Awesome outings complete with smiling kids and happy chaperones? Yeahhhhh… not so much. Check out these 10 stories of field trips gone seriously sour.

 Send Out the Search Parties

Rainbow City Learning“My worst field trip experience, by far, was my very first field trip during my very first year of teaching! Our 5th grade team loaded up the buses in Pittsburgh and set off for SeaWorld in Ohio. No parent volunteers — did not even think of inviting any. About 30 minutes after leaving the live dolphin show, I noticed that one of my quietest and best-behaved students was missing. I can still feel the pain in my chest and the lump in my throat as I recall it. The rest of the class and I searched the park and reported it to the park office, who also launched a search. Where did we finally find him? Back at the dolphin show. He loved it so much that he decided to stay and watch it again. He didn’t know he was lost! That experience made me realize how important volunteers are on a field trip. I never planned a trip again without a team of parent volunteers who were each in charge of a small group.” – Rainbow City Learning

Gail Hennessy“I still remember my worst field trip. I was hoping to get a permanent position at the local elementary school and was subbing in a 2nd grade class. The kids were excited about the morning trip to a maple syrup farm. One young girl wasn’t feeling well and asked to go to the nurse’s office. A little while later, we left for the farm. Arriving, I noticed the little girl wasn’t with us. I had left her behind at the nurse’s office! My stomach was in knots; I was a wreck. The little girl was very upset she had missed the trip and I was upset that she had, too. I was also worried  the principal would never hire me for a permanent position. Fortunately, he did.” – Gail Hennessey

Bus-Driving Debacles

Sweet Sensations“It was a kindergarten trip to see The Nutcracker. We had a crazy bus driver. The woman flew around corners, barely stopped at crossings, and screeched to a stop. We missed our turn for the theater because she was going too fast, so she did a U-turn but couldn’t make it (because we were in a bus, not a Mini Cooper). So she had to pull into a retail business, and I guess she thought she could turn in their parking lot. It was a funeral parlor. We went through the entrance, drove around the back of the business (still at speed), and toward the exit. There was a low archway. My coworker and I stared at one another and thought surely we were going to stop, but the driver plowed through the exit, taking off the top of the bus. The driver said, ‘Oh no.’ Everyone was OK — some tears, no scratches. Fire truck and police arrived. The funeral director let 52 kids wait in the funeral parlor. We contacted the county, but they let the driver drive us back in THE SAME BUS! You can’t make this stuff up.” – Sweet Sensations

ABCwithMissD“Our bus broke down on the side of the highway with 30 1st graders, most just ‘suddenly’ having to go to the bathroom. Waiting for a tow truck or new bus was just a blast. (Ha ha.) I made it into a ‘silly singing from our seats’ party (what can ya do?) and the BEST part was the bus driver. I swear he went from this quiet, shy old man to a regular Dick Van Dyke — singing and skipping down the aisles like it was a musical. God bless him, and what a day!”- ABCwithMissD

The Autism Vault“Several times this year, we were set to go on a field trip (many of which we paid hundreds of dollars to go on) and we would be in the cafeteria waiting for the bus to arrive. The bus would never come, despite our calling the day before to confirm that we had a bus scheduled. There’s nothing like making a group of kids with autism sit around waiting in the cafeteria and then telling them the trip is cancelled.” – The Autism Vault

Victoria Moore“We were driving toward San Diego for the Zoo Safari Park with two buses full of 1st graders, and a car started swerving between both buses, slowing down and looking in the bus, and swerving again. All the parent volunteers following us in their cars were freaking out and they called the cops. The cops arrived, both buses were pulled over, and the strange car was pulled over. It ended up being a gentleman who thought his child was on our bus for a field trip — he wasn’t, by the way. He was trying to deliver his child’s lunch for a field trip, and his child wasn’t even from our school. #awkward” – victoria moore

“It’s Stuck!”

Lindsey Paulson“Before teaching, I was a counselor for elementary day camp in the summer. We had a bowling field trip with a good staff-camper ratio and first aid kits. Later in the day, a 1st grader put his hand in the ball-return machine and it got stuck because a ball was coming out. The child was screaming, and the machine was smoking and creating a smell of burned rubber. The staff quickly turned off the machine and called the ambulance. The parents were notified and came as the first responders arrived. The child ended up being okay, and the parents casually said, ‘Oh, we would expect this to happen to him.’ Ummm, no.” – Lindsey Paulson

Robotic Hands and Bathroom Disasters

Angelica's Resources“My kindergarten class was going on a field trip to the zoo. I didn’t have any parent volunteers, so I asked my husband. He took the day off to help me out. While at the zoo, he took his group of students to the gift shop and bought them whatever they wanted. Two rambunctious twin boys selected robotic hands from the gift shop — when you squeezed the handle, the fingers moved. When it was time to leave, the twins refused to get on the bus. They wanted to ride back with my husband in his car. They weren’t allowed, of course, so he walked them onto the bus and then he quickly exited it. They were so upset that he tricked them. As we left, my husband drove alongside the bus and waved goodbye to the students. The twins saw him through the window and used their robotic hands to ‘give him the finger.’ Quickly my cell phone rang and my husband told me what happened. I immediately confiscated their souvenirs until we got back to school. LOL. Eighteen years later, my husband still reminds me of this trip.” – Angelica’s Resources

Penny's Primary Printables“We were on a kindergarten field trip to a pioneer village when the class stopped to use the bathroom. Some boys started coming out screaming that someone had pooped on the floor. My assistant and I went in and saw all the boys standing around where someone had done it in the middle of the floor, nowhere near a stall! My assistant and I debated who was going to undergo the embarrassment of going next door to the office to ask someone to send a cleaner in. We finally ‘rock, paper, scissored’ it, and off she went to the office and told the man. Know what he said? “Ya I know. I could hear everything through the wall.’ No one else could use the bathroom that day as the cleaner had to be called in from somewhere else, so they had to shut it down until he arrived.” – Penny’s  Primary Printables

Too Cold for Comfort

Teachers' Keeper“Several years ago I was teaching 4th grade, and we were blessed with a free field trip to the zoo due to a grant. Unfortunately, the date had to be in December. I knew it would be cold but hoped it would at least not rain. Well, the forecast was for temperatures near 40 degrees, wind, and rain. I told my students to bundle up and bring an umbrella or rain jacket. I bought a Costco box of hand warmers. The day of the field trip, we were all bundled up and the rain held off. The ride was about 45 minutes. Within that time, the temperature dropped to 34 degrees and the rain started. I handed out hand warmers and saved four for myself; two in my gloves and two in my boots. It was miserable. Even the animals, except for the those in the Arctic section, thought it was too cold to come out. Thank goodness the zoo had a few indoor exhibits and food court. I think we spent most of our time in there.” – Teachers’ Keeper