West Virginia Field Trip Ideas
West Virginia, the 35th state, is the only state to have acquired its sovereignty by proclamation of the President of the United States. West Virginia is also one of the most naturally beautiful states in the country being the only state to lie entirely within a mountain range. There's a reason why it's called The Mountain State. As you can imagine, there are endless possibilities when it comes to field trips in West Virginia. Many know of the standard locations of Harper's Ferry or Senecca Rocks, even the ski resorts, but some spots are a little less known. Here's a list of 10 possible trip ideas that I think are interesting, probably less well known, and include more than just one activity or site.
1.) National Radio Astronomy Observatory site-Green Bank, WV
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV is truly one of a kind. It operates the world's premiere telescope that ranges from centimeters to millimeter wavelengths. With active research in a number of areas, the facility also offers STEM educational activities. But don't expect to use a cell phone there! Cell phones are strictly prohibited, and there are no cell towers!
2.) Indian Burial Mounds-Various locations
The Adena Indians were mound builders. They built large earthen mounds in which to bury their dead, and there are a number of mounds in WV. One is the Grave Creek Mound, in Moundsville. This is the largest mound, and also features and on site museum. The Criel Mound, located in South Charleston, is the 2nd largest of the remaining burial bounds in the state. A 3rd, much smaller mound, is located within Camden Park in Kenova, WV.
3.) New River Gorge Bridge-Fayetteville, WV
The New River Gorge Bridge boasts the longest bridge span in the Western Hemisphere and is the 3rd highest in the country. Here you will find hiking trails and beautiful nature galore! You're also nearby the Mystery Hole, which is a sight to see for sure!
4.) Civil War Sites-Various locations
West Virginia was born from the Civil War, so it makes sense there are so many sites in the state with Civil War history. There are reenactments all over the state, from Guyandotte in the west to Harper's Ferry in the east. In Princeton, WV you'll find The Dr. Robert B. McNutt House, which served as a hospital for both the Union and Confederates. With Lee in Virginia, by Heirloom Audio, is the perfect compliment for any Civil War trip!
5.) Blennerhasset Island State Park-Parkersburg, WV
Blenner Hassett Island State Park features a (recreated) historial mansion estate-once owned by Harman and Margaret Blennerhasset, on an island in the middle of the Ohio River. Park your car and ride the ferry to the island, then rent a bike to enjoy the grounds or even tour the mansion!
6.) The Clay Center-Charleston, WV
The Clay Center, located in Charleston, WV, is a great science center. It features mainstay exhibits as well as rotating exhibits. Upstairs you can find art one time, and history another. Be sure to check out the concert and speaker series as well! The concert hall is intimate, yet large enough to accomodate a nice crowd! While you're there, be sure to check out the State Capitol and it's golden dome!
7.) Smoke Hole Caverns-Cabins, WV
Smoke Hole Caverns is a large cave system in Cabins, WV. The caverns feature a unique history that ranges from Senecca Indians using them to smoke wild game to settlers using the many rooms in their bootlegging schemes. Located nearby Senecca Rocks, the area is a beautiful location for any nature enthusiast.
8.) Waterfalls-Various locations
I LOVE Waterfalls, and West Virginia has plenty to choose from! Everyone knows of Blackwater Falls, but just driving down Rt. 60 you can easily stop in at Cathedral Falls or even Kanawha Falls! Don't forget Sandstone Falls near Hinton, WV!
9.) Point Pleasant, WV
Point Pleasant is home to Mothman! There is a lot of historical things to see and experience around Point Pleasant, including the Silver Bridge Memorial, site of one of the deadliest bridge collapses.
10.) Exhibition Coal Mine-Beckley, WV
Coal Mining dominates the history of WV, so no field trip list could be complete without the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley. Take an automated ride through history as you experience, first hand, what mining was like in days gone by.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fantastic places in WV to tour, visit, and learn about. WV is full of beauty, history, and nice folks who love to talk!
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