Historic Field Trips and Educational Getaways

Make your next family getaway a learning experience


Published:

Take a horse-and-carriage ride in Williamsburg, Virginia. Below: Enjoying at day at Monticello.

Myra Wright

Make your next day trip, weekend getaway or vacation a learning experience for the kids. From presidential homes to living history museums to historic sites, these destinations can enrich, inspire and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all ages.


courtesy of Visit Cherokee

Explore Cherokee history and culture. 

Cherokee

Cherokee, North Carolina

Learn about the Cherokee people and nation with a variety of educational, outdoor and family activities. Explore the Oconaluftee Indian Village, a living-history museum of an 18th-century Cherokee village. See the outdoor drama “Unto These Hills,” which entertains audiences with its portrayal of the Cherokee people’s past and present. And, with both the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway nearby, you’ll find no shortage of hiking, camping, fishing and sightseeing opportunities in the area.

Hours and Admission: Varies according to museum or attraction.

Don’t miss: Visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian for exhibits, hands-on activities and special events.


Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Virginia

Imagine what life was like in Colonial Virginia during the Revolutionary War. Visit dozens of restored and re-created buildings at this living history museum. Guests are welcomed with costumed interpreters, re-enactments and demonstrations.

Don’t miss: Tour the historic area by horse-drawn carriage, $20.

Hours and admission: $20.49-$40.99 for a single-day ticket.


Duke Homestead State Historic Site

Durham, North Carolina

What was life like on a North Carolina tobacco farm after the Civil War? Explore this historic farm, home and property to find out. Take a 45-minute guided tour or visit on your own.

Don’t miss: Before your tour, be sure to watch “Legacy of the Golden Leaf,” a documentary that highlights the Washington Duke family and how their tobacco manufacturing business began.

Hours and admission: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Guided tours are offered daily, as schedule and staffing allows. Typically, the tours leave at 10:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. daily. Admission is free.


Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Manteo, North Carolina

Take a step back in time to learn about one of the country’s longest and most intriguing mysteries — The Lost Colony. In the visitor center, watch a 17-minute video that explores the mystery and see artifacts discovered by archeologists. Check the calendar for children’s programming, such as educational walks and arts and crafts.

Don’t miss: Visit Waterside Theatre where the outdoor drama “The Lost Colony” is performed.

Hours and admission: The grounds are open daily, sunrise to sunset. The Lindsay Warren Visitor Center hours are seasonal. See website for more information. Admission is free.


Historic Jamestowne

Jamestown, Virginia

Walk the same grounds of the men and women who settled England’s first permanent colony in North America. Explore the site of the 1607 James Fort, see artifacts in the museum, and learn what life was like for the English and Powhatan people. See calendar for living history tours and children’s programming.

Don’t miss: Visit the Ed Shed, an interactive space where kids can examine artifacts and take part in hands-on activities such as pottery mending or artifact screening.

Hours and admission: Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Ages 16+, $14; ages 15 and younger admitted free.


Kings Mountain National Military Park

Blacksburg, South Carolina

Learn about the battle of Kings Mountain on Oct. 7, 1780, a significant victory during the Revolutionary War. Explore the visitor center, exhibits and the 1.5-mile battlefield trail. Visit nearby Kings Mountain State Park for camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing and a 19th-century living history farm.

Don’t miss: Check the events calendar and time your visit to see demonstration groups, such as the Kings Mountain Backcountry Militia. Learn about life in the 1700s with displays of blacksmithing and woodworking.

Hours and admission: Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.


Monticello 

Charlottesville, Virginia

Visit Thomas Jefferson’s estate, tour the original home and explore the grounds where the third president once lived. Explore Mulberry Row, where Monticello’s slaves lived and worked, and enjoy the carefully landscaped flower, vegetable and fruit gardens.

