Great Falls Field Trips

Our Great Falls location offers K-12 field trips every Spring and Fall. Programs are offered Wednesdays and Thursdays. The address for the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center is 11710 MacArthur Boulevard, Potomac, MD 20854. To schedule a field trip, please contact us at cocanaleducation@nps.gov or call us at (301) 714-2213.


As of January 1, 2016 the C&O Canal National Historical Park will charge education program fees for curriculum-based, park-led education programs at Great Falls (Potomac, MD). Fees collected will support the park education program and outreach to new school audiences. No more than $10 per student will be collected for any day of programs. Fee waivers are available for Title I schools.


Elementary Education Programs (Spring 2020)


Weathering and Erosion: Students will develop and improve their understanding of the effects of both physical and chemical weathering as well as erosion. Students will engage in viewing a hands-on model of weathering and then hike to the Great Falls Overlook, investigating various examples of weathering and erosion. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the effects of wind, ice and vegetation and the part they play in weathering and erosion.
Location: Great Falls Tavern and Olmsted Island trail
Length: 2 hours
Cost: $5 per person

Geology Walk: Students will improve and expand their understanding of how rock formations are formed and how long this process takes. They will experience a hands-on model of how metamorphic rocks are formed. As they walk down the towpath and along the Olmsted Island Trail to the Great Falls Overlook and Potomac Gorge, they will be able to identify evidence in patterns (layers, folding) of the rock formations. Students can participate in pre and post activities that will increase their knowledge about rocks.

Location: Great Falls Tavern and Olmsted Island trail

Length: 2 hours
Cost: $5 per person

Time in a Tree (STEM): In this activity, students will gain a basic understanding of native trees and plants in the Great Falls area. Students will work in groups to identify, measure, and estimate the height of trees around the Great Falls Tavern. Students will learn about what factors help and hurt development, as well as why trees are important for a healthy environment. Enhance student learning by completing pre- and post-visit activities.

Location: Great Falls Tavern
Length: 2 hours
Cost: $5 per person


Ecology Walk: Students will increase their understanding of habitats by observing an extensive variety of plants and animals in their natural habitat along the River Trail and Towpath. Students will identify and describe how the habitat meets basic needs of the plants and animals, what adaptations have been made and how invasive species have affected the habitat. Both pre- and post- activities will expand the students understanding and learning.

Location: River Trail and Towpath
Length: 2 hours
Cost: $5 per person


Transportation and History: UNAVAILABLE spring 2020 due to construction projects onsite. Please check back for fall 2020 availability. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Students will experience a mule-drawn canal boat ride which includes locking through a historic canal lift lock. Focus includes life on the canal, and technology of the lock structure. Students will "meet the mules" and talk with park rangers on the importance of mules to canal boat operations. In the Tavern Classroom, students will problem solve to discover the efficiency of transporting goods on a water way during the 19th century. They will analyze the natural resources of different geographic areas to determine the economic value in creating a transportation route along the Potomac River.
Location: Great Falls Tavern, Mercer Canal Boat, Lock 20
Length: 2 hours
Cost: $5 per person


Last updated: February 26, 2020

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Mailing Address:

1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740

Phone:

301-739-4200

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