Structured Classes and Tours for Schools
What to expect when you visit the Park: For any trip that you plan here at the Ranch, please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled class time and allow 90 minutes for your classes to complete a class. Encourage children to dress comfortably for the outdoors, wear closed-toed shoes and plan for plenty of walking. The loop around the Park is just over one mile. Please ask about handicap or special needs transportation if applicable. To help everyone stay hydrated, bottled water is allowed into the Park. We also have picnic tables available for lunch.
Structured classes at the Park are as unique and distinctive as the stories history tells. Set in authentic period settings, the Park’s individual structured programs deliver an incomparable historic experience through engaging activities, dynamic demonstrations and entertaining and informative costumed interpreters. These classes can be booked from Labor Day through mid-May.
DAYS: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (September-May 15)
TIMES: 9 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.
COST: $7 per student. One adult is free for every 10 students. Extra adults are $10 per person. *Grants available for qualified schools
1830s Jones Homestead Classes
Native Americans (Grades 2-5) Join us as we discover what Texas and her people were like before
European colonization. Students will explore the cultural background, geographic, and historical
aspects of Native Tribes in Texas. Rotations will include communication, the impacts of climate, natural
resources, geography, trade and farming on Native tribes, and how those cultures are preserved today.
(Programs will be conducted at the 1830s cabin or Heritage Nature Trail)
Pioneers in Texas (Grades 2-5) Learn about pioneer life in 1830s pre-Revolution Texas through an
exploration of how early pioneers accomplished the essentials – food, shelter and clothing – in this
land new to them. Students will experience an open-hearth cooking demonstration, learn about food
acquisition on the frontier, and explore log cabin life through spinning and weaving demonstrations,
along with hands-on activities such as hand ginning cotton and finger spinning.
Thriving in Texas (Grades 2-5) Step back in time and discover what life was like for the settlers who
thrived in Stephen F. Austin’s Texas colony. Students will survey their homestead site using a compass
and basic math, build a ferry crossing like Henry Jones to supplement their farming income, and learn
about recycling clothing pioneer style.
Gone To Texas (Grades 6-12) Journey back to Stephen F. Austin’s Colonial Texas where pioneers
struggle to colonize unsettled land. Participants will be placed in the role of Settlers in this hands-on,
student-led introduction to pioneer life. Students will be assigned to pioneer families who will have
to take on tasks to ensure the cooperation and survival of the family and community. They will face
multiple challenges in the path to success and prosper through strategic planning, resourcefulness, and sheer will. Who will survive and who will thrive?
1860s Polly Ryon Prairie Home Classes
Pasture to Parlor (Grades 2-5) Experience life in 1860s Post-Civil War era Texas with a visit to the
home of Polly Ryon and her husband William. Learn about the different lives of the people who
helped operate a working Ranch in this era. Students will learn how to manage day-to-day business
and social life as ranch owners, discover the life of a 1860s cowboy with interactive activities, and
explore domestic service life at a large ranch.
A Few Good Men! (Grades 2-5) Charge into history and learn what life was like during the American
Civil War era through the eyes of a soldier. Students will enlist as cavalrymen and join in practice drills
that have been used in warfare for centuries. Discover advances in field medicine and experience life in the Ambulance Corps.
A House Divided: A Civil War Journey (Grades 6-12) Plunge your students into the dramatic and
harsh reality of the Civil War era. Participants will assume specific roles as Union soldiers, Confederate
soldiers, or civilians on both sides of the conflict. Students will go through the training process of their
assigned role and experience the complexity of emotions of those about to enter battle for the first
time. Who will live, who will die, and what will be YOUR story?
1890s Complex – Davis Mansion, Sharecropper Cabin, Blacksmith Shop, Rail Car, Line Camp Classes
Little Farmers (Grades K-2) Come explore life on a farm and learn about planting and animal care! Hear a story about life on a farm and learn how everyone needs to work together to make a farm prosper. Learn how crops grow, get your hands dirty with a planting experience, then meet some of the farm animals and help feed the chickens and hogs.
Don’t Fence Me In (Grades 2-5) Experience what life was like for the Texas cowboy out on the Prairie and learn how technology changed their way of life. Students will study the great cattle drive era, how the railroad and telegraph led to the expansion of America, and how barbed wire changed the cattle industry as it entered the 20th century.
Freedmen and Farmers: Life in Post-Reconstruction Texas (Grades 2-5) Experience life as a Sharecropper in the 1890s and discover the short term and long term effects that the Reconstruction period had on the newly freed people of Texas. Students will learn about the dire financial hardships sharecroppers experienced, how to care for the land and animals included in their labor contracts, and recycle clothing in order to make a family quilt.
1930s George Ranch House Classes
Dirty 1930s: Life during the Depression and Dust Bowl (Grades 2-5) Travel back in time to the 1930s to learn about life during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Students will explore the impact each of these major economic disasters had on America and experience what daily life was like for the people who lived at the George Ranch. Students will listen to an episode of The Lone Ranger on the wireless, test soil samples for nutrients and discuss why over farming led to soil erosion, and help tend and can vegetables from Ms. Mamie’s garden.
Texas on the Homefront: George Ranch during WWII (Grades 2-5) Experience what life was like during WWII and how the George family did their bit for the war effort. Students will learn ways American families supported their soldiers overseas through home Victory gardens, rationing and recycling precious materials, civilian aircraft observation posts, and knitting for victory.
Cowboy Complex Classes
Legacy of the American Cowboy(Grades 2-5) Step into a world of cows, brands, and quarter horses during our 1930s Cowboy school program. Students will learn about brands and branding, roping basics, horse facts, and calf breeding, along with more about the Texas Longhorn and a close-up look at the Dipping Vat. The program is an expansion of the regularly featured cowboy show and includes several hands-on activities for students.
DAYS: Fridays Only (September-May 14) ; Tuesday-Friday (May 15- July)
Self-paced Park Tours (All Grades) Cost: $5 per student *Grants available for qualified schools
Looking to customize your Park visit to align with your subject content? Want the freedom to set your own agenda? Self-paced Park tours may be right for you! Our self-paced tours allow you to set your own schedule and travel at your own speed. We recommend dividing into groups of 25 or less – especially if touring the historic homes – for the best experience.
Self-paced Photography Tours (All Grades) Cost: $6 per student *Grants available for qualified schools
Year after year, the George Ranch Historical Park is a popular place for Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo artists to get inspiration for their next masterpiece. Enhance your visit with this special program designed with student artists in mind. Each group will be provided with a visual guide full of photography tips, unique location suggestions, exclusive time with the cowboys, and more.
Special Event Field Trips
October 22, 2022: Texian Market Days $7/student
February 17, 2023: George Ranch Rodeo Student Day, Featuring the Legacy of the Black Cowboy
Field Trip Reservation Form
Important to note: Field trip dates, times and/or programs are not confirmed until we send you a confirmation and we receive the signed confirmation with deposit back. All dates, times and programs are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please book early to ensure the best possible field trip experience for your group. This form is not a confirmation. For booking and program questions, please email our Education Coordinator or call 281-343-0218.