We are in the middle of fall and that means field trip time is back in full swing! This is the season when homeschooling parents are trying to figure out everywhere they want to go that will tie into their students’ classes this school year. And let’s face it – they’re looking for somewhere interesting for kids of all ages so that everyone can enjoy themselves on the field trip!
I’ve been to Doylestown quite a few times but when I stumbled on Mercer Museum a new place to learn about opened up. It’s hard to believe that this field trip location is only 20 minutes from my house, yet it’s a museum that I’ve never explored before.
Visiting the Mercer Museum is perfect if you love history or if you are studying life in the early American colonies. Its founder, Henry Mercer, pulled together a 40,000-object collection that “documents the lives and tasks of early Americans…prior to the Industrial Revolution” (https://www.mercermuseum.org/visit/mercer-museum/about/). Everything is in one big stone castle room that is six stories tall! From butter making to glass blowing to pottery, tools, blacksmithing, and more, students (and parents) can learn much about this period in time. And if you have younger children, there is even an exhibit for them that lets them interact with the different species of animals that would have been around in colonial times. I would recommend spending at least two hours here so you do not feel rushed but are able to read and enjoy the different exhibits.
Also, nearby is Fonthill Castle, which is where Henry Mercer actually lived (https://www.mercermuseum.org/about/fonthill-castle/). Depending how much time you are able to spend in Doylestown, you could definitely stop here as well because it is only five minutes from the Mercer Museum.
However, if you want a break from all the history, take an hour or so to walk around Main Street and downtown Doylestown. This is such a neat little town with lots of little shops. There is also an amazing ice cream place called Sweet Pea, and all their ice cream is homemade. A must-stop place for sure!
Finally, plan on ending your day by visiting Peace Valley Park. Your time here can vary depending on how much time you have to spend. If you just need a little break in the beautiful outdoors, head down just to sit by the lake and let the kids get out some energy. Or if you know you will have the afternoon, bring some bikes to ride on the bike trail that goes around the lake. It is a beautiful ride! There is also a place where you can rent kayaks or paddleboats if you are looking to get out on the lake.
So, start your fall semester off by visiting Doylestown and enjoying a variety of different activities that make for a fun family field trip!
Previously published in the CHAP Magazine
Copyright, 2017, Rachel Rittenhouse