The Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center offers classes to fourth and fifth grades from the Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) as well as, out-of-county, private and home school class on a space available basis. Students visit the museum for a one-day class trip and take part in a variety of exciting hands-on learning activities. The content of the field trips varies by grade level. Activities reinforce Sunshine State Standards concepts in social studies and science.
Fourth grade students participate in a hands-on curriculum in Florida History. Content is focused on prehistoric Indians, the arrival of Europeans in Florida, and the historic period during territorial times and early statehood. Activities include interactive guided tours of the museum, a replica pioneer “cracker” settlement and Seminole Indian camp.
Fifth grade students experience an interactive science curriculum that concentrates on swamp and river habitats. Content is focused on the adaptations displayed by plants and animals living in these wetland communities. Activities include an overview presented in a classroom setting, a visit to related exhibits in the museum (including an interactive exhibit on the Floridian Aquifer), an interpreted boat tour of the Silver River, and an eco-adventure conducted on our swamp boardwalk.
All Marion County Public Schools and non-MCPS class trips are scheduled by the Museum Clerk and are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Museum Clerk works closely with staff at each MCPS elementary and middle school to determine the number of days needed to accommodate classes and schedule visits.
All Non-MCPS class trips must be arranged in advance and not conflict with scheduled Marion County Public School class trips. Please contact us well in advance of your target visitation date to discuss availability.
What to Bring
Students/Teachers should bring the following:
- parent permission forms - signed; one per student (required)
- sneakers or hiking shoes (required)
- lunch - pack a lunch and drink in a cooler with ice (required) Lunches are unloaded upon arrival and stored in our dining pavilion. Recyclable containers are encouraged. There are no vending machines or microwave ovens available for use.
- a pencil or pen (we provide paper and clipboards)
- appropriate dress - dress to fit the season
- name tags - helpful for our staff
- insect repellent - choose one that protects against ticks
- spending money - students have the chance to visit the Museum Gift Shop; prices start at a quarter and all proceeds go towards our programs
What not to bring...
Students/Teachers may not bring the following:
- any items not allowed at school
- gum and candy
- toys or unnecessary personal items
- personal electronic devices (CD players, games, etc.)
- cell phones must be turned off and kept out of sight
Like a classroom, the outdoors is a place to learn. Please observe these rules to help ensure a safe learning environment for all:
- listen and follow instructions
- stay with the group unless given special permission
- do not touch plants or wildlife without permission
- watch where you are walking; stay on the trail
- remain seated on the tram and keep hands inside the vehicle at all times
Prescription medication must be disclosed upon arrival and should remain the possession of the teacher accompanying the class. Museum staff will coordinate with the principal, school nurse, and student's parent or legal guardian about medical issues concerning students.
All chaperones accompanying class trips must obtain approval from the school prior to visiting the museum. Chaperones are welcome and encouraged to help with trip activities. We ask that chaperones silence cell phones, refrain from smoking and gum chewing, and allow our Staff to lead the day and act as the primary instructor.
All students must bring a lunch. Lunches are unloaded upon arrival and stored in our dining pavilion. Coolers and recyclable containers are recommended. There are no refrigerators, vending machines or microwave ovens available.
MCPS Class Trips
Each year, the museum offers educational class trips for Marion County Public School (MCPS) fourth and fifth grade classes. Students are transported to the museum by a single MCPS bus. The bus reports to the school to pick up students at the school's starting time. Classes are encouraged to get organized and board the bus as soon as possible (this allows for more time at the museum). The bus also returns the class to school prior to the end of the school day.
Schools will be charged $3.00 per attending student to defray transportation expenses. No other fees apply for MCPS classes that visit the museum. All class trips must be scheduled in advance. Contact the museum clerk for more information. Parent chaperones must be pre-approved through their student's school and provide their own transportation. Parent chaperones are encouraged to attend and are exempt from any state park or museum entrance fees.
During class fieldtrips, visiting teachers, students, and chaperones are subject to the rules and regulations of the Marion County School Board. These rules also apply to the class while being transported to and from the museum. While at the museum students are expected to follow the Student Code of Conduct established by the School Board. School Board policies and the Code of Conduct can be found at the Marion County Public School website.
Teacher Reference Material is available on this website.
Full Day Trip Tour Option for Non-MCPS classes
A full day class tour is available for $350 per group of thirty-two persons. The number must be limited in order to accommodate everyone on the pontoon boat. A maximum of two groups of thirty-two persons may attend each day.
The fee covers entrance into the Silver River Museum, a guided tour of the museum and pioneer settlement, a tram tour of several natural communities, and a guided pontoon boat ride on the Silver River. Themes focus on ecology and Florida history and may be adjusted to suit particular groups. Indoor activities are available in the event of inclement weather.
All Non-MCPS classes arrange their own transportation to the museum. The museum's operating hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Groups should allow 4-5 hours for the tours. (9:00 am to 2:00 pm is recommended) The museum will need to know the group's arrival and departure times in advance in order to schedule staff.
Groups that attend a full day tour will need bring lunches in coolers with ice (we do not have refrigerators or vending machines). Students should wear good walking shoes, bring cameras, sunscreen, insect repellent, clothes to suit the weather, and spending money if they plan to visit the Museum Gift Shop.
Two-Hour Trip Tour Option for Non-MCPS classes
School groups (minimum of 20 persons and maximum of 32 persons per group) may schedule a two-hour class tour for $2.00 per person. Fees apply to students, teachers, and parents. The fee covers entrance into the Silver River Museum and a presentation either in the museum or the pioneer settlement. Themes focus on ecology and Florida history. Indoor activities are available in the event of inclement weather. No tram or boat rides are included in this tour.
Groups are welcome to bring lunches and spending money for the Museum Gift Shop. Students should wear good walking shoes; bring cameras, sunscreen, insect repellent, and clothes to suit the weather. After the tour visitors are welcome to walk the park trails, or picnic in our lunch pavilion.