Field Trips

Today the park and museums offer an even richer learning opportunity. Our goal is to provide a fun, memorable and productive experience for all students and teachers. Our field trip planning guide includes in-person and virtual offerings.

In-Person Field Trips

First in War Exhibit

45 mins (Grades 4-12)
Walk in the boot steps of America’s 1st Infantry Division as they fought in WWI, WWII and Vietnam. This docent-led tour will share stories about how teamwork and technology helped our soldiers accomplish their missions. The program content varies per grade level.

  • Illinois Social Science Standards related to history appropriate to each grade level. Disciplinary concepts: change, continuity and context; perspectives; and causation and argumentation

Teacher Takeover – 45 mins
Reserve a time slot for your class to take over the First in War exhibit. Your students can explore WWI, WWII and Vietnam at their own pace. This is your chance to create a custom experience in our galleries.

Special Outdoor D-Day Exhibit

Available starting June 2024
30 mins (Grades 4-12)
A lifetime can be lived or lost in 300 yards, and then there are the miles beyond.

On June 6th, 1944, soldiers rushed off boats and into freezing water, slogging their way over sand, across obstacles, through barbed wire and mines only to have gotten 300 yards up the beach. Beyond the beach lie a rocky shoal and 100 ft bluffs where German machine guns strafed the land below.

Join us on a journey to the top of our hill, following in the footsteps of soldiers who crossed Omaha Beach. This experiential outdoor exhibit will have students learning stories of individual US soldiers, diving into technology, and Allied and German strategy. See artistic versions of tank traps, landing craft, and hedgerows all meant to put students in the soldiers’ shoes.

Self-Guided Duty First Exhibit

30 mins (Grades 4-12)
Use the exhibit as a source for inquiry research. In this self-guided experience, students will explore missions related to battle, counterinsurgency, peacekeeping, military assistance, and deterrence. Spark a conversation: What can the modern military do? What should it do?

Soldier story pods with male and female soldiers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds talk about the missions they went on and how they felt about their service.

The tank battle recreation allows students to see a mission from the soldiers’ perspective. Sit in a Blackhawk helicopter model and explore the different jobs it does in the military.

The civic engagement interactive allows students to delve deeply into the decision-making process about when and where to deploy our military.

Artifacts tell a story about the tools used and the exhibit text provides context. Additional research and a debrief can be done in the classroom.

  • This field trip offers an opportunity to work on Illinois Social Science Standards related to inquiry skills
  • Illinois Social Science Standards related to history; specifically, change, continuity and context; perspectives; and causation and argumentation

Tank Tech (Outdoor program in the Tank Park)

45 mins (Grades 4-12)
From WWI to present day, the technology of tanks is constantly evolving. This unique program allows students to have fun while learning about the tanks. This experience includes a short tour of the Tank Park paired with games and activities to facilitate student learning about these incredible titans of technology. We will run this outdoor program as long as there is no lightning. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear!

  • Illinois Social Science Standards related to history; specifically change, continuity and context; and causation and argumentation

Capacity for all programs is 10 min and 50 max including chaperones; unless otherwise noted. We require 1 adult for every 10 students.

Soldier Stories

These programs usually take place in the Education Center adjacent to Prairie View.
Choose a conflict: American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, or World War II
45 mins (Grades 4-12)
Capacity: 10-35

Examine soldiers’ experiences through the things they carried. Students get hands-on with the uniform and equipment. Hear stories, play a game, and work in small groups to gain a more personal picture of war. Program content varies by grade level.

Self-guided Garden Activities

Plan a visit to Cantigny’s gardens or hiking trails on your next field trip. Our Horticulture team has chosen these two activity books for students to enjoy.

Please let our Reservation Specialist know if you would like to schedule a time to visit the gardens and she can build it into your schedule. We can have the activity book of your choice printed and ready with pencils. Happy adventures!

Virtual Programs

Mission Ready: Technology and WWI – 30-45 mins
Gear up and explore some of the terrifying technology of the first “modern war.” Students will discover how modern technology in WWI changed the way the war was fought and the experience of the soldiers in the war.

Mission Ready: Teamwork and WWII – 30-45 mins
Explore some of the US Infantry’s toughest missions: Operation Husky, D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. Your guide will share lesser-known tales of the teams and people who accomplished these missions.

First in War: Vietnam Veteran Interview – 30-45 mins
Explore Vietnam through the eyes of Sergeant Tom Brown, who served with the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966. A recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge and the Purple Heart, Tom will take you with him as he recounts his experiences during the Vietnam War, from basic training, to the day he was wounded, to his homecoming. As he speaks, he will show you what he carried with him during his service. Be prepared – Tom loves to answer questions!

Soldiers of the American Revolution – 30-45 mins
Join us for 3 interactive activities using art, artifacts, and technology to learn more about the military and soldiers during the American Revolution. The room where it happens can be your virtual classroom!

Soldiers of the Civil War – 30-45 mins
Examine a soldier’s experience through the things he carried. Students learn about the uniform and equipment of Civil War soldiers with an added focus on the reproductions of family letters of Civil War soldier, William Medill.

Virtual field trips address C3 Standards related to history; specifically, change, continuity and context; and perspectives.