Redditors Share Stories About Their Craziest Field Trips
When it comes to school field trips, there are those unforgettable moments that still have us chuckling years later. From unexpected mishaps to hilarious encounters, these trips have become legendary tales whispered with grins and giggles among students and teachers alike.
Join us on a lighthearted journey down memory lane as we share some of the most fun, comical and just plain bizarre field trip adventures, according to Redditors.
A Cold Warrior at the Border
Before we get into some hilarious stories from Reddit, I wanted to share my own field trip story. I grew up in Western New York about an hour and half from the Canadian border — so class trips outside of the country were pretty common there.
We were in seventh grade and headed to the Ontario Science Centre. On the way back, we had to go through U.S. customs to declare citizenship and if we were bringing back anything from Canada. When customs agents boarded the bus, they asked each of us, "Citizenship?" to which we responded, one by one, "United States." That is, until they got to the back of the bus, and one kid responded, "Cuba." (At the time, the Cold War was in full swing.)
We were pulled over for several hours before we were allowed back into the country. Needless to say, our chaperones (nuns) were not pleased, and it was a long ride home.
The Whole of the Moon
One Redditor had what sounds like a great experience visiting a rainforest at night, but it wouldn't be a memorable school field trip without some level of humiliation, would it?
"I had recently lost weight due to a bad case of pneumonia, so my pants were loose. I bent over to pick up my backpack and accidentally flashed everyone in the middle of a forest under a full moon. Someone pointed out [that] my round, pale a** perfectly matched the moon, and I was called 'Moon Moon' for the rest of the year."
Not That Kind of Water
Not everyone has been inside a Catholic church, and even if they have, they don't always know what to do. Some things, however, are simply unheard of — unless you're on a school trip and thirsty, according to a former chaperone.
"We were on an extended trip and doing a bit of sightseeing. [We] took the kids into a beautiful Catholic cathedral. [The] student sees people filling bottles of holy water at the front and, somehow, thinks it was drinking water. [He] proceeds to walk up to it and in front of everyone dunks his water bottle in and takes a long drink."
Have you ever been on a field trip to a county jail? One Redditor has and describes it as "fantastic."
"Prisoners were cursing us as we walked by; we walked through the solitary confinement area where all the windows on the cell doors were covered with paper for fear of [nudity]. One of the chaperone moms got curious and lifted the paper covering a window, and smushed up in the window was a terrifying, grimacing face just leering back.
"The mom, totally caught off guard by this, had the most hilariously terrified reaction I've ever seen. It was the most intense yet interesting field trip ever, [and] I've avoided going to jail so far. So, maybe it worked!"
A Definite Violation of Child Labor Laws
Finding cheap labor isn't easy, but how the school and destination location for one class trip got away with this one we'll never know. According to this Redditor, "My sixth-grade, end-of-the-year class trip was to a 'children's discovery learning center.' Nobody wanted to go, but a day out of school is a day out of school. We get there, and THE PLACE ISN'T EVEN BUILT YET!
"It was a big old Victorian house that was being renovated into this kids' museum we were supposedly going to. Instead, we went to the backyard of this place and had to weed and till a little garden, then plant cucumbers and carrots, so when the place was finished being renovated, they could give kids locally grown snacks on its grand opening.
"I paid $35 to get on a bus to travel an hour outside of town and prepare somebody else's garden. My teacher was an absolute moron."
The Old Bait and Switch
One Redditor was duped into going on a field trip to a Six Flags theme park in ninth grade. Where they ended up was somewhere entirely different.
"Shortly into our ride, we noticed that we were not headed in the direction of Six Flags. Where were we going? The municipal dump!
"They took us to the dump so that we could learn about the effects of garbage and recycling. It was the most depressing thing. All the students were really pissed. Our school basically used the fact that no one would have attended if we knew where we were really going, so they lied and misled us into believing we were going to Six Flags."
