In 1994, Ms. Frizzle (voice of Lily Tomlin) stepped off her magical bus and into the hearts and minds of countless young people. Decades later, The Magic School Bus is still a great educational resource for children. After all, the Walkerville Elementary kids jet through space, travel through bodies, transform into insects and so much more, all with Ms. Frizzle guiding them. She encourages the kids to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”, taking hands-on learning to a whole new level. Here, we’re looking back on 10 of the best Magic School Bus episodes — “To the bus!”
10 of Our Favorite Magic School Bus Episodes
10. “Going Batty” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Ms. Frizzle is clearly magical — but could she also be a vampire? This question is at the center of this playful episode about bats. “Going Batty” opens with the class getting prepared for a student-teacher conference.
Right off the bat, we’re introduced to all of the parents, and see all the delightful similarities they share with their kids. While Ms. Frizzle takes the parents on an adventure, her suspicious class embarks on an investigation.
9. “The Magic School Bus For Lunch” (Season 1, Episode 2)
What happens when anxious Arnold accidentally swallows his gum while trying to break a record? A field trip of course! The class takes a trip through Arnold’s digestive system — for the first time (more on that later) — and learns all about how our bodies break down food.
In addition to all that digestion talk, there’s a lot of ridiculous puns and colorful illustrations, too. It’s not the only time the kids take a field trip into a classmate’s body, but it’s certainly one of the most memorable.
8. “The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space” (Season 1, Episode 1)
The Magic School Bus opens with a magical journey through space, which is prompted by Arnold’s braggadocious cousin, Janet. In this unforgettable pilot episode, Ms. Frizzle and the gang explore the solar system.
Sure, Ms. Frizzle gets lost in space, but the kids get to tour several planets while searching for her. Back in the ‘90s, Pluto was definitively a planet, but, other than that, everything else holds up, making this episode a wonderful mix of informative content and excitement.
7. “Gets Swamped” (Season 4, Episode 5)
This episode opens with jokester Carlos preparing for a debate. The topic? The local Walkerville swamp. Carlos is prepared to argue in favor of a new mall, but when he confronts his opponent, Arnold’s cousin Janet, he discovers that he has to argue in favor of the swamp.
Of course, gaining a new, informed perspective about the importance of the swamp is nothing that a little field trip can’t fix. Bonus points for Ms. Frizzle’s stylish umbrella-hat.
6. “The Busasaurus” (Season 2, Episode 3)
Who doesn’t love dinosaurs and time travel? In “The Busasaurus,” the class travels back in time to learn more about dinos — and they dispel a few myths along the way. As the episode goes on, they encounter several different species of dinosaurs, leading to both thrills and laughs.
It’s like a G-rated Jurassic Park that doesn’t go completely sideways. Plus, there’s even an extra-special version of the usual Q&A after the episode.
5. “The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm” (Season 1, Episode 13)
Ralphie’s rich imagination and Tim’s skills as an artist are both on full display in this weather-focused episode. Pragmatic Keesha and class clown Ralphie make a bet that his alter ego, Weatherman, can’t start a storm.
This bet, of course, leads to an adventure that sees the kids exploring the water cycle, getting caught in the rain (literally) and doing some problem solving. By the end of this episode, you might find yourself saying, “Shicka Shicka Kaboom” along with Weatherman!
4. “In a Beehive” (Season 3, Episode 1)
After a delivery disaster, the class goes on a field trip to replenish the lost honey — but they end up discovering a lot to buzz about. As they explore honeycombs, the kids confront their fears and even learn a few new dance moves.
Heartwarming and silly while still being educational, this adorable episode is one of our favorites. Even though, yes, the kids’ heads being on bee bodies is a little odd-looking. Ah, the ’90s…
3. “Goes Cellular” (Season 4, Episode 6)
In this episode, the class attends a ceremony where their classmate, Arnold, is supposed to receive the Great Rock Admirers’ National Institute of Tectonics Experts’ Rocky Award. The only problem? Arnold is nowhere to be found.
Carlos suggests that Arnold went to buy more of his favorite snack, Sea Wheedies, in lieu of attending. Arnold is there though — he’s just hiding because his skin has turned orange! After failing to wash the orange away, the class shrinks down to investigate what’s happening in Arnold’s skin.
2. “Inside Ralphie” (Season 1, Episode 3)
Another early episode, “Inside Ralphie” is a classic. And it proves that you can still learn a thing or two even when you’re out sick from school. Eager to attend Broadcast Day, Ralphie tries to get out of his bed, but his mom, who’s a doctor, insists the best cure is resting.
When Ms. Frizzle suggests the class broadcast the amazing battle going on inside Ralphie, the team shrinks down to learn more about germs — and how our bodies fight off invaders.
1. “Revving Up” (Season 2, Episode 8)
“Revving Up” has all the elements of a great episode. It’s entertaining, informative, and imaginative — it even has a little suspense to it. Plus, it features a guest appearance from the late Sherman Hemsley (The Jeffersons, All in the Family)! Skilled mechanic and peanut butter sandwich-lover Mr. Junkett (voice of Hemsley) comes by to assess the Magic School Bus.
When he determines the bus needs to be taken to the junkyard, the class races to prove Mr. Junket wrong by exploring the bus’ inner-workings. As this episode proves, The Magic School Bus offers more than just a deep-dive into experiments and scientific ideas. It’s also about friendship, problem-solving, and navigating both fear and uncertainty.
So, whether you’re looking for something to entertain the little ones with while school is out or you’d like to take a trip down memory lane, The Magic School Bus has something for everyone. As Ms. Frizzle always says, “Wahoo!”