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So you want to take your students on a field trip? Seattle is an ideal setting, with its wealth of history and array of museums. However, Seattle can be hard to navigate and even more difficult to park in. With a rental bus, you won’t have to worry about wasting any time with practical issues. Instead, you can focus on what matters: curating the best educational experience for your students and chaperones.
There are several different types of buses to consider when you are booking your field trip. The number of passengers in your group, the length of your trip, and the amenities you would like to have onboard will largely determine which bus is the best match for your needs. Here’s a brief overview of some of our most popular rentals:
Studies show that students who participate in field trips display stronger critical thinking skills, higher levels of social tolerance, and greater historical empathy than those who don’t. Although many school districts are eliminating and reducing funding for field trips, or focusing more on testing preparation, field trips are still critical and relevant in providing students with hands-on experience with curriculum material they’ve been studying.
Students learn differently, and some of the most effective methods are kinesthetic and experiential. Field trips allow students to self-direct and focus on what they’re interested in with minimal teacher guidance. The skills you’re building during a field trip are not only academic, but they’re also social and life skills. Bus trip downtime is also a valuable by-product of field trips that provide rare moments for students, teachers, and chaperones to connect in an unstructured environment.
Regardless of your subject, there are so many incredible options for field trips in Seattle that it's hard to know where to begin. To help you get started, we’ve curated a range of options that provide different educational focus and can help expand on your learning objectives and standards.
The Seattle Children’s Theater (SCT) was officially founded in 1975, originally on the grounds of the Seattle Zoo. Today, the theater’s mission is to provide “children of all ages and backgrounds with access to professional theater.” Since its founding, the SCT has produced nearly 300 plays and educated over 4 million children. The SCT facilities feature two theaters as well as a technical pavilion, which was the first of its kind in the world. Field trip tickets are $15 for all participants, including teachers, students, and chaperones. Additionally, the theater runs a scholarship program to provide reduced-fare lunches for students, and for every 25 tickets purchased, you’ll receive one free.
The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation Discovery Center is located in downtown Seattle, near the Museum of Pop Culture. The foundation is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, is free for all visitors, and features numerous exhibits, both permanent and special. The special exhibits focus on the connections between the foundation’s work and the local Seattle community, while the permanent exhibits highlight the foundation’s global work to reduce inequities. Teachers have several options for field trips: there is a 90-minute special exhibit, a 60-minute discovery center school tour, as well as self-guided options. There isn’t a cafeteria within the foundation itself, but there is a nearby food court that makes a great lunch option for visiting groups.
Located on Pier 59 on the Elliott Bay Waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium offers students the chance to explore a Puget Sound tidal pool and examine a variety of ocean life for themselves. At $10 per ticket, field trip ticket prices are significantly lower than regular admission costs and apply to all groups of 10 or more that have preregistered. Every day the aquarium offers live story events for younger children, interactive activities featuring scuba divers, mammals, and octopuses, and also several classroom programs for educators to choose from. These programs are organized by age group, and It’s recommended to register at least two weeks before your desired field trip date to confirm space within the program that’s best for your group.
The Seattle Chocolate Company factory offers tours that begin in a classroom setting where students can learn about the history and farming of chocolate. Beginning with actual cocoa pods and dried beans for participants to hold and engage with, the tour proceeds through the factory where students can watch candy being made and packaged. Throughout the tour, participants receive chocolate samples (perhaps the best part!), and every tour concludes with a special chocolate tasting. Tours last fifty minutes, cost $10 per person, and are designed for groups of up to 16 people. If your class size is larger, be sure to call ahead to arrange for special accommodations.
The Pacific Science Center spans 7 acres in downtown Seattle and is located near the Space Needle. The Center’s mission is to spark curiosity among the public and yearly sees more than 1 million visitors. Pricing for field trips varies, depending on which package you select with prices ranging from $9 to $15 per student. With every 10 student tickets purchased, groups receive a free chaperone ticket. The Center has an IMAX theater, a planetarium, a butterfly house, and 100s of hands-on science exhibits for your students to explore.