A Dish Best Served Cold
We've all had one of those teachers who really never warmed up to us — in fact, some teachers may have been downright mean for reasons we don't fully understand. One student who experienced this got the rare opportunity for comeuppance through a planetarium field trip:
"The year I was in third grade, [my teacher] was beloved by most of her students ... but had a habit of being passive-aggressive and saccharine toward more difficult pupils. She'd find (or invent) reasons to ignore difficult questions, offer vague threats about impending punishments or make small efforts to turn classmates against one another. She was not an especially likable educator ... and she became a truly reprehensible one when she insisted that Jupiter was bigger than the sun.
"At first, it seemed like a misunderstanding — our class had just entered into an astronomy unit, and one of our activities was to construct a scale model of the solar system. The reference image that we used came from a picture book, and in it, the sun had been reduced in size. The teacher had not noticed this fact and was therefore operating under the mistaken assumption that Jupiter was our largest celestial neighbor.
"Well, I knew better, and I tried to correct her. She replied to me with a tone of aloof dismissal, stating quite clearly that I was wrong. 'That's OK, though,' she said. 'After all, you're in school to learn new things.' Then, she smiled sweetly. I returned to my seat feeling thoroughly confused and frustrated.
"In the weeks that followed, I engaged in an all-out war against my teacher's pseudo-science. My father, having heard everything from me, sent me to school with one of his college textbooks, hoping to turn the tide of the battle. My teacher refused to even look at it. 'Class'" she said, rolling her eyes, 'Who can tell Max what the biggest object in the solar system is?' My face was burning with anger and shame as every other student shouted 'JUPITER!'
"Things only escalated from there. I refused to back down, despite having been labeled as the class dunce. Each time the topic came up, I tried to offer my evidence ... and each time, I was steadfastly opposed by everyone within earshot. Finally, after over a month of torment, our astronomy unit culminated in a field trip to the local planetarium. The show was a breathtaking adventure through our galaxy and the universe beyond, and it left me feeling infinitesimally small yet strangely empowered. As the lights came up, our guide to the cosmos asked if there were any questions.
"'Which is bigger,' I shouted, jumping to my feet, 'Jupiter or the sun?!' My entire class sighed in frustration, my teacher barked at me to sit down, and the astronomer looked thoroughly confused. 'The sun, of course,' he scoffed.
"A hush fell over the room. After a moment of utter silence, a girl named Melissa spoke up in a condescending tone. 'Well, sir, we have a chart that says Jupiter is bigger.' The astronomer looked at her. He looked at my teacher. Then, he looked at me with an expression of sympathy.
"'Little girl,' he said, returning his attention to Melissa, 'if you look at the picture again, you'll see that the sun is being shown at a fraction of its actual size. Otherwise, it wouldn't fit on the page.' His gaze moved to his next victim, who had slumped down in her chair so as to be almost as small as her students. 'Your teacher should have told you that.'
"Upon returning to our classroom, all the students crowded around our reference book. Sure enough, a tiny block of text explained that the sun had been scaled down in the illustration. I declared my triumph, having finally been vindicated. Nobody apologized, my teacher found new reasons to punish me, and I was treated with no small amount of scorn, but I didn't care. From that day forward, I knew to never be afraid of asking questions, nor of standing up for facts in favor of fiction."
Buses and Buffets Are Not a Good Combo
When you plan a field trip, you have to be on your game when organizing. As one educator tells us, "I was a long-term substitute teacher for a fifth-grade class, and we took our kids on a day trip to Chicago. [There were ] probably around 100 fifth graders in all — hectic but fun.
"On the way back, someone decided our buses would stop at a Golden Corral south of Gary for dinner. [It] probably doesn't take a rocket scientist to know this, but 100 10-year-olds and an all-you-can-eat buffet do not mix.
"Kids completely stuffed themselves with everything in sight, never-ending ice cream and cotton candy included. Soon, it was like a war zone out there, with kids puking left and right, while others complained of nausea and a general feeling of unwellness.
"I did my best to hold down the fort, but I knew we were fighting a losing battle. I felt so badly for the employees and other diners who were already there before our arrival."
