Skip to Content

Orange County Field Trips

When it comes to learning, the home and classroom have many great resources. But exploring your surroundings, seeing things in person, and using hands-on activities can help increase what students retain, improves the ability to learn and remember new skills, and honestly, who doesn’t love getting out and exploring someplace new. Here are some of the best places to go in Orange County for a Field Trip.

Orange County Field Trips Featured

Animals & Marine Science

Local animal lovers have many options to explore and learn about different species all over Orange County. Here are some destinations you won’t want to miss, followed by a list of more places to visit for in-depth animal fun.

Zoomars at River Street Ranch

Los Rios Historic District
31791 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano
Open all week 10 – 4

Take the kids out to this family-owned farm and get to know the residents. From guinea pigs and goats to horses and llamas, everyone will leave with a favorite. Guests can interact with the animals by holding and petting, grooming and feeding them – of course levels of interaction vary by breed. Other attractions available at Zoomars includes pony rides, mining, play areas, train rides, and excavators.

Zoomars is located in San Juan Capistrano‘s Los Rios Historic District so you can turn this field trip into a complete history study. Los Rios is the oldest neighborhood in California, established in the 1700’s by workers from the nearby Mission. Three original adobes still stand.

Check out all the petting zoos in Orange County.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center

20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Open daily 10AM – 4PM

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach rescues, rehabilitates, and releases sick and injured marine mammals and educates the community to become involved in ocean stewardship. Young students can participate in-person and through virtual camps and programs that introduce them to marine science, conservation, animal health, and ecology. Programs and field trips are available for all ages. Certain programs and field trips are geared for specific age groups and most can be tailored to the ages and interests of the participants. Programs offered include:

  • Meet the Patients: Marine Mammal Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Release (all ages)
  • Marine Mammal Senses (ages 5-8)
  • California Sea Lion Life, History, Ecology & Conservation (ages 9 & up)
  • Ocean Emergency (ages 9 & up)
  • Chat With An Expert (all ages)
  • Stewards of the Sea (grades 3-5)

More Animal Fun

Museums, Makers, and Artists

There are numerous art and children’s museums throughout the Orange County area with programs that explore creativity, culture, history, and science. Even when the museums are closed, they offer a variety of learning opportunities for the community.

Here are just a few of the ways these facilities contribute to your educational adventure even when you can’t physically visit the facility:

  • Bower’s Museum offers in-person (when open) and online programming and even pre-packaged kits complete with supplies, information, and links to instructions that you can pick up curb-side. 2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706
  • DiscoveryCube has introduced DiscoveryCube Connect to bring virtual STEM-themed lessons and experiments to homes everywhere. 2500 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705

You can also get to know local artisans and explore their crafts by visiting some of the many Art Walks throughout the year. You never know where you’ll find inspiration for your next project or new favorite hobby.

Public art displays throughout the area also add to the history and culture of the county.

For an additional creative experience, check out one of the local makerspaces. These offer ways for kids to explore STEAM-based projects through creative reuse of repurposed materials. Many offer scheduled programming with with specific themes, open studio, field trips, and more. When the makerspaces are closed, they are busy offering virtual activities and resources.

Here are a few of the makerspaces in Orange County:

Check out all the free museum days in Southern California and how to get free and discounted museum admission.

Farms, Gardens, Ecology, & Environment

Farm+Food Lab at the Great Park

Orange County Great Park
8000 Great Park Blvd, Irvine, CA 92618

Staffed by University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, students can learn all about gardening, sustainability, composting and more. This is a great opportunity for kids to learn about the process of growing food and how they can create their own garden at home from raised beds and large scale themed gardens, to utilizing small spaces by planting window gardens and patio planters. They can even take a class on pickling and canning their own foods. Guided tours are available when open to the public but field trips must be scheduled in advance.

Centennial Farm

Orange County Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Animal lovers enjoy Centennial farm for an up-close visit with pigs, cows, goats, and other livestock. However, the grounds are full of gardens and the educational programs they offer teach kids about farming, gardening, agriculture and more.

Here are a few more places to visit if you’re interested in farms, ecology, conservation, and the environment:

Local History & Culture

Orange County is rich in history and every city has historic sites to explore, local museums and societies, parks and trails. While many of these are self guided, you can explore Orange County at your leisure and discover topics from early mammals and the first Native Americans to settlement of the coast and the oil boom. Here is a list of destinations that focus on the history and culture of the Orange County region.

Educational Vacations In Orange County
Historic Sites In Orange County
Childrens Museums in Orange County
Heidi Deal
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights. When she's not writing you can find her solo hiking and going on new adventures with her kids and pup.