“Field Trips” – Right Here in East Texas


One of my favorite summertime memories growing up was when Momma would take my brother and me on field trips in the summer.  One of the best was when we were in Houston to see my grandmother and we went to NASA.  Now that I am the momma, I like to try and take my kids on field trips, too.  No need to plan a long distance excursion, because we have many great opportunities right here in East Texas for these learning adventures. 

State Park
Tyler State Park

There are parks that have nature trails with maps to follow and informative boards to read along the way.  Some of our state parks even offer classes or guided hikes teaching about nature, bird watching, orienteering and other topics.  East Texas is home to several of Texas’ State Parks and Natural Areas, as well as numerous city and county parks, nature preserves and gardens.  We also have Caldwell Zoo and Cherokee Trace Wildlife Safari in our area that are both entertaining and educational.

Tyler Junior College

East Texas is home to several colleges and universities that have museums that are interesting for children of all ages.  Tyler Junior College even has a dome theater in the Center for Earth and Space Science showing excellent educational movies. Kilgore College is home to the East Texas Oil Museum where you can take your family on a walk through Boomtown, USA, a full scale town straight out of the 1930’s.

Oil Museum
East Texas Oil Museum, Kilgore

Another unique field trip idea for East Texas is to take a train ride.  There are steam locomotive trains operating in Jefferson, Palestine and Rusk with different scenic and historic learning opportunities. 

We also have several historic villages and towns in East Texas with Texas history programs.  Places like Millard’s Crossing in Nacogdoches are even interactive.

Some of these field trips, like the train rides, are more costly while some are absolutely free!  Also, look for discounts online and special discount days.  Currently, TJC is offering movies in the dome theater for $1 on Tuesdays.

It is exciting for me to find opportunities to make learning a fun experience for my kids, just like my mom did for me. 

Here is a list of more field trip opportunities in East Texas:  (comment to let us know what we’ve missed)


  1. NASA Columbia Space Museum in Hemphill, Texas is wonderful! 409-787-4827. Hemphill is located in Sabine County , which also has the oldest residence in Texas, The Gaines – Oliphant House, and an original log cabin from 1835, The Causey House, and The Old Jail with original hanging gallows inside, one of only two in Texas. Find out more by calling the Sabine County History Center at 409-787-3190, or the local Camber of Commerce 409-787-2732

  2. Can you provide a link or more info re: Tuesday $1 movies at Tyler Junior College’s dome theater? Thanks!!

  3. Don’t forget the SFASU observatory in Nacogdoches/Mount Enterprise and the Naranjo Museum in Lufkin.
    Thanks for this great list!

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