This beach has Oregon history tied to it from the stagecoach days of old. It was the only way to travel along this stretch of coast before the highway was built. It has lovely scenery to enjoy, including a seasonal waterfall, sandstone caves, and tide pools.
- Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport – From homeschool days, to scheduling private classes, to their Visitor’s Exhibit, Hatfield Marine Science Center has a boatload of animal and plant coastal life for your homeschool students to learn about.
- Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport – Neighboring the Hatfield Science Museum Center, the Oregon Coast Aquarium has a variety of other offerings: a touch tide pool, indoor and outdoor sea life exhibits, an outdoor sea bird aviary, and a grand passage of the deep where sharks swim above, around, and under guests. Aside from being able to schedule field trips, homeschool programs with labs, homeschool days, and sleep overs are opportunities for families. If, however, your group can’t make it to the aquarium, they can bring a field trip to your homeschool group with their on-site school program.
- Devil’s Punchbowl, Newport – This geological attraction is great addition for learning about caves. And it offers tide pools—at low tide—to explore when homeschool studies lean toward oceanography.
- Otter Rock Beach, Newport – Find extensive rocky intertidal habitats and explore tide pools, watch the seals, and enjoy the beach!
- Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach – This geological feature is formed out of lava flows.
- Arcadia State Park, Near Seaside – South of Cannon Beach, this state park offers tide pools and lots of geological features to observe.
- Umpqua River Lighthouse, Winchester Bay – From their website: “Inside the museum you’ll find hundreds of documents, photographs, and artifacts that illustrate the story of the Umpqua River Lighthouse from its early existence as a Lifesaving Station to the U.S. Coast Guard station that sits on the same site today.”
- West Coast Game Park Safari, Bandon – Looking for hands-on fun to tie in with your lessons? Homeschool families may incorporate these interactive educational presentations into their lessons. It’s a great opportunity to be able to interact with and pet baby and some adult animals.
Northwest Oregon Field Trips
- AC Gilbert House Museum, Salem – Camps, classes, field trips, science, and lots of play await children at this quaint setting. Learn about the creator of the Erector Set at the timeline of his life before visiting.
- Brownsville Pioneer Museum, Brownsville – It’s affectionalty known by its nickname: the Brownsville Historic Pioneer Museum. But whichever name you prefer to call it by, homeschoolers get to learn from exhibits that are displayed in Brownsville’s original railroad depot and six Southern Pacific railroad cars. Plus, the collections cover the lives, work, and cultures of Native People, Oregon Trail immigrants, Black and White pioneer settlers, and the early families and communities of Linn County.
- Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene – Studying Ornithology? This is a great place to enrich the studies of raptors. General admission allows for a self-guided tour of this beautiful woodland setting. However, if you’re looking for a more in-depth tour, you can choose between on or off site extensions or guided tours.
- Dee Wright Observatory, This super cool mountain observatory is formed out of rocks. It’s settled atop vast, black lava flows. Soak in panoramic views of Mount Washington and the Three Sisters Wilderness areas.
- Evergreen Air and Space Museum, MicMinville – Teaching and inspiring students of all ages, this aerospace museum has science classes homeschooling families love. Hands-on-activities involve science, technology, engineering, and math.
- Don Poncho, Salem – Don Poncho makes Mexican food products. Contact them for tours of their facility.
- Yamasa, Salem- Yamasa makes soy sauce and other product. Contact them for tours of their facility.
- Horse Rock Ridge, near Sweet Home – On this hike, see views of volcanoes, the Willamette Valley, snow capped mountains, and coastal cascades. You can read reviews by hikers here.
- Iron Mountain, near Tombstone Pass along Highway 20 east of Sweet Home, Oregon- gorgeous scenery and wonderful exercise on this moderate to hard hike. Read reviews on this hike here.
- Living Rock Studios, Brownsville – Learn about the history of logging in Oregon, local pioneers, wildlife, local Native Americans, and the 800-ton rock studio.
- Moyer House, Brownsville – This Italianate Villa style home was built in 1881 and has scrumptious architectural features. Learn about John And Elizabeth Moyer, their family and their social influence.
- Young Eagles, various locations – inspiring children ages 8–17 in aviation, students learn about aviation and can have their first free ride in an airplane.
