Road Schooling? Head to Galveston for Hands-on Learning Experiences

Let's face it; the face of school has changed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, many families have decided to carve out time and hit the road to be together and experience the world around them, choosing “road schooling” over homeschooling.

pictured: Moody Gardens Aquarium

Whether it’s renting an RV and visiting state parks or heading to cities and towns with historical significance, learning takes on new meaning when students can live the lessons. Here in Galveston, your learner will learn about immigration, the maritime industry, nature, the coastal environment, and more.

The Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau has compiled a guide that includes lessons about Galveston’s historical places, immigration experiences, and The Great Storm of 1900. The site shows you how to prepare for your visit and offers activities to reinforce lessons after a visit. Students can also download activity sheets.

Road Schooling

The Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) is another excellent resource for hand-on, in-person learning opportunities. Students can learn about stately mansions, historical homes, Galveston’s maritime history and significant immigration history.

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GHF manages and maintains properties that include the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, 1877 Tall Ship Elissa – the official Tall Ship of Texas – and the Texas Seaport Museum.

Not many people know that during the late 1800s, Galveston was the site of the second-largest immigration point in the U.S. – second only to New York’s Ellis Island. Go here for details.

Island Time

The Bryan Museum in Galveston is home to one of the world’s largest collections of art and artifacts relating to Southwest history. As its proprietor likes to say, “History is not boring!” Your students will agree.

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The Bryan Museum is housed in what was once the Galveston Orphans Home, a 1900 Storm Survivor, the museum features essential documents, weaponry, spurs, saddles, paintings, sculptures and more. An impressive, intricate diorama that captures the moment of Santa Anna’s demise during the Battle of San Jacinto will thrill students of Texas history. The museum also houses a children’s area that preserves relics from its days as an orphans’ home, plus colorful, interactive exhibits. Supporting educational resources to enhance in-person visits can be found at its website.

Island Time

Travel to the far corners of the world with a visit to the pyramids at Moody Gardens. Here, kids of all ages can experience life on the world’s continents and in its oceans. The Moody Gardens pyramids are teeming with life and learning.

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Visit the rainforests of Africa, Asia and South America at the Rainforest Pyramid and learn about the animal and plant life that live there. See free-roaming birds, monkeys and sloths. Visitors can touch stingrays and jellyfish at the aquarium and watch caretakers feed sharks, seals, and penguins. Educational films are screened regularly at the complex’s 3D theater. Guides and activities to support lessons learned here are offered here.

The Moody family was, and remains, prominent members of the Galveston community. The Moody Mansion offers a glimpse of what life was like on the island before and after the 1900 storm. To learn more about this grand structure and the people who once lived there, visit the mansion (be sure and check out the vintage car collection!) and take a self-guided tour. Find details here.

Road Schooling

Back in the day, Galveston was one of the wealthiest cities in Texas. Known as the Wall Street of the South, industrialists made their fortunes transporting cotton from the port throughout the state by rail. The Galveston Railroad Museum gives visitors a glimpse of those bygone days with tours of rail cars. Train rides are offered regularly, and the museum offers special holiday-themed events.

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Few destinations have weathered the test of time through war, colonization and natural disaster and lived to tell the tale like Galveston. Steeped in American history, the island offers veterans and history buffs alike the chance to discover remnants of its fascinating past. For a bit of naval history, guests can visit Galveston’s Seawolf Park, the berthing place of the USS Stewart and USS Cavalla, which is best known for sinking a Japanese ship involved the Pearl Harbor attack. Also visible from Seawolf Park is the SS Selma, a concrete ship launched the same day Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending World War I.

When you’re at lunch at one of Galveston’s family-owned seafood restaurants, contemplate your fish. It was likely swimming in the Gulf hours before it arrived on your plate. When you visit Galveston’s harbor, you’ll see the hardworking anglers who set out before dawn to reel in the bounties of the sea.

Seafood markets here offer the freshest of the fresh seafood. While you’re at the harbor, set sail on a harbor tour to learn about the port’s significance, see the industry in the shipping channel and spot dolphins!

The East End Lagoon at the island’s eastern tip is a 684-acre parcel of coastal prairie. Recently, upgrades to the area have included a new nature trail, complete with interpretive signage, allows visitors to learn about the habitat and the creatures that live here. The East End Lagoon is a birder’s paradise and a popular kayaking location on the island.

Road Schooling

The oil industry is a big business in this area of the country. Learn about it at the Ocean Star Offshore Lone Star Oil Rig Museum. Housed in a retired jack-up drilling rig that sits over the water, visitors here will see offshore drilling equipment, exhibits, and videos at this three-story venue. For details, visit here.

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Save Big with the Galveston Island Pass

The Galveston Island Pass is your key to adventure and savings when you explore the many attractions that make Galveston a great place to visit. Choose a minimum of four attractions to receive up to 40% of the retail price for admission. Passes are valid for 30 days after purchase. For details, visit www.galvestonislandpass.com.

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Visit Galveston

The Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (GICVB) is the official destination marketing organization for Galveston Island, Texas.