Happy Teacher Appreciation Week; thank you to all teachers for everything you do! In honor of this week, we’ve rounded up museums, historic sites, nature sites, and performing arts spaces in Albany County and beyond that open their doors for field trips. Let the whole county become your classroom with these educational areas of interest. As you plan for the upcoming school year, take a scroll through this blog for field trip ideas to include!

Make sure to explore our Field Trips page below to explore more options! 

Museums & Galleries 

Cohoes Mastodon Albany Institute of History & Art Hudson River School 

Fenimore Art Museum

New York State Museum

The New York State Museum in downtown Albany educates visitors on the state's past and present. And when we say past, we mean over 13,000 years ago! Field trips allow classes to learn about New York State's treasures with programs tailored to classwork in social studies, science, art, and culture.  Explore the museum's Education Programs for Groups page to view offerings including "Tenement - Beyond Ellis Island," "Native People's of New York - A Journey," "Bird Skeleton Evolution Lab" and more! 

Albany Institute of History & Art

The Albany Institute of History & Art has specialized school tours highlighting various areas of interest. Take your students on a trip to Ancient Egypt and uncover the history behind artifacts, funerary objects and mummies. Or invite students to explore the paintings created by The Hudson River School and how the beginnings of environmentalism emerged in the US. Various programs include an art activity to enhance the lesson. Explore the Institute's School Tours page to learn more! 

Bonus: The Institute is also a location for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Ticket to Ride field trip program! The program offers funding for both bus and tour fees along the Corridor. Learn more here

Opalka Gallery - Russel Sage College

Located on the Albany campus of Russel Sage College, the Opalka Gallery welcomes school groups and offers tours by appointment. Explore the gallery which exhibits modern and contemporary art from nationally recognized artists. Learn more through the gallery's Education page. 

Fenimore Art Museum

Located about an hour outside of Albany in Cooperstown, consider booking a field trip to the Fenimore Art Museum. The museum is known as one of the nation's top art institutions. The School Programs staff works with educators to customize the experience to your students and curriculum needs. Explore their School Programs page to learn more information. 

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Historic Sites 

New York State Capitol Building USS Slater 

Shaker Heritage Society  

New York State Capitol Building

An integral location in NYS politics, take students on a field trip to the Capitol Building and let them explore the halls where history was formed. Tours lead groups down the legislative chambers, Hall of Governors, Governor's Reception Room, Hall of New York, and the Million Dollar Staircase featuring the recently added Ruth Bader Ginsburg portrait. Group tours must be reserved in advance, visit the Tour the New York State Capitol page to learn more. 

Underground Railroad Education Center

Located at the historic home where Stephen and Harriet Myers used to reside, visit one of the stops on the Underground Railroad. Tours of this site explore Underground Railroad history though the story of Stephen Myers, a man formally enslaved, and Black abolitionists. Stephen and Harriet Myers were central Underground Railroad activists in the region and welcomed freedom seekers to their home. The UREC offers 90-minute guided youth tours for students, learn more through the Tours page. 

Bonus: The UREC is also a location for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Ticket to Ride field trip program! The program offers funding for both bus and tour fees along the Corridor. Learn more here

Historic Cherry Hill

This home tells the story of five generations of an Albany family. Historic Cherry Hill was occupied from 1787 to 1963. With 70,000 preserved artifacts, the home tells the story of an ever-evolving America over the course of hundreds of years. The site offers various education programs. Field trips include "Mining the Untold Stories: Black & Female Voices at Historic Cherry Hill, Schuyler Mansion, & the Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence" and "The 1827 Murder Mystery at Cherry Hill." Explore the Programs page to learn more. 

Shaker Heritage Society

Visit the site of the country's very first Shaker settlement, a community that shaped the nation's industrial activity and economy. The Shaker Heritage Society offers field trips that allow for hands-on learning and discussion. Programs meet NYS education standards for social studies. The site also offers "Utopia & Dystopia: The Shakers and The Giver" exploring the similarities between the Shaker community and the Community from The Giver. Learn more through the School Programs page. 

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Nature and Science Sites 

John Boyd Thacher State Park Albany Pine Bush Preserve

 Pine Hollow Arboretum

John Boyd Thacher State Park

One of the richest, fossil-bearing formations in the world, Thacher State Park is an extraordinary location for science education. Students can learn about the natural world with various field trip programs including "Fun with Fossils," "Incredible Insects," and "Animal Superpowers." Many programs include hikes including the snowshoeing "Hibernation Investigation" hike and the geology-focused "Indian Ladder Trail Tour." Explore Thacher's field trip page here

Bonus: WildPlay Elements Park can also be found on the Thacher Park grounds. This outdoor adventure obstacle course hosts field trips allowing children and teens to push their limits, gain confidence, and adventure among the trees. 

Albany Pine Bush Preserve

The Pine Bush is a globally rare, fire-dependent ecosystem brimming with educational opportunities. The preserve offers a variety of field trip programs based on NYS learning standards. All year round, grades K to 12 are invited to "Discover the Pine Bush" and learn about one of the last remaining inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens. In spring, programs range from "Help a Habitat" for 2nd and 3rd graders to "Habitat Watch" for 6th and 8th graders. Learn more about their offerings here

Pine Hollow Arboretum

This living tree museum in Albany's backyard is home to a distinct arrangement of trees, shrubs, and other woody plants from around the world. The arboretum offers many environmental education opportunities. Visit for programs such as "Hands-on Environmental Education for Elementary Students (Bethlehem & Albany County School Districts)" or "Outreach Workshops in Emerging and Established Invasive Species." Visit here to learn more about reserving a field trip with Pine Hollow! 

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Performing Arts Spaces 

The Egg Palace Theatre exterior

The Egg

Through their Arts in Education Series, the Egg will often host performances targeted towards school groups throughout the school year. 2024 performances included Toying with Science, Cinderella, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and The Effects of Gravity. Keep an eye out for the 2024-2025 school year Arts-in-Education order form. 

The Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre is committed to arts education in the community. The performing arts center often hosts programs and free school-time performances throughout the year. Visit their Arts Education page to stay in the know on their educational offerings. 

Capital Repertory Theatre & Proctors Collaborative

The Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany and other theatres within Proctors Collaborative throughout the Capital-Saratoga region host student matinees throughout the school-year. Classes can view touring Broadway shows, shows highlighting history, or performances adapted from literature bringing the books to life. "On-the-Go! In School Tours" are also offered bringing performances directly to your school with a post-show talkback included. Learn more information here.

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Digital Field Trips 

During 2020 and 2021 when school went virtual, we highlighted some online education opportunities from Discover Albany partners. Many of these offerings are still available to use as a resource in your upcoming lesson plans!

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