Programs for School Groups

The following field trip programs are designed for visiting school groups, preschool classes, day care groups, or homeschool groups.  School groups may also choose to take a regular tour without the lesson option. All tours include a train ride.* Guided tours are only available by advance reservation with three weeks notice on weekdays when the museum is open. If you have any questions or would like to book a tour, please send an email to the museum’s Education Coordinator or call the Education Department at 770-495-0253.

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Tour prices are:

  • Children (2-12): $9
  • Adults: $11
  • Seniors: $9
  • For school tours, one chaperone is allowed in free of charge per each 8 children. There is a 10 person or $90 minimum for all tours. 
  • Tours must be paid in full three weeks before your visit. If your tour is not paid in full, you will lose your scheduled time slot. No refunds are made due to cancellation or default, but a rain check (valid for 2 years) will be given to you to visit the museum at a later date.
  • Free passes and memberships are not valid for education tours.
  • Same-day cancellations, reschedules, or no-shows are subject to a rescheduling fee of 20% of your total tour fee, up to $50.

It is the responsibility of the tour group to arrive at the museum on time for their scheduled tour. Please take into consideration time of day, traffic conditions and distance to get here. If your tour arrives late, it could affect the length of your tour. 

Visits begin at either 10:00 am or 10:30 am, or other times upon request.

We have an outdoor picnic area with tables and gazebos for our group visitors to enjoy lunch after their tour, available on a first come basis.

Most of the museum is NOT climate controlled, so temperatures can get warm in the summer and cold in the winter. Please dress accordingly! We suggest bringing water bottles in the warmer months.


Regular Guided Tour

Target audience: Suitable for all ages
Field trip program length: 2 hours

Our tour guides will lead you through the historic exhibits and highlights of the museum while describing what it was like to ride the rails during the Age of Steam. Following the tour, groups will take a ride on a historic train car.


Optional Field Trip Programs for Schools

Target audience: Pre-K and Kindergarten

Field trip program length: 2 hours, including tour, craft and train ride

This program is all about trains! Children will gather around a model railroad and learn:

  • How a train works
  • What is transported by train
  • Train jobs
  • Whistle, lantern, and flag signals
  • Train safety
Children will also make a train-themed craft. Following the 45-minute interactive program, children will take a 45-minute tour to see two historic passenger cars, a steam engine, a caboose, a refrigerated car, and more.

Lastly, the children will take a ride on a real train.

This program covers the following Georgia Performance Standards and Gwinnett County Academic Knowledge and Skills:

  • GPS (SKP2), AKS (KSC C2007-10) – Students will investigate different types of motion.
  • GPS (ELAKLSV1), AKS (KLA A-2009-1,3 & 6) – Students use oral and visual skills to communicate.
Train rides are subject to weather and other conditions outside the museum’s control. Train ride tickets will be given for a later date if the train is unavailable during the tour time.
Target audience: 2nd grade and 4th grade

Field trip program length: 2 hours, including a social studies program OR* science program, activity, tour, and train ride

In this program, children are divided into groups and rotate through three different stations:
  • Lesson
    • Social Studies (45 minutes): The lesson overviews how goods are transported through, into, and out of Georgia today. Students review the five geographic regions of Georgia and the products that come from each. Fourth grade only: students choose a product from a specific region and are given coins to pay to transport their item through Georgia and overseas. Students must work together to decide how to transport the item using only the amount of money they are given.

      OR*

    • Science Lesson (45 minutes): When selecting this program, the teacher chooses whether they would like the science lesson to include the properties of matter and their changes of state (which will be covered by discussing steam power), or energy, energy sources, and how they are used (which will be covered by discussing how trains move). For fourth grade, we typically discuss force and motion.
  • Tour (45 minutes): The students will tour historic passenger cars, steam engines, freight cars, kitchen cars, and post office cars. They will see how past Georgians traveled and shipped goods (including mail).

