7 Awesome High School Science Trips Your Students Will Love
STEM continues to dominate education, and educators are scrambling for new ideas and fresh ways to teach. Exploring science through travel is a fantastic way to connect your curriculum to the real world and motivate your students to succeed. Here are 7 awesome high school science trips your students will love!
7 Awesome High School Science Trips
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a beautiful and vivid country with a focus on the future and green technology. In 2018, it generated 98% of its electricity for 300 days from renewable sources like wind, rivers, sun, and even volcanoes.
Students interested in this kind of forward-thinking technology and application will find an abundance of resources to study in Costa Rica.
Guanacaste (on Costa Rica’s Pacific side) is home to beautiful, black volcanic sand beaches like Playa Hermosa and biodiverse national parks like Santa Rosa and Tenorio Volcano National Parks.
Students can explore crystal-clear turquoise pools and waterfalls or hike trails in Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park to get up close and personal with an active volcano. They can also enjoy natural hot springs and bubbling mud pits in the beauty of a tropical forest.
Costa Rica is only about as big as West Virginia yet boasts 12 distinct microclimates. Students will be amazed to learn that while it is near the equator and considered “tropical,” its temperature varies from hot and humid to cold and frosty (depending on elevation).
The two main seasons are dry (December – April) and rainy (May – November). The tilt of the earth and the sun’s intensity play a role as well. It’s a fascinating study of how geography impacts weather and a great science lesson for students.
Cloud Forests and Hummingbirds
One climate sure to be a hit with students is the cloud forest. There are cloud forests throughout the central highlands of Costa Rica.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve near San Jose is a stellar example of this magnificent environment. The low-level cloud cover (usually at the canopy level) exists somewhere between 3,000 and 8,000 feet. It’s a magical area ecologically rich in unique flora and fauna.
Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, home to 4% of known species of plants and animals. Talk about connecting the classroom to reality!
There are animal sanctuaries like Diamante Eco Adventure Park scattered throughout Costa Rica. It has world-class habitats for some of the most amazing creatures on earth.
Students can view and learn about the biology, ecology, and natural history of the animals. This place really focuses on education and raising awareness for the respect and protection of wildlife. Oh- did I mention? The kids can get up close and personal with one of the cutest critters of all-the sloth!
2. Central Florida
Most of us think of princesses and superheroes when we talk about Central Florida. However, it’s also a phenomenal spot for high school science trips!
Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers an in-depth look at the birth of space exploration and ongoing missions. Students will love going behind the scenes of a working spaceflight facility and exploring the technology behind our race to the moon.
They’ll be stunned as they encounter the space shuttle Atlantis in its permanent home on the Space Coast. Imagine letting them strap in for lift-off during the Shuttle Launch Experience®!
Kennedy Space Center has education-focused learning specializing in STEM at its best, as only NASA can.
Crystal River and Rainbow Springs State Park
These two Florida favorites are only minutes from each other. Crystal River is the only place in Florida where you can swim with manatees. During the winter months, hundreds of them migrate here to escape the colder temperatures throughout the Gulf of Mexico.
Rainbow Springs State Park is also an ecological education goldmine. Students can snorkel the sapphire waters, explore gardens and waterfalls and tube the river.
Airboats and Adventure
Boggy Creek is eco-adventure students love. Study the watershed, wetlands, and flood management off before racing off on a thrilling airboat tour of the Everglades.
If you still want to add a park to your high school science trips, you’re in the right place! Walt Disney World® and Universal Orlando Resort™ offer outstanding STEM education programs for students.
Hawaii is a living, breathing outdoor classroom. Each nook and cranny is packed with natural wonders to study and explore.
Learn about Punalu’u’s ‘explosive’ history, unique black sand beaches, and volcanic reef below crystal waters teeming with tropical fish.
Fun fact! This is one of the only places in the world where endangered Hawksbill turtles will sun themselves right on the beach!