- OMSI, Portland – This science museum has interesting exhibits that it rotates with other museums. Check their website for current exhibits. Additionally, submarine tours are given in the docked submarine just outside the museum.
- Opal Pool/Creek Hike, Opal Creek Wilderness – On this exquisite hike, many artifacts from the mining industry remind hikers of bygone days. Eventually one would come upon Jawbone Flats which offered a unique outdoor school experience and backpack expeditions—but it sounds like it was lost in the recent fires.
- Oregon Garden, Silverton – Natural resource education programs are the focus at these gardens. And September is Homeschool Day at the Oregon Gardens!
- Rosse Posse Acres, Mollala – This is fun family elk farm where students learn about elk on their interesting and informative tour. Plus, students can pet pygmy goats, miniature donkeys, ducks, and chickens.
- Salt Creek Falls, Westfir – The hike to the view point is short and easy. But they can also be seen from the highway.
- Silver Creek Falls, Silverton – Marvel at the beauty in God’s creation along the Trail of Ten Falls. And contact the park to see about setting up a tour with a forest ranger to learn about this stunning temperate rain forest.
- Thomson’s Mill State Heritage Site, Shedd – This is the last water-powered mill in the state. And it has turbines that may be seen in action.
- Tumolitch Blue Pool, Willamette Valley National Forest – This stunning pool is cold, pure, and a vibrant blue. Beautiful to observe but it’s dangerous to go in because of hypothermia and it’s deceptive depth.
- Willamette Mission Mill, Salem – Offering education, student programs, classes and workshops, and a teen interpreter program, Willamette Mission Mill has a fun setting for learning about the mill.
- Young At Art, Salem – Learn how to paint with step-by-step instruction. This fun setting allows for students to enjoy painting in the company of their group.
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Portland/Metro Area Field Trips
- Bob’s Red Mill, Milwaukie- Studying early Rome? Watch the art of stone grinding whole grains in action—a traditional process dating back from early Rome. Viewing windows allow for safely watching the process as you listen to ‘Grain Guides’ recount the history of this world-wide respected company. If you can’t make it the area for a tour, you can watch a video tour of the mill here.
- End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Oregon City- This is perfect for your homeschool students as you immerse yourselves in pioneer studies. You have the liberty to choose which 30-minute presentation and 2-3 activities for your group to enjoy. The activities have 30-minutes devoted to them as a part of your experience.
- Franz Bakery, Portland – Learn a brief history about the Franz Family Bakeries. Individuals 7 years and older may enjoy a half hour tour of their facility. However, younger elementary age students may enjoy the interactive learning center on site.
- I Fly, Portland – This could be great to tie in with aviation, parachuting, and military studies. Explore the thrill of soaring through the air at this indoor skydiving facility. This activity is for all abilities.
- Oregon Symphony, Portland – Perfect for music appreciation lessons! They have a fabulous section for planning your visit to help make your experience smooth. In addition to enjoy concerts, they offer concert extras. These give students the ability to enhance their experience with: 1. Concert Conversations; 2. pre-show performances by local community ensembles.
- Philip Foster Farm, Eagle Creek – Yet another fabulous opportunity to engage in the pioneer life. A plethora of fun awaits homeschool families! Garden parties, homeschool days, group tours, special annual events are just a few experiences they offer. Students have the opportunity to learn about the history of Philip Foster Farms as well as Oregon Trail history.
- Rice Rock Museum, Hillsboro – For groups of ten or fewer, this museum has tours of their beautiful collection. This is an excellent opportunity for students to be able to talk with experts about geology-related questions they have from their studies. See here for groups of ten or more individuals.
- Triskelee Farm, West Linn – Farm tours and field trips may be taken at Trisklee Farm. Families can enjoy feeding alpacas, goats, pigs, ostriches, peacocks, ponies and more. For an extra fee, fifteen minute horse rides are available.
- Oregon Zoo, Portland – Aside from enjoying animals in general, students can get to know about animals by the continents on which they dwell. Field trips and zoo tours are available if you’re looking for more than a stroll through the zoo. For added fun, consider riding the Washington Park and Zoo Railway. Can’t make it out there for a visit? Consider Bringing the Zoo To You with their extension program heading out your way.