  • Train Ride: Students will experience what it is like to ride on a real train. Not many children get to experience this in their lives anymore!
This program covers the following Georgia Performance Standards and Gwinnett County Academic Knowledge and Skills:

  • GPS (SS2G1>, AKS(2SS_C2008-18-19) – The student will locate major topographical features of Georgia and will describe how these features define Georgia’s surface
  • GPS (SS2H1b) – Describe how everyday life of these historical figures is similar to and different from everyday life in the present (food, clothing, homes, transportation, recreation, rights and freedoms)
  • GPS(SS2E1), AKS(2SS_H2008-42) – The student will explain that because of scarcity, people must make choices and incur opportunity costs.
  • GPS(SS2E3), AKS(2SS_H2008-44) – The student will explain that people usually use money to obtain the goods and services they want and explain how money makes trade easier than barter.
    OR
    Teachers must pick ONE of the following science programs:
  • GPS(S2P1), AKS(2SC_C2007-10) – investigate the properties of matter and changes that occur in objects
  • GPS(S2P2), AKS(2SC_C2007-11) – identify sources of energy and how energy is used
  • GPS(S2P3), AKS(2SC_C2007-12) – demonstrate changes in speed and direction using pushes and pulls
  • (GPS, ITBS) (4SC_C2006-14) - demonstrate the relationship between force and motion

*If you would like to receive both the Social Studies AND Science programs, there is a $2 additional fee per child.

Train rides are subject to weather and other conditions outside the museum’s control. Train ride tickets will be given for a later date if the train is unavailable during the tour time.
Target audience: 3rd grade

Field trip program length: 2 hours, including tour, lesson, and train ride.

Third graders will study trains and the interdependence of trade locally, nationally and globally. The major topography of the United States will be discussed. The program is made up of three parts.

  • Lesson
    • Social Studies: A social studies lesson about the importance of trains to trade. We will discuss interdependence and the three types of trade (local, national and international) as well as learn the topography and geography of the United States. We will identify major rivers and mountain ranges across the country along with learning basic map skills.

      OR*

    • Science: An informative science lesson about the basic effects of heat and cooling. Learn about steam locomotives and how they work and what it takes to get them to run.

  • Tour: Led by a guide, students will explore our historic and famous trains, such as the Superb (President Harding’s Presidential Train), steam engine 750 (a train that traveled to Key West before Henry Flagler’s railroad was destroyed by a hurricane), and a Railway Post Office. We will also tour trains that were used for commerce and trade in the United States.

  • Train Ride: Students will experience what it is like to ride on a real train. Not many children get to experience this in their lives anymore!
Georgia Performance Standards that will be covered for third grade:
    SS3G1,SS3E1, SS3E3

*If you would like to receive both the Social Studies AND Science programs, there is a $2 additional fee per child.

Train rides are subject to weather and other conditions outside the museum’s control. Train ride tickets will be given for a later date if the train is unavailable during the tour time.
Target audience: 5th grade

Field trip program length: 2 hours, including history program OR science program, tour and train ride

In this program, children are divided into groups and rotate through three different stations:

  • Lesson (45 minutes)
    • History: In this program students will be organized around a giant map of the United States and interact with various artifacts, trains, boats, and historic maps and learn:
      • Where railroads went
      • How railroads changed where Americans lived, worked and communicated
      • How railroads impacted the American economy

    OR*

    • Science: Students will learn how a steam engine works and then watch one work. They will also participate in various experiments on force and motion to discover how a locomotive works. The science lesson continues on the train ride, where the instructor reviews the forces being acted on to make the train move.

  • Tour (45 minutes): The students will tour historic passenger cars, steam engines, freight cars, kitchen cars, and post office cars. They will interact with a working telegraph at the depot exhibit. Students will also discuss the search for gold; the California gold rush being one of the leading pushes for westward expansion of the United States.

  • Train Ride: Students will experience what it is like to ride on a real train. Not many children get to experience this in their lives anymore!

This program covers the following Georgia Performance Standards and Gwinnett County Academic Knowledge and Skills:

  • GPS (SS4H6 b), AKS (4SS A2008-11)
    Describe the impact of the steamboat, the steam locomotive, and the telegraph on life in America

  • SS4E1 f
    Give examples of technological advancements and their impact on business productivity during the development of the United States (such as the steamboat, steam locomotive, and telegraph).

  • GPS (Map and Globe Skills 11), AKS (4SS A2008-11)
    Compare maps of the same place at different points in time and from different perspectives to determine changes, identify trends, and generalize about human activities.

*If you would like to receive both the Social Studies AND Science programs, there is a $2 additional fee per child.

