Museums in Maryland and other educational attractions make this state a fun and memorable place for student field trips

Defined by its abundant waterways and coastlines on the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, Maryland provides many numerous opportunities to explore the Atlantic Coast and Chesapeake Bay while learning about America’s seafaring past (to say nothing of enjoying its local blue crabs). Educational harbor cruises are available in Baltimore, Annapolis and elsewhere.  A common field trip idea is to schedule at least one meal at a seafood restaurant, as Maryland is famous for crabs, clams, oysters and other fruits of the sea. Because the state borders Washington, D.C., many field trip groups combine a few days in Maryland with a visit to Our Nation’s Capital.

A Few Maryland Field Trip Ideas:

  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
  • National Museum of Civil War Medicine
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
  • Maryland Science Center
  • Baltimore’s National Aquarium
  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Reginald F. Lewis Museum
  • Baltimore Museum of Art
Fort McHenry soldiers
Reenactments at Fort McHenry are a joy for history buffs.

Maryland History & Heritage Field Trip Ideas

Maryland, one of the 13 original colonies, is the perfect place for field trips delving into American history. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore Harbor, attacked by the British in the War of 1812, is where Francis Scott Key penned his poem “The Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the bombardment. The poem was later set to music and became our national anthem in 1931.

Students learn about the Civil War’s bloodiest one-day battle at Antietam National Battlefield, near Sharpsburg. Frederick is home to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, which is another great field trip idea for students.

The Colonial Annapolis Historic District offers an impressive concentration of 18th century buildings for students to experience, including homes of the four Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence. A field trip to Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, is not complete without a visit to the U.S. Naval Academy Museum.

Historic St. Mary’s City, an 800-acre museum of archaeology and living history, is another amazing field trip idea that features costumed guides who interpret life in Maryland’s first capital, founded in 1634. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, an important chapter in African American history comes alive at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, which opened in March 2017 in Church Creek. Students learn about Tubman’s daring missions to lead some 70 friends and family members to freedom on the Underground Railroad, a secret network of places and people.

Music Center at Strathmore entrance
The Music Center at Strathmore is more than just entertainment, also focusing on community and education.

Performing Arts Locations to Visit

Chances for field trips to experience performing arts or school groups to perform in Baltimore include the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo, Fort McHenry, B&O Railroad Museum and Hard Rock Cafe’s outdoor pier. Among Annapolis venues are Annapolis Town Centre, Annapolis City Dock, Westfield Annapolis Mall and U.S. Naval Academy Museum.

In Ocean City, the Boardwalk and Convention Center Performing Arts Center spotlight student talent. Columbia showcases student groups at Toby’s Dinner Theatre, The Mall in Columbia, Horowitz Performing Arts Center and the Gazebo at Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia Town Centre.

In Montgomery County, northwest of Washington, D.C., places to perform include the Music Center at Strathmore, Clarksburg Premium Outlets and Westfield Montgomery Mall. East of D.C., school choirs and bands have opportunities to perform, mostly around Christmastime, at Six Flags America, a theme park in Largo, Prince George’s County. Other sites in the county include National Harbor, Bowie State University’s Fine and Performing Arts Center and Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland.

Maryland Arts & Culture Destinations for Students

Recognized as one of the world’s most important orchestras, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland via innovative education and community outreach initiatives. Offerings include free midweek concerts, open rehearsals for students and mentoring opportunities.

America’s official national museum and education center for intuitive, self-taught artistry, Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum offers both guided and self-guided tours as well as lesson plans and educational resources. Located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum is the authentic voice of Maryland African American art, history and culture.

Available for pre-K through high school students, tours of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s collections and exhibitions combine close looking with interactive discussion. Tour themes for younger students include nature, feelings, stories in art, portraits and play, while middle and high-school students explore identity, power, and care and community.

Located in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Cultural District, the Walters Art Museum offers in-person and virtual tours for pre-K school group with opportunities for both docent-led and self-guided experiences. Its extensive collections include art from pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th-century Europe. The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company unlocks the magic of the Bard’s words with specially priced student matinees.

Students will have a fun learning experience at Maryland Science Center.

Educational Field Trips through STEM

Opportunities for educational field trips via STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) abound at two entertaining cultural institutions fronting Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Three floors at the Maryland Science Center are filled with hands-on exhibits that cover subjects as diverse as physics, earth science, and health and the human body. Groups can watch educational films in the IMAX theater and learn about outer space in the Davis Planetarium. For school field trips, the museum can arrange classroom-style Enrichment Experiences for small groups (30 maximum) that focus on subjects like biology, chemistry and engineering design.

Baltimore’s National Aquarium is home to sharks, dolphins, turtles and other marine animals. For school field trips, its education programs offer hands-on discovery, structured lab activities and live animals encounters; all programs support Next Generation Science Standards.

Six Flags America theme park in Largo, between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., offers STEM Days programming for several days each spring, as students explore the physics behind the roller coasters. Nothing like a healthy mix of fun and learning while on a field trip. Maryland STEM activities also are available in fall and December.

Marine & Aquatic Field Trips for Student Groups

Located in Solomons, the Calvert Marine Museum combines pre-history, natural history and maritime heritage to tell a unique story of the Chesapeake Bay. Step back in time with a visit to Baltimore’s Project Liberty Ship S.S. John W. Brown, one of only two surviving fully operational Liberty Ships that participated in World War II, which operates now as a historic museum.

Main photo: Antietam cannons

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