Field Trip Activities
for Elderly & Seniors

These field trip activities for elderly and seniors include a variety of interests and abilities, as our readers come from all steps of life. You know your group and its preferences, so can see what’s right for you.

Some outings listed are free, and some cost money or a small fee. Be sure to ask about senior discounts!

Get prepared – The best fun often comes from details and preparation. The little things like a water bottle, snack, hat, insect repellent, and maybe a light jacket or sweater. And of course, good walking shoes. Perhaps a bag for collecting things from nature for later use in easy craft ideas. How about a journal and pen, and/or sketch book. Check out your destination’s web site, if any, to get particulars.

Our Field Trip Activities for Elderly & Seniors

The Basic Activities

We are all familiar with the usual field trip activities for elderly and seniors --
Like going to sports games, luncheons, holiday festivities, a park, library, art museum, science museum, zoos and aquariums, a picnic, concerts, fairs and carnivals, the senior center, casino, bingo games, hikes and walks, bus rides to see fall colors, holiday lights, etc. So we don’t emphasize them on this page, but try to give fresh perspectives on other things to do.


Service & Giving

Deliver gift baskets – Field trip activities for elderly are really satisfying when they help others. How about gift baskets that you’ve put together yourselves, maybe with contributions. Consider a children’s hospital, a vets organization, charitable organizations of all kinds, care centers, etc. See our page for ideas on how to make a gift basket. Another very popular item for giving involves making fleece blankets, really easy and cheerful. 

Adopt a highway – For those with energy and mobility. Contact your state or county if you’d like to participate in keeping a certain area of the highway clean. A sign can also be put up on behalf of your organization.

Help at food or clothing bank – Our city also has a non-profit that helps those in need and transition establish their home. These groups really appreciate volunteer service.

Help serving meals – Your town may have charitable organizations that serve meals or distribute food to those in need. You might choose to help behind the scenes, serve, or help deliver.


Gardens and Botanical

Walk a labyrinth garden – Looking for unusual field trip activities for elderly? Perhaps you know that the labyrinth is an ancient concept in  many cultures and religions, and was popular also amongst Christians in the Middle Ages. A labyrinth is not the same as a maze (in which you try to find your way out of a complex puzzle with many branches).

The labyrinth was often used as a contemplative walk through a usually circular or square path from the outside to the center. They could be found built into the floors of cathedrals, or as part of a garden. Some groups have learned to make a simple labyrinth as an activity for their campus. Plants, rocks and grasses are frequently used.

Visit a straw bale garden – Straw bale gardens make excellent field trip activities for elderly. If you’re new at this concept, read the fascinating info by our guest expert on straw bale gardening for seniors. Learn first-hand with an outing, just how this amazing system works. You may have a goal to try one yourselves!

Visit specialized gardens – Try a calming Japanese garden, or distinctive rose garden. Whatever is near and inspires you. If you’re into writing, art, or contemplation, these are perfect places for bringing journals and sketch pads – ideal with many field trip activities for elderly. You may designate a certain “assignment” or purpose before you begin. Then later expand the creative results into further projects.

Garden club – You may know someone who belongs to a garden club. Many communities have seasonal times in which members’ gardens are open to the public for visits. The club itself may also maintain a garden, and you can get a tour and learn all about what it has involved. 

Department store flower shows – These might happen a couple times a year, especially in spring and fall. And some stores also offer charming holiday displays during December. They’re constructed by expert florists and master gardeners, almost always available for advice and information. Especially if your group is interested in doing its own garden. There may also be a guest artist, photographer, or musician, plus films, crafts, and food.

Butterfly garden – A truly magical experience. I was amazed at all the butterflies in our local conservatory’s butterfly garden. We weren’t allowed to touch them (unless they landed on us) or take them out. The colors were spectacular, since lots of flowers are kept for the butterflies’ habitat. Another inspiring place for journals and sketch books.

Commercial greenhouse tour – Have a tour to learn about life and uses of plants that are grown by commercial gardens, whether flowers, greenery, or vegetables. The various phases of work that go into this industry is quite surprising.

Pumpkin and gourd patch – Popular field trip activities for elderly in the fall. When you visit, keep ideas in the back of your mind for using them in crafts – they come in so many fun shapes, colors and sizes. We have pages with lots of gourd craft ideas, and also painting pumpkins (instead or carving).

Arboretum visits – You may be surprised at just how many types of trees grow in your area. Take a tour and learn all about them: their names, characteristics, and care. Sketches and photos of trees may also be handy later for upcoming activities.