Train rides are subject to weather and other conditions outside the museum’s control. Train ride tickets will be given for a later date if the train is unavailable during the tour time.
Target audience: 2nd grade, 5th grade, 8th grade Field trip program length: 2 hours, including an interactive tour focused on civil rights and a train ride. In this program, children are divided into groups and rotate through these stations:
  • Tour of Historic Depot and Building 1 (90 minutes): During this tour, students will tour the historic segregated depot and discuss the importance of the cotton trade to the region, and the Jim Crow laws of segregation. The tour will continue to a Pullman Car, and steam engine where the students will discuss the job opportunities that newly freed slaves had versus those that were offered to white people. We will discuss the formation of the first African American Union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The students will then tour a segregated train car and bus and discuss the civil rights leaders who stood up against “separate but equal” policies.
  • Train Ride: Students will experience what it is like to ride on a real train. Not many children get to experience this in their lives anymore!
This program covers the following Georgia Performance Standards for 2nd, 5th, and 8th grades: 2nd Grade
  • GPS (SS2H1 a and b) Identify the contributions made by these historic figures: Martin Luther King, Jr. (civil rights); Describe how everyday life of these historical figures is similar to and different from everyday life in the present (food, clothing, homes, transportation, communication, recreation, rights, and freedoms
  • GPS (S2P1) Students will investigate the properties of matter and changes that occur in object
5th Grade
  • GPS (SS5H2 c) Explain how slavery was replaced by sharecropping and how African Americans were prevented from exercising their newly won rights; include a discussion of Jim Crow laws and customs.
  • GPS (SS5H8 b) Explain the key events and people of the Civil Rights movement; include Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and civil rights activities of Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr.
8th Grade
  • GPS (SS8H6 c) Analyze the impact of Reconstruction on Georgia and other southern states, emphasizing Freedmen’s Bureau; sharecropping and tenant farming; Reconstruction plans; 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the constitution.
  • GPS (SS8H7 b) Analyze how rights were denied to African-Americans through Jim Crow laws, Plessy v. Ferguson, disenfranchisement, and racial violence
  • GPS (S8P1) Students will examine the scientific view of the nature of matter. Train rides are subject to weather and other conditions outside the museum’s control. Train ride tickets will be given for a later date if the train is unavailable during the tour time.
New in 2015!

Target audience: Elementary school classes

This program is for the elementary art student. The program is a hands on experience and available to grades K through 5th. This is a new option for elementary art teachers to take their classes on a field trip. The program uses the guidelines of the Georgia Performance Standards and will last 2.5 hours. It is an elementary art program that gives the student a sensory experience to learn about art. There are 4 parts to the program.

Part 1: Children will get a unique art appreciation lesson taught by a state certified art educator. They will explore paintings related to the railroad by famous artists. Some of the artists we will learn about are Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edward Hopper and Thomas Hart Benton, to name a few. We will explore the elements of art as well as the principles of design through the paintings. The lesson will be adapted for the appropriate grade level, K-5th.

Part 2: Children will get an art experience. They will have a hands on experience making a 3D paper project related to their lesson and experience at the museum. They will each make their own to take home.

Part 3: What better way for a child to learn about art then to have it come to life! This part of the program gives students a tour through the museum that will focus on the actual items they have just seen in the paintings. In the tour they will see such things as train cars, locomotives, uniforms, railroad tools, go through an actual depot and much more.

Part 4: The final part of the program gives children the experience of riding a train. This experience, will immerse them into the various paintings they have seen as they imagine riding the train that is in the works of art. They won’t have to wonder what it is like to ride on a real train anymore. They will walk away knowing that experience by the end of their visit.*

Georgia Performance Standards for each grade level that will be covered:
  • Kindergarten – VAKMC.1, VAKMC.2, VAKMC.3, VAKCU.2, VAKAR.1, VAKAR.2, VAKC.2
  • First – VA1MC.1, VA1MC.2, VA1MC.3, VA1CU.1, VA1CU.2, VA1AR.1, VA1AR.2,VA1C.2
  • Second – VA2MC.2, VA2MC.3, VA2CU.2, VA2AR.1, VA2AR.2, VA2C.2
  • Third – VA3MC.3,VA3CU.1,VA3CU.2, VA3AR.1, VA3AR.2, VA3C.1, VA36.2
  • Fourth – VA4MC.3, VA4CU.1, VA4CU.2, VA4AR.2, VA4AR.3, VA4C.1, VA4C.2
  • Fifth – VA5MC.3, VA5CU.1, VA5CU.2, VA5AR.2, VA5AR.3, VA5C.1, VA5C.2
*Train rides are subject to weather and other conditions outside the museum’s control. Train ride tickets will be given for a later date if the train is unavailable during the tour time.

(If the table above with descriptions of different age-appropriate tours is not working, click here for the text.)


Field Trip Planning Resources

Target Field Trip™ grants are awarded to schools nationwide. Applications are accepted between August 1 and October 1. For the latest information, see the Target Field Trip™ website.

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