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Big River Journey Cruises

Big River Journey is a hands-on learning experience for students in grades 4-6. Aboard the Anson Northrup, students use microscopes to peer into the tiny world of aquatic invertebrates; study river geology using samples of sandstone, limestone and shale; check out river birds using binoculars; investigate the sources of river litter; and visit a riverboat captain in the pilothouse of the boat. Each of these hands-on stations allows students to connect with the river through science and real-world observations.

These special cruises are offered only on a limited basis. Cost is $8.50 for adults and children (12 and under). For additional information visit the Big River Journey Website at the National Park Service site.

Click here for information on other types of School Field Trips

Big River Journey Teacher Workshops

Big River Journey

All teachers are welcome to participate in the Special Big River Journey Workshops. Teachers will learn to conduct science activities on such topics as: aquatic insects, river geology, riverine ecosystems, river birds, riverboats, urban watersheds & water quality, river care-taking, and archaeology. Activities will assist teachers in addressing the Minnesota Profile of Learning and State graduation areas.

These programs, which provide Continuing Education Certificates, are conducted at Fort Snelling State Park Visitor Center in February.

For more information about BRJ Workshop contact Brian Goodspeed at the National Park Service 651-291-8414, or go to the NPS website.

Teacher resources

  • Map of School Field Trip route on river including descriptions of landmarks. (PDF)
  • Classroom activities designed to augment our Big River Journey trips. (NPS Website)
  • Full transcript of cruise narration played on field trip. (Word Document)
  • Narration worksheet you may assign your students. (Word Document)
  • Interesting geological facts about the Mississippi. (Word Document)
  • River fact sheet prepared by the National Park Service for Big River Journeys. (PDF)
  • More Mississippi River facts from the National Park Service (NPS Website)
  • A brief history of the Mississippi river in the Twin Cities. (River History)


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