Sponsor a tree planting memorial – Some arboretums and parks offer the opportunity to plant trees as memorials to loved ones and those of service. They can also offer advice on planting a tree on your own property or campus, if preferred.

Bonsai trees – Your community may have a bonsai club, which probably plans exhibits to the public at times during the year. Some of these are astoundingly complex. Others elegant yet simple. Bonsai growing is wonderful to learn about, and a simple project can be learned by almost anyone.



More Nature

Many field trip activities for elderly venture into nature, so consider collecting dried flowers and foliage, or dry them later. You’ll find plenty of uses in upcoming arts and crafts projects, decorating and centerpieces. See our page on Easy Craft Ideas.

Bald eagles or other unusual birds – We have a destination area popular for elderly field trip activities, where the bald eagles gather in the fall as they migrate. They may even stay for a week. Be sure to bring binoculars and a picnic! Perhaps you know someone who is knowledgeable about them.
 
Butterfly and bird/animal migrations – Does your area experience notable migrations from, for instance, monarch butterflies, swallows, storks, even the albatross? Or if you live near the sea, penguins or whales? Go take a look at their gathering places, with a presentation beforehand to get the most out of it. Take some photos too. And later, it makes a great discussion with a special snack.

Bird identification – This is a relaxing way to tune into nature. Do a little bird watching, bird song identification (you can listen to CDs and online bird sounds in advance), do some photography, or quick sketching. You’ll find different species in parks, forests, gardens, and wetlands. Be sure to bring binoculars!

Bird and animal sanctuary – Various areas around the globe have sanctuaries for endangered or injured animals. Sanctuaries are appealing field trip activities for elderly and seniors. They may include a nature center building, guides, an amphitheater, shop, indoor and outdoor exhibits, baby nursery area, paths and trails, even a wildlife hospital. Your group may be interested in getting involved or volunteering too.

Nature park – Different from national or state parks or even reserves, these are protected landscapes involving city or county planning and community beautification and conservation. Wonderful for walks, picnics, and studying the flora and fauna of the area.

Wetlands – They have a unique eco system that is quite complex. These marshes, ponds and bogs may be wet all year long, or just at times. With many types of vegetation, wildlife, birds, and insects – some surprising. They provide intriguing field trip activities for elderly. Choose one that has boardwalks, trails, observation areas, a visitor center, etc.
 
Hay ride or sleigh ride – Popular in summer, fall, and early winter before it’s too bitter cold. Sites that offer these rides may arrange a snack afterwards. One of our local venues has hot soup and bread, desserts, hot beverages, and a cozy fire.

Farm – Is anyone from your group originally from a farm? Or perhaps wished they’d had a farm experience? Needless to say, farming has certainly changed over the decades. A visit is very enlightening. Some farms give tours on wagons, plus offer fresh produce and/or goodies for sale. Also a chance to see and pet animals, or view babies.

Gather pinecones – There are a great many kinds of pinecones, both in shape and size; some huge. When visiting evergreen areas, do gather some pinecones! They’re fabulous for centerpieces, decorations, and all sorts of pinecone crafts later. Get as many varieties as possible.

Beach – Besides relaxation, a stroll and picnic, gather shells, grasses and other plants that can be used later. See some charming examples of shell crafts submitted by one of our readers 

Caves – Caves are full of mystery and are captivating field trip activities for elderly. One of my favorites. Most parts of the country have caves nearby, or at least a bus or van drive away. It makes a great day trip. Tours are available, and many include a gift shop and snack area.

Fish hatchery – A hatchery is for the breeding and raising of fish and sea animals into the early stages of life. They’re then released into a natural habitat. There are hatcheries for all kinds of freshwater and saltwater fish, shrimp, scallops, also salmon. Some are involved in both natural and controlled spawning, selective breeding or genetic manipulation. Maybe controversial, but could generate interesting discussion later. A salmon run was one of my most fascinating trips.
 
Historic trails – You may have a historic trail near you, whether national, state or local. Many walks are quite easy. There are observation areas along the way, rest places, and descriptive signs. It’s fun to prepare in advance with an introductory talk, and/or have a discussion later. Check out the Register of Historic Places for your state or city. Get more info at the link for the National Trail System.


Food

Make sure some of your field trip activities for elderly include a little “good cheer” and good food!

Beer making – Visiting a brewery is a real kick. And you get samples at the end. Local micro breweries are popular too, and owners are eager to show off their product. You can find one to tour almost anywhere.

