Providing both an entertaining and educational experience, these Midwest capital cities are perfect for student field trips.

Bismarck, North Dakota 

The North Dakota State Capitol, is the tallest building in North Dakota. Teachers and students can enjoy free tours. Tour guides take groups to house and senate chambers while offering interesting historical information.

The Dakota Zoo

The Dakota Zoo (credit)

The Dakota Zoo encompasses 900 acres inhabited by 600 unique animals representing 125 different species. These species include birds, reptiles and fish for students to see and learn all about. Next, the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum holds fascinating pieces of history for students to explore with exhibits such as “The Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time”. This  exhibit features amazing fossilizations including a life-sized T. Rex and Triceratops. Another exhibit is “The Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples” which has exhibits devoted to the native peoples of North Dakota. The museum gives students a memorable educational experience touring these historical exhibits. The General Sibley Park and Campground is a popular outdoor recreation spot, closely associated with the history and settlement of North Dakota. 

Pierre, South Dakota 

South Dakota Capitol (credit)

The South Dakota State Capitol hosts the state legislature and offices of many state officials. Students can enjoy available tours but they need to be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance. Tours last about an hour on average and begin at the north entrance. Activity booklets are available for groups who choose self-guided tours. While you’re visiting Pierre, LaFramboise Island State Nature Area is a great location along the Missouri River. Full of trees and wildlife, the island offers great activities such as biking, bird watching, fishing, hiking and skiing. The Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center Museum provides an interesting educational experience for students. The museum includes exhibits dedicated to the sport of rodeo, including its history and the stars it created. 

Madison, Wisconsin

The Wisconsin State Capitol is located by the picturesque Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. The history and culture of the state is well illustrated in the architecture of the building, which reflects German and Italian styles. Students can experience the scenery and history on a tour. Tours are offered for free year-round with the exception of holidays. Groups of 10 or more can make reservations online. 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens (credit)

Olbrich Botanical Gardens features a variety of plant life for students to enjoy and resources such as bathrooms, drinking water, and a small gift shop that are available. Henry Vilas Zoo is an admission free location full of gorgeous animal life, both land and aquatic for students to explore and learn about. Then explore the Chazen Museum of Art to see a wide variety of art. The museum offers educational tours and features talks from artists and scholars for students. Monona Community and Convention Center is located on the shores of Lake Monona and offers visitors many programs and events like concerts, yoga, dances and talks. 

Springfield, Illinois

The Illinois State Capitol offers visitors free tours. Student groups will be shown the beautiful interiors and given information about the building’s history


Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Lincoln Home National Historic Site (credit)

Lincoln Home National Historic Site spotlights one of America’s most famous presidents: Abraham Lincoln. The two-story house is the only house Lincoln ever owned, the site encompasses four blocks around the home including a center for visitors and tours of the memorial are free. Washington Park Botanical Garden is a gorgeous location with indoor and outdoor areas to visit for year-round enjoyment. The gardens consist of a greenhouse, a conservatory that is home to a variety of plant life and a large rose garden. The garden also hosts a plethora of educational programs and events as well as group tours. The 40 acre Adams Wildlife Sanctuary located in the middle of town, provides great nature trails. 

Lansing, Michigan 

Michigan State Capitol

Michigan State Capitol (credit)

The Michigan State Capitol building gives free group tours and self-guided tours are welcome. Guided tours begin every half hour and feature the beautiful interior of the building accompanied by information regarding the state’s history and culture. The 102 acre Potter Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Michigan. Additionally, the zoo is home to up to 160 different species. Students will love the variety of animals to see and fun to have. The Impression 5 Science Center provides visitors with the opportunity to explore an interactive educational space. The Center focuses on the understanding of science. With a variety of exhibits directed toward visitors of all ages the Impression 5 Science Center is perfect for students. At the Michigan History Center visitors get to explore different museums and historical site options. Exhibits range from prehistoric ages to the 21st Century. 

Indianapolis, Indiana  

The Indiana State Capitol offers tours on weekdays. Lasting around an hour, guided tours take visitors through the spectacular interior of the building. The tour guide provides information about the building and the state. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum. The museum features indoor and outdoor exhibits in addition to shows, programs and live theater. White River State Park contains 250 acres of world-class attractions, green-spaces and trails.

Monument Circle

Monument Circle (credit)

Monument Circle is the heart of downtown Indianapolis. The Circle often has groups having lunch or attending events. Students can enjoy any of the many locations and events hosted in the monument circle area. 

Locations such as these in the Midwest capitals are well suited for student groups to explore because they provide a fun, safe and educational experience for a memorable trip.