Big River Journey

Big River Journey Documents

  • Contact for the following documents
  • Big River Teacher's Guide part I: Table of Contents and Science-based Classroom Activities
  • Big River Teacher's Guide part II: Thematic Classroom Activities
  • Big River Teacher's Guide part III: Field Trip Logistics
  • Big River Teacher's Guide part IV: Resource Materials
  • Minnesota Academic Standards: Interface with Big River Journey
  • Big River Journey Media (Big River Journey Video | Media Kit )

General Information

Big River Journey (BRJ) is an integration of river and classroom experiences that connect 3rd-5th grade students with the science and heritage of the Mississippi River, and promote stewardship. BRJ culminates with a riverboat excursion on the Mississippi River featuring hands-on learning stations. Teachers who sign up for a Big River Journey trip incorporate river-theme activities into their classroom. Pre- and post-trip classroom activities are selected by each teacher from among the many activity options presented in advance teacher workshops. Workshops allow teachers to explore science activities that provide a foundation for related activities on the river, as well as thematic activities including geography, history, art, and more. Teacher workshop attendance is required of all teachers participating in BRJ field trips, unless the teacher has previously attended a workshop in the past 10 years. Big River Journey is aligned with state and district learning requirements.

Field Trip Fee

Cost per student is $9.95 (includes port fee). Scholarships and bus stipends are available for qualifying schools.

Field trip payments are handled by the Padelford Riverboats (ph: 651-227-1100) which will contact you for billing if your school is chosen to participate. .

Field Trip Description

Big River Journey riverboat field trips run between Harriet Island (St. Paul) and Fort Snelling State Park. Trips are designed for up to 120 3rd-5th grade students, and feature staffed learning stations with hands-on activities on the following topics (subject to change):

  • Aquatic insects & water quality

  • River geology

  • River ecosystems

  • River birds

  • Watershed stewardship

  • Riverboats & piloting

  • Archaeology*

  • Floodplain forest*

  • Cultural confuence hike*

  • Water quality lab*

*land-based experiences on trips paired with Fort Snelling State Park visits.

Additional Information

Big River Journey is coordinated by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (National Park Service) in cooperation with the Padelford Riverboats. Field trip program presenters include staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Padelford Packet Boat Co., Science Museum of Minnesota, Historic Fort Snelling and Saint Paul Audubon Society.

Big River Journey is made possible
by the generous support of:
Mississippi Park Connection, 3M Foundation, Ecolab Foundation,
David Winton Bell Foundation, the National Park Foundation, and XCEL Energy.

Last updated: September 22, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul , MN 55101


651 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center.

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