School Field Trips Nostalgia

School Field Trips Nostalgia – remembering the days when school field trips were CHEAP and the schools actually took school kids on school busses OUTSIDE of their zip codes.

School Field Trips Nostalgia

My first exposure to the Detroit Science Center probably came the way many of you first had your exposure to it – via the good, old-fashioned field trip. Field trips were “the best” when I was my son’s age! Has anyone else noticed that class field trips aren’t what they used to be?


Maybe I was just lucky in my elementary school days, but it seems like everyone I know went on great school trips as a child. My class, usually once or twice per year, seemed to go everywhere. I can vividly recall going to some neat places all over Metro Detroit on my schools’ field trips. For the price of a sack lunch and my mom’s signature on a permission slip, we hopped on the big yellow bus for some serious road trips! I wasn’t a private school kid, I didn’t grow in Birmingham… I was just an eastsider raised in a single-parent household in Fraser.

I remember going to the Detroit Science Center, the DIA, Greenfield Village, the Detroit Zoo, Cranbrook, Detroit Tiger games, and even farms. Anyone else remember 6th grade class trips to Boblo? My old school district even had a week-long, 6th grade trip to Camp Tamarack. Class field trips were a big deal back then and, though I didn’t care much at the time, they were extremely educational.

I didn’t have school field trips nostalgia until my kids began the elementary school grind and I noticed  – they don’t really get to go anywhere. Our school district still has field trips but the budgets (and probably some lawsuit fears) have wiped out the fun out of going to cool places like the Detroit Science Center (now they have the Michigan Science Center) or the Detroit Zoo. Instead, kids in our district get to take short trips to a local museum or a local high school for a couple of hours to watch high school kids put on a singing performance. Still neat, but not all-day-at-the-Detroit-Zoo-neat.

At least half of the joy from the field trips from my youth involved the long bus rides. Whether it was the hustle bustle of the big city of Detroit to visit the DIA or fanning out to Armada to see a working farm, we went to places we weren’t accustomed to visiting – all you needed was a permission slip and about $4. There was something fun about a half-hour bus ride with all your friends barreling down I-75 on a Wednesday morning.

I’m not trying to rail the schools. Budgets are tight and gas isn’t cheap. I get it. Sometimes I wish kids today would have the opportunity to experience some of the field trips and other “simple pleasures” we enjoyed as kids. I guess it is up to me to take my kids to the DIA, the Detroit Zoo, or a cider mill. But, it just won’t be the same without a big yellow bus, a bag lunch and a permission slip.

Do you have any School Field Trips Nostalgia or stories?

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