Field Trips

A ranger helps a student place a tipi pole while other students watch
During a tipi program, a ranger helps students learn about traditional homes and how to put up a tipi.

NPS Photo

Planning Your Field Trip

We ask that all school groups e-mail to make a reservation. Even if you are you planning on doing a self-guided visit to Whitman Mission, we ask that you still contact us for a reservation as there is limited bus parking.

May and early June are the busiest months for field trips, but we have field trips all throughout the year. With around 5,000 students visiting each year, the calendar can fill up quickly so we encourage you to contact us early for a reservation for spring. We try to respond to reservation requests within 24 hours, if you have no received a reply, please check your spam folder as our emails may have been placed there.

Information to Have Ready to Make a Reservation

When you contact us to reserve a field trip, we will ask for the following information:

  • School and Teacher Name
    • Phone and E-mail contact information
  • Grade
  • Number of students, classes, and chaperones
  • 3 preferred dates for the field trip
  • Arrival/Departure Times (We encourage 2 hours of activity time on site)
  • Do you want ranger led activities?
    • We can plan the activities and schedule for you based on your arrival and departure times
      • Ranger-guided activities could include a ranger walk on the mission ground, a ranger walk to the gravesite and hill, a tipi demonstration, and/or a hands-on program
    • If you do not want ranger-led activities, please still make a reservation as bus parking is limited
  • Do you plan to eat lunch at the park picnic shelter?
  • Any special accommodations we should be aware of before you arrive

Reservations are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis by calling 509-522-6360 ext. 2057 or sending an e-mail to e-mail us. If you e-mail, please check your spam folder as sometimes teachers have found our replies are sent to spam.


The visitor center, museum, and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. There are curb cutouts in the entry drive in front of the visitor center. The museum and theater are located on one floor. The park film is open captioned and large print resources are available. A wheelchair is also available for public use.

For more information about accessibility at Whitman Mission NHS, you can contact a ranger or visit our Accessibility web page.


Tips for a Successful Field Trip

We have a few suggestions to help make a field trip successful:

  • We recommend that each class watches the park film before arriving. Why spend valuable field trip time watching the film when you can do that ahead of time and spend more time exploring the park! The park film is available on our website
  • Try to plan on 2 hours in the park; each ranger-led rotation is planned in 30 minutes sections and allows for bathroom breaks and late bus arrivals. Typically the more time, the better we can plan for hiccups or late starts.
  • If you are planning on spending more than 2 hours in the park, rangers may suggest a mixture of guided and unguided activities for your field trip.
  • If you plan on combining a field trip to Whitman Mission NHS with a field trip to another location, please let us know when making your reservation, it helps us to know if you have a hard leave time. Also plan on the time in between locations taking longer than anticipated.

A uniformed ranger leads a group of students in tie-dye shirts down a sidewalk path
A ranger-led mission walk is one of the most popular field trip activities

NPS Photo

We always plan to have schools arrive on time as set up in the reservation, but we know that unplanned changes or issues can arise. If you know ahead of your visit that you need to change times, please let us know as soon as you can and we will work with you to adjust the schedule. Schools that arrive late may be subject to changes in the planned schedule.

Protecting the National Historic Site

In order to have a fun and exciting experience, a firm framework of rules should be discussed in advance. The discussion should include the following points:

  • Respect historic structures, animals, and plants at Whitman Mission.
  • Harassing animals, picking flowers and grasses, and removing pinecones, feathers, and other natural objects are illegal.
  • Respect other visitors at Whitman Mission by refraining from disruptive behavior.
  • Respect each other, the ranger, chaperones, and teachers.
  • Stay on the trail unless otherwise instructed.

Additional Reminders

  • Teachers are responsible for following school regulations regarding parental permission slips, travel authorization/insurance, etc. An accident can ruin a field trip and jeopardize future ones. Safety is of utmost importance. Students must always be with adults.
  • Remind students to check the weather and bring appropriate, comfortable clothing, including comfortable walking shoes.
  • For safety and courtesy, rangers prefer to call students by name. Please wear name tags during your visit. Masking tape with names written in big letters works well.
  • Everyone needs to bring a lunch and a drink if you plan to eat on-site. No food or drink is available at the park. Water fountains may be available depending on the time of year. Students are expected to clean up the lunch area.

Chaperone Guidelines to Share with Parents

We need the participation and cooperation of each chaperone to make the trip a success. Remind chaperones that they are an important partner in our program. We will be asking that each chaperone:

  • Avoid bringing siblings who are not part of the class. Your full attention is needed to help monitor the students assigned to you that day.
  • Assist with safety.
  • Be an active participant.
  • Provide guidance to students for lunch and clean-up.
  • Help set boundaries and provide leadership.
  • Guide the learning process and help focus students on the activity or speaker.
  • Most importantly… go with the flow, adapt, and have fun! The students pick up on how you react… if you are having fun, they will too!

Last updated: February 17, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

328 Whitman Mission Road
Walla Walla, WA 99362


509 522-6360

Contact Us