7-Day Homeschool Field Trip Itinerary
What Should I do on my 7-day Trip to Galveston?
There are a lot of great hands-on-learning opportunities for your homeschoolers here on Galveston Island.
Here are our recommendations for your 7-day trip!
1877 Tall Ship ELISSA - This 3-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship with nineteen sails has a 90-year commercial history of carrying cargos to ports around the world. She was restored by a team of preservationists and passionate volunteers and now spends her days as a fully-functional sailing vessel. Stop by the Texas Seaport Museum to grab your ticket and get ready take a step back in sailing history aboard this 205' barque. Don't forget your ELISSA Activity Guide!
Galveston Harbor Tour - Board the Seagull II for a 1-hour tour around the harbor! A favorite for all ages , it's a great chance to see Galveston from a different angle and, if you're lucky, spot a dolphin! Tickets are less than $10 for students (up to 18yo) and children under 5 are free. You'll even see the remains of the SS Selma, a concrete-made oil tanker (yes, you read that correctly) that sunk in 1920.
Seaport Museum - This two-story museum of Texas maritime history highlights Galveston's rich history as a bustling seaport and its role as the "Ellis Island of the West" for immigrants entering the United States from 1839 to 1920. The Immigration Experiences activity is a great work-ahead project to correspond with this visit. Check for your ancestors in the Galveston Immigration database of more than 133,000 immigrants who came through the island!
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum - Pick up a Passport to Petroleum Activity Guide when you get your tickets and explore this retired jackup offshore rig, full of interactive exhibits, scale models, decommissioned equipment and more. Videos & exhibits cover a variety of topics, including drilling, geology, seismic, well servicing and production.Multiple stories, with an elevator.
Pier 21 Theater - Take in a short documentary film at this family-friendly theater. Chose from: The Great Storm (27 min.) which tells the story of the 1900 storm; Pirate Island (18 min.) that chronicles the story of Jean Laffite; or Galveston - Gateway on the Gulf (56 min.) a PBS documentary on immigration. Showtimes throughout the day.
BONUS - Del Monte Cargo Ship Loading - If you are lucky enough to visit at the right time, take a moment to watch from the deck of the Ocean Star Museum as the neighboring Del Monte facility loads their cargo ship. The giant crane is fascinating and offers a teachable moment to discuss the concept of a global supply chain.
Galveston Railroad Museum - Opened in 1983, the Galveston Railroad Museum sits at the site of the historic 1932 Santa Fe depot & railyard. Interact with over 40 pieces of rolling stock, the largest collection of dining car china in the Southwest, and two impressive model railroad layouts. The Gallery of Rail History's timeline outlines the history of railroad development in the Galveston and the United States. If you stop by on a Saturday you can even take a ride on the Harborside Express!
La King's Confectionery - Jimmy King began making candy in 1927, and the confectionery now includes a working 1920s soda fountain as well as moe than 50 types of of traditionally crafted candies and sweets. Live salt water taffy pulling on the weekends. La King's is the perfect spot to take a break to catch up on worksheets or just recap what you & your homeschoolers have learned so far!
The Bryan Museum & Monarch Garden - A careful restoration of the old Galveston Orphans Home created a beautifully historic location for this special collection of Texan memorabilia. From saddles to six shooters, dioramas to derringers, The Bryan Museum is the perfect place from your homeschoolers to learn more about Texas and the history of The West. Interactive tablets for each display keep kids engaged, and they can even shoot smoke cannons in the basement!
Tree Sculpture Walking Tour - In 2008 Hurricane Ike covered most of Galveston Island in a tidal surge. The combination of extended salt water exposure and hurricane-force winds uprooted or killed a large number of the majestic oaks that lined the roads of Historic Downtown Galveston. A group of private residents and artists came together after the devastating storm and created works of art to commemorate these beautiful trees. Sculptures are dotted around the East End and create an exciting opportunity to talk about the ecology of trees, impacts of storms, and art. Download the map before you go!
The Beach! - It's not a real trip to Galveston without a day at the beach! Homeschooling parents and families will love a chance to relax in the sand & surf, where there are lots of learning opportunities! Bring a small net to see what you can scoop out of the surf, dig for ghost crabs, identify shorebirds, talk about the water cycle or have a short physics lesson about waves.
Bishop's Palace - Built by Colonel Walter Gresham for his wife Josephine and their nine children, this former private residence is a shining example of Chateausque Victorian architecture. With articulated carvings, stunning millwork, exquisite stained glass, this palace proves interesting to all ages. The self-guided audio tour lets mom or dad take a bit of a mental break while your homeschool learners wander this historic gem. Special tours happen throughout the year as well, so check their calendar for those unique opportunities during your Galveston homeschool field trip.
Rosenberg Library & Monuments - Stop by the library for one of their special programs, tour the museum on the upper level, or take a driving or walking tour to view all of the monuments that Henry Rosenberg's legacy gifted to Galveston. Founded in 1871, the Rosenberg Library is the oldest public library in Galveston in continuous operation.
Galveston Ferry - Drive aboard or park & walk onto the free ferry that runs from the East End of Galveston to the Bolivar Peninsula. The 2.7 mile trip usually lasts about 20 minutes and it's a great chance to see the pod of dolphins that call the bay & ship channel home. Watch the cargo ships come in from the Gulf along the Houston Ship Channel. Check wait times online before planning your trip as they can be long during the summer.
Fort Travis Park - On the Port Bolivar Peninsula end of the ferry trip you'll find Fort Travis. Established by the Republic of Texas in 1836 to protect the Galveston harbor entrance, Fort Travis is a great place to learn a little history and let your littles run around. Expanses of lawn make a great picnic spot or a unique place to work on homework. Take a 3D tour at any time online to get a head start on your homeschool lesson.
Galveston Naval Museum - Visible from the Ferry, the Galveston Naval Musuem lets you explore two historic WWII vessels - the USS Cavalla submarine and the USS Stewart, an Edsall-Class Destroyer Escort. The self-led tour takes you through the mess, sleeping quarters and more. This unique museum is located on Galveston's Pelican Island, a former immigration station site.