Without a doubt, my favorite childhood learning experiences were when my classmates and I went on field trips.
I know I'm not alone in this. When you're a kid, you tend to think of education as what happens within the four walls of a schoolroom. Then, a teacher takes you and your friends out into the world to see stuff like dinosaur bones, moon rocks, giant parks, and crazy-looking animals you've only heard about. And they tell you that you're there to learn. Whoa!
This weekend, your task is to recapture that excitement. Take yourself on a field trip.
Choose somewhere you've never been before, a special place in town you've always wanted to visit but haven't ever got around to. It could be a museum, a natural landmark, or any kind of local educational attraction. Or find a lecture, dance recital, musical performance, or another live event that looks intriguing but that you wouldn't normally think to attend. How you design your outing is totally up to you, the point is just to make time to see something new that you can learn from.
I've collected a handful of links you can use to help plan your excursion.
Great Museums is a documentary TV series that explores the world of museums. The show's website offers a terrific state-by-state guide to museums around the country.
The Association of Science-Technology Centers has a searchable directory of science centers worldwide. Just select your location and plug in a few keywords.
Wikipedia is an excellent resource for discovering interesting and culturally significant attractions. Check out the site's list of U.S. national landmarks, which has information about each of the nearly 2500 sites and structures currently recognized by the United States National Historic Landmark Program. There's a tabular listing, as well as a map view that allows you to find landmarks simply by clicking on where you live.
Looking for a gallery, cultural festival, or performance in your town this weekend? Check out Eventful, which boasts a comprehensive database of happenings.
If you're interested in connecting with other members of your community, try Field Trip Factory, a company that organizes educational experiences for groups. They've got programs for kids and adults alike.
Last but not least: A while back, we asked the GOOD community to tell us about the best field trips they went on when they were kids. Take a look at the responses—there might be something in there that inspires you.