RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Day Tripping
: Your Guide to Educational Family Adventures, by Teri J. Brown

Day Tripping

If you ever enjoyed school field trips when you were a child, Teri J. Brown's Day Tripping will make you remember those rare and wonderful days when desks and books were left behind for excursions to museums, parks, or factories.

The only trouble with school field trips was that they were too few and far between. Now, with Brown's compilation of ideas, advice, and field trip philosophy, you don't have to rely on teachers and schools to create educational adventures for your kids, and you'll probably find her suggestions useful for planning trips for adults, too. The book is a well-organized guide for making any journey more meaningful by considering its purpose and getting ready in advance.

Chapters are organized into themes ranging from "Good Enough to Eat," which reveals how to arrange tours to places connected with food production and distribution. One of her examples is the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon, which I know from delightful experience is a terrific day trip for children and adults alike. In "Take a Walk on the Wild Side," Brown includes detailed information about how to tour a fish hatchery, and in "Talking, Typing, and T.V," she explains how to set up tours at radio and television stations. While her examples are taken mostly from her experiences in the Pacific Northwest, all are easily adaptable to any area. Brown helps in this regard by providing an excellent list of Web sites and printed resources.

In addition to suggestions for destinations, Brown includes activities, check lists, and other supporting materials aimed at making field trips memorable and educational. Planning and follow-up sheets are included for each type of trip in addition to a general "Field Trip Template" at the back of the book. Activities tie in with destinations, too. Learn how to make butter after your dairy tour, or make a "disappearing bird feeder" after your bird-watching trip. I'm already assembling what I need to try my hand at making a Japanese fish rubbing, even though I haven't yet made my trip to a fish hatchery!

Day Tripping is an excellent resource for parents eager to enhance their children's educations, but I found it an inspirational reminder that destinations fascinating to "children" of all ages are right nearby. Grocery stores, humane societies, newspapers, hospitals, movie theaters...when you get in Teri Brown's field trip frame of mind, the list is truly endless.

Megan Edwards

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