New York City Field Trips

The school year has finally begun and with it, curriculum finalizations and field trip bookings. Teaching in New York City should be every teacher’s dream—while one does need to be careful about crowds, the field trip possibilities are truly endless and the entire city becomes an extended classroom.

So for all you teachers out there (or just if you’re visiting NYC with kids), here is a list of great field trip locations in New York City:

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think parents are excited when they’re kids end up in my class because they know it’ll be a year on the go, both because of the “simulated U.S. travel itinerary” and the actual New York City traveling that goes on during the year. Looking forward to another great school year!
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Earth Day!

I usually start getting my students excited about Earth Day a good month in advance, but since this time that coincided with my honeymoon, I started the Earth Day buzz about 2 months ago, introducing a 2 month unit on the nature of New York City. This is my absolute favorite time to be a teacher. I have the children collect leaves and dirt and branches and flowers and we decorate the room with signs of springtime. We do school-wide recycling projects that the kids get really enthusiastic about. We go for nature walks in Central Park and field trips to botanical gardens. We’re going to The New York Botanical Gardens next week and I guarantee that the kids will be able to give a tour themselves by the end of the afternoon.

We have another half day field trip planned to Riverbank State Park. With a great view of the Hudson and the Palisades, and with plenty of room to picnic, it provides the perfect atmosphere for discussing the high and low places of the earth, the water and sky, and the grass and the buildings that make up our home planet. I just need to get over to the Kings Plaza Mall to pick up a big sheet for our picnic—obviously we wouldn’t use something disposable… (I think I left my picnic blanket in Hawaii.)

The school’s got something planned for the actual day of Earth Day (April 22). On the Sunday before (20th), I will DEFINITELY be at the Green Apple Festival in Central Park.

Do your part for the environment and sign this petition to help stop global warming.

Happy Earth Day!

P.S. Banana Republic gives 1% of sales during Earth Week to The Trust for the Public Land.

The Zoos of New York

While some might like to argue that New York City is one big zoo, others might prefer the more traditional understanding of the term and head out to some of New York’s spectacular animal homes. As being one of the greatest cities in the world, it should come as no surprise that it’s zoos are also some of the best.

The Central Park Zoo in Manhattan, is my most favorite place on earth. It’s definitely one of the smaller zoos on my list, but it’s hidden, surprising location, in the middle of the Big Apple, makes it a sort of ironic, quaint, and extremely happy place. Adults on their lunch breaks, kids on field trips, and idle New York wanderers like myself, come to the Central Park Zoo as a sort of Mecca from bustling city life. One second you’re in Times Square, the busiest spot in the country, and the next second, you’re in Africa, or the South Pole, or China! It’s pretty spectacular.

I grew up in Queens, so I have a special affinity towards the Queens Zoo. There’s also the bear habitat there. It the only zoo in New York to host the endangered bears of the Andes Mountains. The Staten Island Zoo is probably the least exciting for me, but does have a petting zoo which I know grabs the attention of the younger crowd. Prospect Park Zoo is the newest of the zoos and you can really tell with its modern (and very humane) naturalistic habitat exhibits.

Last but not least, is the Bronx Zoo, a huge zoo and a fantastic zoo. My favorite exhibit is the indoor acre large rain forest. It’s truly breathtaking!

Ok, so maybe I know a bit too much about zoos. I’ve been a zoo-goer since my own first class trip to the Queen’s Zoo, and now, as a third grade teacher, I bring kids myself to all the zoos in New York City. I have enough stories to fill a book! Maybe I’ll write a book!