Wine making – Know anyone who makes wine? Or ever thought of wine making as an activity? A vineyard and wine making tour (along with tasting) is both enjoyable and instructional. Even in cold climates there are local wineries growing suitable grapes. 
 
Wine tasting – Or perhaps you want to pass on the tour, and just enjoy the tasting. And of course you may just have to take a bottle or two home with you.

Visit a food factory – Food factory visits not only provide an educational experience, but you can try treats too. There are so many possible field trip activities for elderly and seniors! Here are some favorites: pickle making, cider making, maple syrup, chocolate, any candy, cheese, various snacks. Some also sell kits so you can learn to make the treats at home.

Specialty bakery – How about fancy cakes, pastries and desserts from other cultures. I especially love watching cake decorating demonstrations. This can be arranged in larger bakeries, usually for a smaller group. You may also find a fabulous gingerbread house demonstration or display during the December holidays.

Pick corn – Nothing like corn on the cob fresh from the field. It’s also fun to have a sociable corn husking get-together. With snacks of course. And save those corn husks! You can use them for many crafts, including the traditional cornhusk doll.

Bee keeping and making honey – From simply visiting a museum and shop, to even suiting up and visiting the bees themselves! (If you’re brave). Learn about the life of a beekeeper, history, the life of bees, habitats, products. In some areas honey bees have become scarce. I love to cook with honey instead of sugar (see our page on healthy dessert recipes).

Fruit picking – For those who are able, try some picking on your field trip activities for elderly. Otherwise, just visit and learn how a working orchard or berry farm operates, harvests, distributes, sells, etc. Many provide easy ways to enjoy picking fruit. Some of our locals will transport you to and from picking areas too.

Later, use them for your jams, desserts, and even to make fun projects such as apple crafts. Or one of my favorites, make chocolate covered strawberries. See how we decorated them!


Hobbies, Culture

Do members of your group enjoy the arts and/or hobbies? Add them into your list of field trip activities for elderly and seniors.

Ballet or opera – Both traditional and contemporary. Some movie theaters also show film versions on the big screen as they are being performed live elsewhere. You can even get season tickets.
  
Theater in the park – To go along with outings for concerts in the park. Shakespeare is a favorite for these.

Historical re-enactments, sites, villages – Complete with authentic costumes, buildings, props. During various holidays, presentations might change accordingly.

Cultural festivals, including native or aboriginal – I love experiencing other cultures and diversity, along with their music, dancing, costumes, food, traditional crafts. Field trip activities for elderly and seniors are an ideal means to learn about and understand others.

Local artisan’s studio – Have you ever visited a wood carver, guitar or violin maker, potter, glass blower, sculptor, doll maker, or traditional textile maker and weaver? See what is in your area. You may want to learn a new hobby!

Kids’ performances – Whether dance, music, plays, or ice skating, we don’t want to leave out the younger generation. Include them in your field trip activities for elderly. Helps keep us young at heart. Certainly someone in your group is connected to what the kids are up to!

Musical outings – Try something new! Besides your favorites, how about jazz, classical, opera, polka, big band, country, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, Gospel, Reggae, Latino, Baroque, Broadway, pop, drumming, any new culture. If you have a music club (or want to create one), take a different outing every month. Many are free at churches, recitals, clubs and festivals. 

Dancing – Again, try something new with your field trip activities for elderly. For some you can just watch; but for others, join in! Choose from square dancing, polka, various folk dancing, rock n’ roll, jitterbug, ballroom, Latino, line dancing, ballet, tap dance, zumba. Another good reason to start a club or have a party. Go out and learn to dance!

Readings – For those interested in literary pursuits, you can find literature readings (including at universities and colleges), poetry readings, author readings at libraries, and also activities commemorating famous authors who may have lived in your area.

Gem show – Although especially interesting to those who make jewelry, the sheer beauty of these shows is stunning.

Local art galleries (including smaller ones) – Support local artists! You may also get ideas for your own projects for later.

Collections –  And these may also include museums to visit and learn from. See who is interested in antique cars, aviation, stamps, model trains, dolls and doll houses, musical instruments, guns, antique furniture, toys.

Metal detecting – An excellent (and sometimes profitable) outing for any age. Get details and tips on how seniors can do this, by our expert on treasure hunting with metal detectors.


Education

Field trip activities for elderly can include both fun and learning. Here's a big variety of ideas.

