Field trips should be fun and educational—which is exactly why trips to roadside zoos, animal circuses, and other establishments that use animals for entertainment aren’t at all appropriate for students. Thankfully, there are plenty of enriching activities that teachers can do with their students.

Of course, every area has different destinations available—so if you need help finding a field trip destination near you that doesn’t harm animals, let us know and we can help you look.

Here are some animal-friendly locations to consider when planning a kind field trip:

Visit a local open-admission animal shelter. Teach your students about companion animal overpopulation and the importance of adopting dogs and cats instead of buying them, all while helping those who are waiting for homes. Most animal shelters are happy to accommodate a visit from a school group, so give one near you a call to see if you can arrange something.

Nature parks, forest reserves, and botanical gardens are all lovely places to visit if your students want to see a bit of the outdoors and check out local horticulture. A hike and a picnic in a park or forest where students can spot birds, bugs, squirrels, and other small animals in their natural habitat is a fun way to engage kids with nature and local species.

Museums and libraries often have interesting, kid-friendly exhibits and features. Call a local library to see what their children and teen sections are offering, and check out local museums to find out if any field trip–worthy events or exhibits are being featured.

Animal-free circuses are tons of fun—especially because, unlike animal circuses, all the participants are there because they want to be. Check out this list to see if there are any in your area. This is a great option to propose in place of a field trip to an animal circus.

Renting interesting, high-quality nature documentaries or finding an online video stream showing animals in nature can be exciting and educational for kids, too—and unlike at a roadside zoo, kids will actually see what animals are like in their natural habitats. Throw in some vegan snacks and you have all the makings of a super-fun classroom movie day to go along with a unit on animals.

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