Field Trip Policy
Field Trips are Teacher Guided: Due to limited staffing, field trips are teacher guided.
A park employee will provide a brief orientation at the Memorial Building. Groups will be provided with written instructions for touring the park and resources to compliment your visit. Teachers are responsible for the quality of the visit.
Group Size: Groups visiting the park are limited to 60 people (including teachers and adults). Park facilities can not accommodate groups larger than 60. Groups will be divided into smaller sub-groups while touring the park.
Scheduling: School field trips can be scheduled from March through mid May for weekday mornings at 9:00 or 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. If those time slots are full, you will need to schedule for another day.
Reservations are required: For all field trips it is essential that you call the park for reservations at least 3 weeks in advance of your visit. Call for reservations (270) 358-3137 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The park is located in the Eastern Time Zone.
Cancellation and Rescheduling of Programs: Please provide as much notice as possible when it is necessary to cancel your reservations. Trips may be re-scheduled if space is available. Call weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Chaperones: School groups should provide 1 teacher/chaperone to every 10 students. The park's resources are fragile and easily damaged. It is essential that teachers and chaperones control students to insure that they stay together, remain on designated trails, do not climb on walls and are well behaved. Chaperones must be aware of and responsible for their students at all times.
Safety: Groups should remain together and stay on paved walkways or trails. Students must not run in public areas. Students must stay off of all walls (including those on sides of steps).
Arrival at Park: When you arrive at the park, please check in with staff at the information desk before students unload. Arrive on time to ensure your group has adequate time for a complete visit.
Preserving Park Resources: The National Park Service was established to protect special places. Park staff is charged with protecting and enforcing the protection of the resources. All visitors, including students, are expected to observe the park regulations and not cause damage or destruction to the resources.
Park Regulations: Teachers should read the park regulations and ensure that students and adults know and understand the regulations before arriving at the park. The regulations are enforced to protect all visitors and the park resources.
Bus Parking: Located in the overflow parking area and is adjacent to the park entrance road on the left when entering the park. Bus drivers must turn off their engines during the visit. Students should stay on designated walkways and out of the parking lot.
Bus loading and unloading: Unload students in the overflow area. Students should follow the sidewalk from the lower end of the overflow parking around the parking circle to the Visitor Center.
To load the buses when leaving the park, students should follow the sidewalk around the parking circle back to the overflow parking area.
Manners: Please remember that many people use the park. Respect other park visitors and stay to one side of the path when meeting others on the walkways. Please keep the noise level down when in public buildings and outside. If you wish to have students visit the bookstore in the Visitor Center, a ratio of one adult to five students is required.
Bad Weather: The majority of the tour is conducted outside in any weather, unless safety is a concern.
Clothing: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Dress appropriately for weather. If rain is in the forecast, bring rain gear.
Restrooms: Located in the Visitor Center Building and picnic area. Adults must supervise groups using restrooms. Teachers are responsible for damage to facilities.
Picnic Area: Located on the east side of highway 31E. Food is restricted to the picnic area. There is one pavilion with 10 tables and 10 additional adjacent tables (number of tables may vary). The picnic area will accommodate 50-60 people and school groups are welcome to have lunch there. Please leave the picnic area and restrooms as clean as you found them. The park encourages groups to use the provided trash receptacles and recycling program. The picnic area is first come.
Guidelines for Field Trip
In order to ensure a successful, safe and enjoyable trip, please read these guidelines before making reservations for a field trip.
We ask that you share these guidelines with students (before the field trip) so they understand what is expected of them while in the park. We advise that you bring this information to the park with you.
Time Management: It is important to take into account and plan for the amount of travel time to and from the park, lunch/snack breaks and restroom breaks. The video starts promptly at scheduled times. If your group is late, the park cannot guarantee that you will have time to see all park features.
Park Regulations, Preservation and Policies: Ensure that the students know and understand that they are expected to practice regulations, and follow policy. Vandalism, littering, or destruction of government property, including plants and wildlife should be reported to park staff and is punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.
Conduct: Students are expected to behave appropriately and speak in low voices while inside park buildings and while outside touring the grounds. Respect the rights of others to enjoy the park. Respect each other, the park staff, chaperones and teachers.
Pedestrian Policy: Students should walk in single file. When ascending and descending any steps in the park, the group should remain on the right side of the steps at all times. This allows for the safe flow of pedestrian traffic.
Electronics Games, Music Players and Cell Phones: Students should not bring CD players, radios, I-Pods, cell phones or hand held games. Adults carrying cell phones should set them in a non-ringing mode while in the park.
Picnic Area: Eating is not permitted on the west side of highway 31E (historic area) and is restricted to the picnic area. The park picnic area is located on the east side of highway 31E. There is one pavilion which contains approximately 10 tables with approximately 10 adjacent tables. The picnic area is first come - no reservations. Teachers are responsible for the conduct of the students and are responsible for damages.
Chaperones: Chaperones will assist with safety, monitor conduct, enforce policy and regulations, guide the learning process and help focus students on the activity and/or park staff.
Park Bookstore: If the students are allowed to make purchases in the park bookstore, please do so in groups of no more than 10 students with teachers/chaperones. Teachers are asked to supervise the students' behavior and monitor purchases. Often, students do not have enough money for their purchases or they choose items that are not age appropriate.
The following actions are prohibited:
Touching or handling artifacts or historic fabric on park property
Touching any part of the cabin
Climbing, sitting, standing or walking on any walls including; the walls enclosing steps-especially those on either side of the Memorial Building steps, the wall close to the flag pole and at the Boundary Oak Tree site
Throwing or dropping anything into Sinking Spring
Stay on paved walks or designated trails
Shortcutting on trails
Flash photography in the buildings
Food and drinks in the buildings
Recreation activities including frisbee, softball, running games and racquet sports are restricted to the park picnic area
Destroying, removing, causing damage to rocks, leaves, plants, insects and animals
Feeding or harassing the wildlife
Collecting leaves, rocks, fossils or anything else for school projects or personal use
Areas Closed to the Public
Unimproved roads (e.g., fire roads) used by maintenance and as firefighting access are closed to public use for any purpose except by permission from the Superintendent.
The service road off U.S. 31E to the maintenance area and park quarters, and the road to the rear of the Memorial Building, are generally closed to the public except by permission from the Superintendent.
The park maintenance area and the park residential area are closed to the public.
Picnicking is permitted in the designated picnic area on the east side of U.S. 31E.
Picnicking is prohibited on the historical portion of the park on the west side of U.S. 31E.
Reservations will not be taken for any group.
Unauthorized banners, signs, posters, or similar items shall not be placed on the grounds, gates, fences, restroom building, trees, pavilion posts, or other park property.
Picnic tables rearranged to accommodate groups should be returned to their original location before leaving the pavilion.
Observations of vandalism, littering, destruction of park property, and the disturbance of plants and wildlife should be reported to a Park Ranger at the Visitor Center.
All litter shall be placed in the trash receptacles provided under or near the pavilion.
Fires are permitted only in personal charcoal grills or park-provided grills in the picnic area.
All fires shall be completely extinguished before the user leaves the picnic area.
During times of high fire danger, fires will be prohibited.
The picnic area will be closed during inclement weather conditions such as snow, ice, or when extreme temperature or wind creates a health or safety hazard to staff or visitors.
Dead or down wood products may not be removed without the permission of the Superintendent.
Did You Know?
Abraham Lincoln’s horse was named Old Bob. Old Bob was in the funeral procession for Lincoln on May 4, 1865. He was draped in black with reversed boots at his side in tribute to the President.