The National Park Service shares the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Lewis and Clark Visitor Center at Gavins Point Dam. Every spring, the visitor center and the power plant host school field trips. The following activities are available for your classes:
- Power Plant Tour -- A Corps of Engineers Ranger-guided tour of the power plant, including the generator room, driveshaft area and machine shop. The tour takes 30-40 minutes. Each tour is limited to 30 people. Cameras, cell phones, purses, backpacks, food and drink are not permitted in the power plant. All visitors over age 18 must present a valid photo ID.
- Visitor center activities -- Indoor activities that challenge students' learning skills as they explore the exhibits:
1. The Discovery Trail is targeted toward grades 1 and 2 and utilizes the student's observation and counting skills.
2. The Adventure Trail is for grades 3 to 5, directing students to read specific parts of exhibits and, in some instances, to form conclusions.
3. The Explorers' Trail challenges grades 5 to 7 classes to find specific information at each exhibit and to process this data to answer questions.
Students are introduced to the National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, then are allowed 15 to 20 minutes to complete the activity sheets, usually in teams of two. After the allotted time, students are gathered together and a ranger reviews the questions for the students to answer verbally or by polling, and elaborates on some of the questions as time permits. Plan on at least 40 minutes total for a visitor center activity.
- Videos -- Several video presentations are available for students at the visitor center:
Construction of Gavins Point Dam -- A brief background of the Missouri River dams and details of the construction process. Suggested for grades 2 and up. 10 minutes.
Seasons of the Missouri -- A year of scenery and wildlife along the Missouri National Recreational River. For all ages. 9 minutes.
We Proceeded on -- A short history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Suggested for grades 5 and up. 32 minutes.
Safe Passage -- An entertaining adventure story that teaches the basics of water safety. Suggested for grades K to 6. Coordinated activity books are provided on request (as available). A teacher's guide is available. 38 minutes.
Bobber the Water Safety Dog -- A series of animated cartoons introducing water safety from preschool to grade 3 students. Coordinated coloring pages are provided on request (as available). More materials are available. Approximately 20 minutes total.
The Young and the Reckless -- The story of a group of students creating their own video on boating safety. Suggested for grades 5 to 10. 21 minutes.
Video times above are actual run times.
Please schedule sufficient time for students to enter and leave the theater and to make rest room stops, particularly when planning multiple activities.
Reservations are required for field trips. For more information or to schedule a field trip, please contact the National Park Service or the Corps of Engineers at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center, (402) 667-2546.
Planning a field trip to the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center might not be as hard as it sounds. For teachers it is important to remember that with the proper amount of planning, your field trip can turn out to be a most welcome learning experience for your students.
There are 3 basic steps in making a reservation:
1) The first thing that you need to do is figure out how many students you want to take.
2) Once you get that number, you then need to pick a date.
3) By contacting the park at (402) 667-2546, we can reserve a date and a time for your class.
The teacher who calls early in the calendar year stands the best chance of having the requested day and time accepted. When you call, we will ask you for the following information:
- Your school name, its address and telephone number
- The date and time of your field trip
- The activities in which you are interested (from the above list)
- The grade/age of your students
- The number of students and chaperones (we suggest one for
every ten students)
6) The contact person or teacher
The next steps are to prepare your permission slips and to obtain volunteers to help chaperone the students. You will also want to arrange transportation for your students. Missouri National Recreational River does not provide transportation to any part of the river or to and from the school. Depending upon your schedule, you might want to plan on lunch at the picnic shelter near the visitor center (weather permitting).
All of these options can be discussed with our ranger staff, all of whom are most willing to make your class trip a pleasurable experience for everyone involved.