Lecture – One of Dad's mottos, at 97: “You’re never too old to learn!” And most communities have an abundance of topics to explore: science, cultural, historical, newest medical, literature, art, inventions, political, etc. See what interests your group!

Factory visits – We discussed food factories earlier. But there are loads of other possibilities. What’s near you? Check out a web site all about factory tours. Just click on your state and see what’s around.

The world of theatre – Besides just watching a play, discover (or re-discover) what really goes into their making. See the workings of a theater – backstage, props, costumes, sets. Most theaters will be happy to give you a tour.

Visit a mill – Perhaps your area has modern or old mills to learn about. Find out how it’s done at a lumber mill, paper mill, grain mill.

Tour an old ship or boat – Great for anyone with a maritime background, or who has been on a ship (or wished they had). You’ll find possibilities near the sea, on the Great Lakes, or large river.

Fire station, fire engines – Of all of our field trip activities for elderly, visiting the fire station was one of the favorites at a local senior campus. Folks got to compare how it was when they were younger, versus the more high-tech world today.

Aviation outings – For those who are into aviation, go to an air show, or an aviation museum. You may even have a chance to take a small airplane ride. Some aviation schools will give tours, even demonstrating simulated flight training methods. Other plane usages include search and rescue, insect control i.e. crop dusting, aerial fire fighting, air ambulance, police patrol, traffic reporting, gliding.

Historic home(s) tour – Tours may include just one, or several homes. They are truly beautiful; some quaint or even strange, often with a fascinating story. Or even a rumored ghost.

Visit a local area that was in a famous book (or movie) – Is there anywhere near you? It’s easy to do a search online.

Historical site or memorial – There is history everywhere. And you can dig it up near you. (Sometimes quite literally, if you live near an excavation site). Find some places of historical interest to visit. A local teacher or professor may agree to help.

Armed forces celebrations, commemorations, patriotic occasions – Especially meaningful to those who served, or who had family members in the armed forces. There are many events throughout the year to add into field trip activities for elderly.

Military or National Guard installations – For those interested, see how our armed forces train, live, and operate. Tours may be arranged at certain times of the month and/or year.

Science and invention exhibits – These exhibits may be in science museums, of course. But also search them out at colleges and universities. Certain exhibits travel around the country, so have a specified time frame. And let’s not forget our children’s school exhibits!

Science and research laboratory tour – This area of life is changing so rapidly we can hardly keep up with it. Your hospital, university, or a particular industry may give you a tour about their latest work.

Lock and dam operations – If you live near a river or canal, seeing how boats are raised and lowered through different levels of water is fascinating. Some may also have historic significance.

TV or radio station – Behind the scenes of TV and radio is a busy world unto itself. It is amazing what it takes to produce just one program, much less an entire day or week. The news and weather is especially interesting, with teams of reporters, news gathering, in the field production, editing, all the trucks, photographic equipment, advertising, etc.

Newspaper or magazine – The print aspect of the media is as equally involved  as broadcast. Learn about investigating, reporting, editing, deadlines, printing presses, distribution. And the future of the print media.

Facility or place of worship of a different religion – In these times it is particularly important to learn about diversity in our area - to understand and live together in harmony. It seems so much unrest across the globe is attributed to religious differences. Embrace understanding in your field trip activities for elderly.

Birth place of a famous person – Who is your area known for? Is there a house, farm, place of business, or industry associated with him or her? Do an online search for famous people in your area and see what they were, or are, all about.

More -
A few more quick ideas with field trip activities for elderly …

Circus – perhaps sponsor and accompany a group of kids.

Garage sales, flea markets – Get stuff to stock your crafts bins for new projects.

Farmer’s market – A quick and easy field trip to see what’s available for produce, honey, jams, salsas, etc.

Crafts show or art center – Something going on almost all year long.

Kite flying – Which can also be done from a wheel chair. Plus, have an activity to make your own kite.

Pontoon boat ride, or river cruise – And an excellent venue for parties and club meetings.

Gondola ride up a mountain or ski area – Also exhilarating in off-season. Your destination may include a restaurant or rest area at the top.

Bonfire – And be sure to learn how to make s’mores (our gourmet way).

Train ride – This is really fun on an historic train, especially with lunch or dinner. And/or to special destination.

Also see:
You may get more ideas to go along with your
field trip activities for elderly.

Outdoor Elderly Activities -- with games and parties too!
Senior Activities - BY THE MONTH -- Plus General ideas for each season.


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