Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C., offers a number of free educational and fun field trips for schoolchildren of all ages. The university is named after South Carolina’s Revolutionary War hero, Gen. Francis Marion, who was nicknamed “The Swamp Fox” for using the terrain to outfox the British. The campus is situated on 300 wooded acres of beautiful foliage and landscaping.
FMU’s Dooley Planetarium offers shows for school groups, usually on weekday mornings during the school year. The shows provide an orientation to the night sky, our place in the universe, and an overview of the career of an astronaut. The material presented is appropriate to the grade level of the class and is based on the South Carolina Science Curriculum Standards. To schedule a visit, contact Debra Barker at 843-661-1381 or visit the planetarium’s website at http://astro.fmarion.edu/planet/.
FMU also offers tours of the 1836 hewn timber houses on its campus to school classes. The hewn timber house tours are particularly well suited for history, social studies, economics, African history, environmental science and related classes. Tours of the James A. Rogers Library, the sixth-biggest academic library in South Carolina, are also available. For more information about either of these tours, call Janet McLeod at 843-661-1300.
Members of the university’s biology faculty offer tours of the scenic nature trails on campus to small school classes. Students can see and learn about the birds, reptiles and plants of the area. To schedule a nature tour, call Angela Cantey at 843-661-1382.
Francis Marion is home to many cultural events, such as plays, concerts, films and art exhibits. In April, the university hosts the Art’s Alive Festival, which includes a variety of cultural performances. For a free copy of FMU’s cultural and special events calendar, call 843-661-1220.
FMU’s University Theatre will present “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” on April 6-7 and 11-14 at 8 p.m. A special children’s matinee will be at 10 a.m. on April 7. Call 843-661-1365 for seating availability.
Any of these field trips can be combined with campus tours, and beautiful picnic areas are available for groups as well. Campus tours are provided Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and at 10 a.m. on Saturday by appointment. To schedule a campus tour, call the admissions office at 843-661-1231 or 1-800-368-7551. Check out the FMU website at www.fmarion.edu.
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