Unexpected Plumbing Problems
A small-town student and a few classes from his school went to the big city on a science trip some distance away. On the way back, before the busses pulled out, teachers and chaperones asked everyone to "make sure you go to the bathroom" several times.
As one Redditor tells it, a kid named Kevin did not heed this advice. "[He] complains he has to go to the bathroom really badly. The teacher is upset, [and] we're about an hour from the nearest open business. She asks if he can wait — he starts freaking out because he's going to s*** himself. The bus pulls up to the nearest farmhouse. It is OLD, exactly like my grandparents' house. Probably 70 years old.
"The teacher takes Kevin off the bus to use the bathroom, and suddenly dozens of kids are shouting that they need to poop, too. So, the driver knocks on the door, asks if a few kids can use the bathroom because it's an emergency, and this kindly old couple says, 'Yes, of course, they can.'
The teacher marches about 20 kids into the house, and the look on the old people's faces was pure horror. If they had really old plumbing like my grandparents, I knew exactly what kind of damage 20 [kids] would do to their pipes at one time."
A Mini Museum Heist
Teachers even weighed in on their most memorable field-trip outings, and one remembered a student with exceptionally sticky fingers:
"I went on a class trip as chaperone to a science center. I was in charge of a group of eight boys. One of them goes missing. I ask the others where he went, and they don't know either. He's missing for about 10 minutes until a security guard from the center comes up to me with him.
"The guy asks, 'Is he one of yours?' and tells this kid to open his backpack when I say he is. [There's] probably $200 worth of stolen stuff in there. He spent the rest of the trip right next to me. From what I can remember, he had at least one light-up desk globe, a couple of chemistry kits and a Hoberman Sphere."
Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em
Some schools take kids on very strange excursions. According to a Redditor: "In tenth grade, we toured a cigarette factory.
"The company basically built the town, was the biggest employer, and two of its three biggest brands were named after the town. Probably a third to a half the class had a relative or neighbor who worked there, or the factory downtown, or were otherwise employed by the company."
This old-school "career day" field trip probably wouldn't fly today.
Have a Coke and a Sugar Rush
Another field trip that wouldn't likely fly today — a trip to a soda factory. According to the former student, he was in second grade when he toured the plant. "SURGE (Coke's answer to Mountain Dew) had just come out, and they gave each of us a free bottle.
"When we returned to school, the teacher had to take us outside for the next few hours to burn off all the caffeine. By the time our parents picked us up at dismissal, we were dropping like flies."
School of Rock
If you get to live out your rock 'n' roll dreams on a field trip, that's likely something you'll never forget. A former student, who was in eighth-grade advanced band, said, "We went to the House of Blues on Sunset [in Hollywood.] The people there invited my teacher to make a little blues band to perform when we visited for the other schools that would be there, too.
"My teacher chose me, my best friend and three of our other friends to perform. We spent two weeks writing a song and got to play it for everyone there. Best day of my middle school life."
That Teacher You'll Always Remember
As we said earlier, there are teachers that, for some reason, never warm up to us, but there are also those who propel us forward. One former student remembers a trip to "Disney World with the young astronauts club in the sixth grade. [It] was the biggest one, but the best was spending the day at the beach in the fifth grade.
"I remember every second of that trip; [our teacher] gave all of us a disposable camera and a notebook to write poems with. Only a good teacher can bring out such creativity in children."
Always Missing Mom
Parents can't always be field-trip chaperones for a variety of reasons, but when they can, it can be a treat for their kids. One Redditor, who was looking forward to the opportunity, heard from another who had always wished her mom could have joined her.
"I always wanted this as a kid. I remember asking my mom all the time if she was coming with us (“us” meaning me and the other kids on the trip, as if we were a big family because they were all it seemed I had). I remember wanting to show her off and brag about how she was my mom. But she always found excuses to never volunteer.
"As a kid, I couldn’t label how her declining to volunteer made me feel. But as an adult, I can tell now it made me so sad, and it made me feel as a child that she was disinterested in me and that she was glad to be pawning me off on some other adults to babysit for a while. So I’m so happy you’re going for your daughter."