Thurston Lava Tube
Hike the Thurston Lava Tube Trails and cavern where lava flowed thousands of years ago in the middle of a giant fern forest.
Walk paved trails (wheelchair accessible) through the baron cinder fields formed when Kilauea Iki erupted in 1959.
Kīlauea Visitor Center
Students will dive into the science of volcanoes at Kīlauea Visitor Center. They’ll learn about tectonic plates, the Ring of Fire, and the latest eruption information.
Steaming Bluff and Sulphur Banks
Students will feel hot water vapor as it billows from the ground in steam vents. This striking phenomenon is created as groundwater seeps down to rocks heated by magma deep underground. The rocks are so hot that it vaporizes the water, returning it to the surface as steam.
Just a short distance away are the Sulphur Banks. Fumes from the Sulphur Banks are incredibly hot (around 205° F) and incredibly smelly!
This active volcano is one of the most mercurial landscapes on earth. Since May of 2018, the changes here have been remarkable even by scientific standards.
Take a crater rim tour to see firsthand how the crater has drained, cracked, begun to collapse, and formed a water lake – all within the last 3 years.
Pittsburgh is home to high-tech industry, medicine, and universities with cutting-edge technology programs. It’s also home to the brightest minds and most innovative moguls in history.
“Yinz” will love planning high school science trips to the ‘Burgh!
Artificial Intelligence and Self-Driving Vehicles at Argo
Argo AI was established to tackle one of the most challenging applications in computer science, robotics, and artificial intelligence: self-driving vehicles. At Argo, students will learn what it takes to bring this technology safely and reliably to market.
Forensics at Point Park University
Students can visit the crime scene house at Point Park University which is part of a one-of-a-kind National Security Training Center. Students will learn to analyze evidence and visit a computer lab that boasts the most current intelligence software for crime scene investigators.
Carrie Blast Furnace and Iron Garden
Carrie Furnaces #6 and #7 are extremely rare examples of pre-World War II iron-making technology. Since the collapse of the region’s steel industry in the 1970s and 1980s, these are the only non-operative blast furnaces in the region that remain. The Industrial Tour highlights the site’s iron-making technology, its workers, and culture.
Students also discover a dense variety of ecological growth as part of a botany-focused tour. Highlights include an “addition by reduction” approach to working the wild gardens and grounds and a series of iron-casted plaques with botanical illustrations.
Kennywood is one of the oldest amusement parks in the country and boasts seven of the greatest coasters in the world!
Discover how physics is featured in both historic and cutting-edge park rides. Analyze coasters, calculate acceleration, and factor in a hefty dose of fun as students spend the day at Kennywood Park!
Birmingham, Alabama is a great high school science trip starting point! Rooted firmly in the 19th-century steel industry and undergoing a renaissance, Birmingham has outstanding STEM-related attractions.
Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
Constructed in 1881, the Sloss Blast Furnace was a technological marvel of its era. Today students can tour the site of this monument to the industrial revolution.
They’ll learn how the furnace worked, the historical significance of the plant in Birmingham’s development, and what it was like to be a worker during production.
There’s even an opportunity to make a piece of cast iron art!
Vulcan Park and Museum
Follow your visit to the Sloss Furnaces with a stop at the Vulcan Park and Museum. Created by Giuseppe Moretti, the Vulcan depicts the Roman god of fire and forge and stands 56 feet tall.
This cast-iron statue reflects Birmingham’s steel and iron heritage and offers spectacular views of Birmingham. The museum below is interactive and highlights the history of both the city and the Vulcan.
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Opened in 1995 by retired racecar driver George Barber, this unrivaled collection of restored-to-racing condition motorcycles constitute the world’s largest motorcycle collection (more than 1400!).
The bikes represent 200 manufacturers from approximately 20 countries and were even part of a display at The Guggenheim. It’s an unusual and unique look at some pristine machinery!