Southern Oregon Field Trips
- Crater Lake, – This sleeping volcano has deep water resting in its crater. Their Science and Learning Center has a great outdoor laboratory and classroom.
- Elkton Butterfly Gardens, Elkton – They have a flight room to visit all the stages of butterfly life. Monarch and painted butterflies are the varieties your family get to enjoy.
- Oregon Caves, – Considered the Marble Halls of Oregon, these caves are an excellent caving experience.
- The Douglas County Museum, Roseburg – From their website: “Home to humans for more than 10,000 years, the valley is named for the Umpqua Tribe that still calls this area home. Over the past two centuries they have been joined by fur trappers, naturalists and explorers, eastern missionaries, gold prospectors, pioneer families, loggers, farmers, and fishermen. ” Their stories are told through the exhibits.
- Wildlife Safari, Winston – Travel in your vehicle through different “continents” and explore a variety of animals familiar to those regions. Field trips for your homeschool group can be scheduled. However, you may also like to look into their camps and classes, and their Junior Zookeepers program.
Eastern Oregon Field Trips
- Valley Bronze of Oregon, Joseph – A foundry worker will walk you through each stage of the production process. You’ll get to see works in progress as well as completed works.
- Crack in the Ground, Lakeview – The geological feature is a trail along the fissure’s bottom which allows for visitors to hike the crack’s length. The temperature is 20 degrees less than that of the surface temperature.
- Eastern Oregon Children’s Museum, Pendleton – young children can enjoy playing and learning via their interactive facility.
- Fort Rock State Natural Area, Bend – From their website: “Like a desert mirage, this National Natural Landmark rises huge out of the barren, immense flatness of Oregon’s high desert. An enormous near-circle of towering jagged rock walls make it seem like a fort. “
- Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City – Their handy dandy field trip guide makes it easier to plan for this fun field trip. Learn about the unique challenges along the Oregon Trail in this region.
- Paulina Lake / Falls, near LaPine – From their website: “Located of thicket of majestic conifer species, Paulina Creek Falls is located just west of Paulina Lake outside of the Newberry Caldera. This double falls drops 80 feet over volcanic cliffs onto a jumble of rocks below.”
- Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, Pendleton – Learn about the traditions of Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla Tribes. Free school group admission is during regular operating hours. Make an reservation in advance for a one hour free interpretive tour.
- Underground Tours, Pendleton – The unique history of the underground tours does teaches about the early history of the west. That said, it does contain some controversial historical subject matter: gambling, the Chinese, bootlegging, prostitution, the “Cozy Rooms” bordello, Chinese jails, and the Opium Den.
Central Oregon Field Trips
- Big Obsidian Flow, close to Bend – Climb the one-mile interpretive trail and explore the lava flow of obsidian and pumice.
- High Desert Museum, Bend – Natural world and cultural history await your homeschool students at this museum. They offer self-guided tours, Discovery Classes, and Adventure Tours.
- Lava Lands Visitor Center and Lava Butte, Deschutes – They have a “state of the art” interpretive exhibit on area. Students can tour geologic and cultural history and view a variety of films scheduled daily. Happily walk the Trail of Molten Land and the Trail of the Whispering Pines, travel on the fully accessible 5.5 mile Sun-Lava paved path. Ranger talks are available. Plus, access to the top of Lava Butte offers a spectacular view of Central Oregon.
- Painted Hills, Mitchell – Surrounded by softly painted hills, your homeschooling group may feel like they’re walking in a water color painting. These are such a great addition to any geological studies.
- Petersen Rock Garden and Museum, Redmond – A whimsical garden of folk art awaits guests. This is a self-guided visit.
- Smith Rock, near Bend – From their website: “If you enjoy scenic views of deep river canyons or rock climbing, Smith Rock State Park is the place for you. There are several thousand climbs in the park. More than a thousand are bolted routes. We also offer miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Along your trip through the canyon, you might see golden eagles, prairie falcons, mule deer, river otter and beaver.”
- Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory, Sunriver -Educational nature exhibits and nature trails and birding abound at this center.
There are some fantastic field trip options there! Of course, be sure to call ahead to check for group rates and any requirements your family or group should consider.
Do you have an idea you’d add to this list of Oregon field trips? Comment with your family’s favorite field trip destination below!