Five Free Homeschool Field Trip Ideas in Waynesville, MO

Learning is a lifelong process. I recently had a 93 year old woman happily tell me “I learn something new every day!” Learning is also fluid and is not only confined to a classroom. As a child’s teacher you can provide depth to your lesson plan with a hands-on interactive field trip.

Fortunately, these trips do not have to be pricey or even within an urban setting. Waynesville, located in the Ozark Mountains of Mid-Missouri, is a prime example of a small-town, budget-friendly, field trip destination. During a field trip to Waynesville you and your students will discover Native American history, pioneer history, and military history. Your lesson plans could also touch on geology, hydrology, architecture, geography, engineering, transportation, nature, and art, among other subjects.

Route 66

Route 66 has been described as America’s largest open-air museum. Waynesville lines both sides of the legendary highway that runs through it. A highlight is the downtown bridge that spans the Roubidoux River. The bridge was constructed in 1923 and is eligible to be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. A sidewalk allows foot traffic to safely cross- and gives a bird’s eye view of the river below.

Roubidoux Bridge, a historic five-span concrete arch bridge on Route 66 in Waynesville, Missouri
Historic Route 66 bridge across the Roubidoux River in downtown Waynesville, Missouri.

Tip- Pulaski County Tourism Bureau offers a free Historic Driving Tour brochure that will deepen your understanding of the legendary Mother Road. Ask for the Waynesville Walking Tour guide also!

Trail of Tears Memorial

Trail of Tears Memorial is a thought provoking, poignant testimonial to an ugly, horrific event in American history. The memorial includes seven story boards, installed by the National Park Service, City of Waynesville, & the Missouri Trail of Tears Association. Signage begins at the natural spring and ends just north of the downtown bridge. The trail is hard surfaced and wheelchair accessible.

National Park Service Trail of Tears Signage at Laughlin Park in Waynesville, Missouri
Discover a hidden history at Waynesville’s Laughlin Park.
Family and dog enjoying Waynesville's Laughlin Park
Laughlin Park is a destination for families!

Tip- The trail continues to Roubidoux Park. Bring a picnic basket and discuss what you saw and learned over lunch.

Pulaski County Museum

Pulaski County Museum is in the 1903 courthouse building overlooking Route 66. This building housed Pulaski County’s government for over 85 years. The courthouse was designed by Missouri State Architect Henry H. Hohenschild. The upstairs courtroom is almost original to the day that it was built. Exhibits showcase items from the everyday life of Pulaski Countians.

Pulaski County Museum on Route 66 in downtown Waynesville, Missouri

Tip- The museum is open each Saturday April through September from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. Group tours by arrangement.

Old Stagecoach Stop

Old Stagecoach Stop is located on the downtown square, just a short walk from the Pulaski County Museum. This building has been a Waynesville landmark since the 1850s. It was used by the Union Army as a hospital during the Civil War. Each room in the two-story building represents a different use and era of the building’s life.

Old Stagecoach Stop in downtown Waynesville, Missouri

Tip- Admission is free. The Old Stagecoach Stop keeps the same hours as Pulaski County Museum. Group tours can be arranged. A wealth of historical information is included on their website.

Little Heroes Playground

We all know that play plays an important role in children’s development. Therefore, be sure to schedule recess at Waynesville’s Little Heroes Playground! This all-accessible play area is in Roubidoux Park.