Don’t miss: Visit the Mountaintop Hands-on Activity Center to write with a quill pen or enjoy 18th-century games. Parents, teachers and home educators can also find a wealth of information in the Monticello Digital Classroom including virtual tours, quizzes and guides for young learners. 

Hours and admission: Open daily, except Christmas Day. Hours are seasonal. $10-$26.


North Carolina Transportation Museum

Spencer, North Carolina

The museum is located on what was once Southern Railway Co.’s largest steam locomotive repair facility. Explore exhibits that include antique cars, train depot, a 37-bay roundhouse, locomotives and rail cars.

Don’t miss: Schedule your visit to include a 25-minute train ride, pulled by an antique diesel engine. Rides are seasonal. See website for calendar.

Hours and admission: Hours are seasonal. $4-$12.


Old Salem Museums and Gardens

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Explore the life of Moravians and early Southerners living in the 18th and 19th centuries by touring the historic town of Salem and surrounding gardens. Visit the town’s buildings to see historic trades, such as gunsmithing, pottery or gardening. Demonstrations include quilting, 18th-century games, hearth cooking, food preservation and more.

Don’t miss: Celebrate the holidays with the Candle Tea, held on select dates in November and early December. $1-$5. Sing Christmas carols, see how the Moravians make beeswax candles, sip on Moravian coffee and eat sugar cake, and listen to the Christmas story.

Hours and admission: Tuesday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday 1-4:30 p.m.; closed on Mondays. $11-$27.


Raleigh

Raleigh, North Carolina

Curious about North Carolina’s government and its history? Visit the North Carolina State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark that has been restored to its 1840-1865 appearance. Small groups can also schedule tours of the N.C. Executive Mansion, N.C. Legislative Building, North Carolina Museum of History, and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Don’t miss: Learn about North Carolina’s ecosystem and wildlife in the "Mountains to Sea" exhibit at N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

Hours and admission: Hours vary according to attraction or museum, but admission is free to the attractions and museums mentioned here.


Reed Gold Mine

Midland, North Carolina

The first documented gold find in the United States was in North Carolina. The Old North State also led the nation in gold production until the California Gold Rush in 1848. Today, you can tour portions of the underground tunnels of the Reed Gold Mine, see mining equipment in the visitor center and learn more about that first gold find.

Don’t miss: For $3, you can pan for gold, April through October from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hours and admission: Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is free.


Town Creek Indian Mound

Mount Gilead, North Carolina

In 11th century A.D., a new culture emerged known as Pee Dee, and inhabitants constructed mounds in the earth for their spiritual and political leaders. Town Creek Indian Mound commemorates that American Indian culture. Browse exhibits in the visitor center and take a self-guided tour of re-created structures and mound.

Don’t miss: Savor the scenery and native plants with the nature walk, an easy stroll along the river.

Hours and admission: Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. Closed Mondays. Admission is free. 


Myra Wright is a North Carolina-based freelance writer. She enjoys traveling and finding educational opportunities for her three kids.

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Calendar

June 2019

Every year on June 21, we enjoy the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. Discover the science and cultural celebrations behind this special summer day. Make a pretty sun catcher to hang in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

This celebration of toys features interactive attractions, vendors, toy experiences and more. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $12/person. Free for ages 2 and younger.

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

More information

Enjoy food, activities, music, and water sprayer fun for kids. Sixteen vendors will offer African clothing, jewelry, beauty products, voter registration, HIV/AIDS education and testing,...

Cost: Free

Where:
East End Community
Wake Forest, NC  27587


Website »

More information

Learn more about our amazing star, the Sun. Safely view the Sun through a solar telescope, hear about how the Sun and other stars affect life on planets, and about current solar science...

Cost: Free

Where:
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
121 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »

More information

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.0px Calibri; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} Safely view the Sun through a solar telescope, hear about how...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Discover Historic Yates Mill - a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (6 - under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy ice cream made by the Children's House program and splash in the water table and kiddie pool.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nido: Coworking & Childcare
902 Broad St.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Durham Refugee Day celebrates the contributions and cultures of our refugee and immigrant communities and provides an opportunity to stand in solidarity with these neighbors. This is a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Make colorful jellyfish with wiggly tentacles. Age 2-6 with caregiver. Register online. Choose course #125005.

Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park Community Center
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

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Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop by the cybrary for storytime with a librarian. Activity Room 4. Preschool and kindergarten ages. No registration necessary. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Cybrary
100 N Greensboro St
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-918-7387
Contact Name: Cybrary
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.0px 'Times New Roman'; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.0px 'Times...

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 11 and older with special needs sing favorite songs, karaoke-style. Register online. Choose course #125030.

Cost: $3/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

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Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

See a fun mashup of classic fairytales. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Sally Ride will take audiences on the ride of their life in this dynamic performance about space exploration. Through music, audience participation, and narrative, kids will see just how far...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Orange County Main Library
Website »

More information

Enjoy tea time for the whole family. Samples of hot tea, cold tea, and kombucha will be provided, along with games and family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
IngenuiTea Kombucha Coffee & Tea
514 E Williams St
APEX, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: IngenuiTea Brews
Telephone: 919-438-3684
Contact Name: Mark Poole
Website »

More information

Sally Ride will take audiences on the ride of their life in this dynamic performance about space exploration. Through music, audience participation, and narrative, kids will see just how far...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Orange County Main Library
Website »

More information

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Show Less...

Meet a staff member at the information desk and follow your guide outside to the garden exhibit or into one of the museum galleries. Look around and listen to a history-related story. Ages 3...

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids ages 6-9 discover the different types of turtles that live at the Preserve.  The focus will be hands-on outdoor investigation and the study of living things in their habitat.  In...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Marti Kane
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Explore the ocean through books and trivia. Make your own travel-sized magnetic fishing game. Grades 3-5.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 11 and older with special needs play bocce, cornhole, croquet and more on the lawn. Register online. Choose course #125353.

Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Page-Walker Arts & History Center
119 Ambassador Loop
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

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Show Less...

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and the Triassic period and experience what it was like to be among living dinosaurs. See life-size replicas of adult and baby dinosaurs, dig...

Cost: $22-$36

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet live owls and other raptors, learn the secrets about their lives in the wild. Grades K-5.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

Join the TreeRunner staff at Raleigh for a magical night in the park. Dress as your favorite prince, princess, wizard or another fairy tale character and come climb in the trees. Take pictures with...

Cost: General Admission

Where:
TreeRunner Raleigh
12804 Norwood Rd
Raleigh, NC  27613
View map »


Sponsor: N/A
Telephone: 919-410-7347

More information

Ages 4-10 enjoy an evening with hiking, crafts, music, games and s'mores. Register online. Choose course #124331.

Cost: $23/parent and child pair; $12 additional child

Where:
Bond Park, Kiwanis Shelter
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

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Show Less...

Walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and the Triassic period and experience what it was like to be among living dinosaurs. See life-size replicas of adult and baby dinosaurs, dig...

Cost: $22-$36

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. Choose course #124952.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Take your family for a fun day of making slime, playing with slime, watching live demos on how to make slime, buying slime from Instagram slime stars, and much more! Kids under 3 admitted free....

Cost: $20-$70

Where:
Kerr Scott Building of NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Please join us for the SouthEast Crab Feast event this summer in Raleigh, NC.  This event offers the Low Country Coastal Heritage of outdoor cooking of fresh seafood.  This highly...

Cost: $10-$30

Where:
Lake Wheeler Park
6404 Lake Wheeler Rd
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: SouthEast Crab Feast Inc.
Telephone: 980-202-1142
Contact Name: Jamell Hamilton
Website »

More information

Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 or 3 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Search wetlands and forests for birds. Ages 13-15. Register online. Choose course #124934.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Hemlock Bluffs/Stevens Nature Center
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

Education Guide

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