Southern Museum of Flight
The Southern Museum of Flight is a regional gem dedicated to sharing the history of aviation in the south. Exhibits include civilian, military, and experimental aircraft and memorabilia.
There are more than 100 aircraft on display, as well as a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens will have you thinking outside the flower box! They offer fabulous educational programs and workshops that “dig in” to the science of horticulture.
Admission is always free, the gardens are open year-round, and they even have the only public horticultural library in the U.S.
U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama has one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia in the world.
It also offers educational programs, camps, and workshops that are, well, out of this world (couldn’t resist!)
6. Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks
The Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks are perfect for high school science trips. Each is uniquely distinct and packed with opportunities to learn!
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world and a breathtaking experience. Students can choose from several outdoor education programs and tours to learn how the canyon was formed and continues to change today.
Walk the park’s Geological Trail of Time or just explore the South Rim. It’s an adventure your students will never forget!
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon boasts the largest collection of hoodoos in the world! Students get up close and personal with these spectacular rock formations on the Grand Staircase. Stay until dark to watch the stars dance in the clear black night sky.
Every vista is a stunning glimpse of gorgeous red, perfect pink, and geological wonders that inspire!
Zion National Park
Just a quick 30 miles from Bryce is Zion National Park. Tour the Zion Human History Museum (temporarily closed but due to re-open soon), see the Checkerboard Mesa, or hike the Canyon Overlook Trail.
While you’re in the area, jump over to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to investigate the beautiful Navajo sandstone dunes estimated to be around 15,000 years old.
7. Puerto Rico
If you want to plan an ‘international’ trip without the fuss, check out Puerto Rico. It’s a stunningly beautiful region with an abundance of ecological resources.
Students enjoy a multi-ethnic experience without ever leaving the United States. The climate is gorgeous year-round, and airfare is surprisingly affordable. Puerto Rico is a perfect destination for high school science trips!
Cueva Ventana means “window cave,” a very fitting description for this natural wonder! Take a guided tour through the cave for magnificent views of the Rio Grande de Arecibo valley.
As they tour, students get a first-hand look at petroglyphs and stone engravings left by the Taino people.
This is one of the most “Instagrammed” spots in Puerto Rico so prepare for an onslaught of teen selfies!
El Yunque National Rainforest
Imagine taking students into the heart of a rainforest without ever leaving the U.S. National Park System! El Yunque features more than 240 species of plants and wildlife, stunning waterfalls, and hiking trails.
Some species can ONLY be found in this lush environment. It’s a deep dive into the diverse ecosystem of Puerto Rico and a fantastic addition to the itinerary.
Bio Bay Kayak
This is an incredible experience that you won’t get anywhere else in the world! Bioluminescence is one of Earth’s best-kept secrets and students can see it first-hand at Fajardo Bio Bay.
The Fajardo Bio Bay Kayak Tours are a nighttime adventure through naturally glowing water trails of a mangrove forest. Students will learn about bioluminescence, the Laguna Grande Nature Reserve’s ecosystems, and constellations while kayaking through calm, sparkling water.
Awesome High School Science Trips Only Happen with an Awesome Planning Partner
You just can’t go wrong planning one of these awesome high school science trips – unless you choose the wrong planning partner!
For 28+ years, Kaleidoscope Adventures has been planned student travel experiences that teach, inspire, encourage, and allow students to explore the world around them.
Our expert KA Team prioritizes easy planning and attention to safety and well-being through:
- The highest standards for our partners (including motorcoaches, hotels, and attractions) and regular property inspections
- Clearly communicated emergency procedures
- 24-hour emergency number (with a live person on the other end!)
- Highly trained and experienced staff
- Post-departure travel protection for each traveler
- Online registration and payment
- Flexible cancellation policies
- Simple fundraising solutions
KA delivers an educational travel experience that is beyond expectations!
Related Reading: 5 Best Factory and Museum Tours for Students
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