Student Travel Groups Take the Freedom Trail in Boston

Boston’s Freedom Trail takes its travelers back in time – with visual reminders of the events that led to American independence. Boston’s Freedom Trail is a must for any American student. Some of the greatest events in American history happened in Boston. From the famous tea party to Paul Revere’s infamous midnight ride, it happened in Boston.

Benefits of Educational Field Trips
Seeing historic sights in person can bring history to life for students, help put the information into context for them, and spark their interest for further study. Imagine walking in Boston Common, seeing America’s first public park, and the place where settlers shared the land for cattle grazing. Imagine the military training that once happened in that very spot. Students will imagine the same things, and gain perspective on what it must have been like to be a settler in early America, or a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

Highlights of the Freedom Trail
Boston Common is only one part of the Freedom trail. A student tour of the Freedom Trail also includes the Massachusetts State House on “Beacon Hill,” so named because it is the tallest hill in Boston where a beacon would be lighted as a warning signal if the city were attacked.

The trail moves on to Park Street Church, where William Lloyd Garrison launched his crusade against slavery and Samuel Smith’s famous hymn “America” was first sung publicly in 1832 at the church’s Independence Day celebration. The student tour then moves to Granary Burying Ground, where Samuel Adams and John Hancock are buried. Both of these men signed the Declaration of Independence.

Important Freedom Trail Sites for Student Groups

Another important historical site along the Freedom Trail is the King’s Chapel Burying Ground. Buried here are Mary Chilton, the first pilgrim to touch Plymouth Rock; William Dawes, who accompanied Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride; and William Paddy, whose gravestone is said to be the oldest existing grave marker in Boston. Next on the trail is the Old Corner Bookstore, formerly the publishing house of Ticknor and Fields, where The Scarlet Letter and the Battle Hymn of the Republic were printed.

Lunch at the Union Oyster House

When everyone’s feet are tired, it’s time to stop for lunch. What better choice than one of the oldest restaurants in the country – the Union Oyster House. The Union Oyster House was built in 1713, and it is rumored that Daniel Webster was a regular there. The restaurant is part of the Freedom Trail.

Continuing Your Student Tour: Paul Revere’ House and the Old North Church
After lunch, continue on the trail to Paul Revere’s house, a two-story clapboard structure overlooking North Square. Revere was a silversmith by trade, but no one remembers that about him. What everyone remembers is his famous “midnight ride,” which took place on April 18, 1775. Thanks to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, every high school student has read about Paul Revere’s ride.

From Paul Revere’s house, the student tour moves to the Old North Church. The bells in the Old North Church’s belfry were cast in 1744, weight from 620 to 1,545 pounds each, and bear the inscription: “We are the first ring of bells cast for the British Empire in North America.”

U.S. Military Monuments of Land and Sea

The Freedom Trail’s student tour ends with the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument. The USS Constitution has been nicknamed “Old Ironsides” as a result of engagements with the British in the War of 1812. The Bunker Hill Monument commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill. Although a technical defeat for the Americans, the battle provided a much-needed psychological boost for American troops.

Walking the Freedom Trail with student groups
The trail is well marked with red bricks or granite stones embedded into the sidewalk. These red stones guide the student group from place to place. In some places, a red line is simply painted onto the sidewalk or street. The trail can be explored in one day, or divided into two days of touring, depending on how much time an educational travel group has allotted for the trail. The Freedom Trail has also added a handheld digital audio tour, available from the Boston Common Visitor Information Center, for $15.

Because of Boston’s importance to the Revolutionary War, and its full military history, the Freedom Trail is perfect for high school students learning American history, and for Junior ROTC groups. ROTC groups benefit from seeing military history firsthand – an experience that can only be found through educational travel.

Visit the Boston page for more detailed information on the basic student tour.

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Student Travel Groups Re-Trace History on Philadelphia Walking Tour

No inquiry into the history of Colonial America would be complete without mentioning Philadelphia. One of the best ways for students to learn about Philadelphia and the founding of the United States is through a walking tour.

Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by William Penn. The Pennsylvania State House, known as Independence Hall, was the meeting place where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were written.

Independence Hall is just one of dozens of important buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Students can visit many of these sites on a fun, educational walking tour of the Old City and Society Hill sections of Philadelphia.

Independence Mall National Historic Park
Independence Hall National Historic Park encompasses more than 55 acres on 20 city blocks. In addition to Independence Hall, the park includes many of Philadelphia’s historic sites like the Liberty Bell Center, the National Constitution Center, Franklin Court, Carpenter’s Hall, Christ Church, and other important and interesting landmarks. The park’s website (www.nps.gov/inde) offers resources and materials for teachers including educational field trip tips and numerous lesson plans.

Start Your Walking Tour of Philadelphia

A good place to begin an educational tour of Old City Philadelphia is the Independence Visitor Center. It is on Independence Mall and offers an abundance of information about historic Philadelphia and the region.

While at the Visitor Center, student travel groups can prepare for their tour of Independence Hall. Independence Hall tours are organized by timed-tickets so your walking tour route may be dictated by the time your students are scheduled to visit it.

Visiting Independence Hall
Independence Hall was constructed as the State House of Pennsylvania beginning in 1732. Its beautiful Georgian architecture has been restored to its 18th century appearance. Students will be able to stand in the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, George Washington was appointed commander in chief, and the Constitution was written. The period furnishings, including the “rising sun” chair, help bring American history to life.

Visiting the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell resides in the Liberty Bell Center, also on Independence Mall. Inside the center, students can learn more about the history of the bell and its significance through a video presentation and various exhibits. The Liberty Bell, now an international icon of freedom, is displayed in a glass chamber with Independence Hall in the background. Students will be as inspired by the bell, its story, and its inscription as generations of freedom fighters and abolitionists were.

National Constitution Center: A Multimedia and Interactive Museum
Further down Independence Mall is the National Constitution Center. It is America’s most interactive history museum and the only one devoted to the U.S. Constitution. The Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the Constitution and its relevance today.

The National Constitution Center houses The Story of We the People, a permanent three-part exhibit. In the star-shaped Kimmel Theater, students will learn about the Constitution in a multimedia production. The American Experience offers students more than 100 interactive and multimedia exhibits and Signers’ Hall is home to statues of the 39 signers of the Constitution and the three dissenters, making these remarkable visionaries almost come to life.The center’s website, wwwconstitutioncenter.org, has resources for teachers.

The Life and Streets of Old City Philadelphia

Elfreth’s Alley, dating back to 1702, is one of the oldest residential streets in America and is only a few blocks east of Independence Mall. Although the homes are not open to the public, students can walk down the tiny street lined with 300 year-old homes and imagine what Colonial Philadelphia was like. House 126, built in 1755 by Jeremiah Elfreth, is home to the Elfreth’s Alley Museum, which is open to the public.

About a block south of Elfreth’s Alley is the Betsy Ross House. Betsy Ross is known to have lived in this house and is said to have stitched the first American flag here. Students can tour seven rooms, including a kitchen, bedrooms, parlor and an 18th century upholstery shop. The rooms are furnished with period antiques, reproductions and objects that belonged to Betsy Ross including her eyeglasses, quilted petticoat and Bible.

This is just a sampling of the numerous historic sites in Philadelphia. Students on an educational field trip to Philadelphia will be excited about the past and able to make connections between American history and now after walking the same streets as our Founding Fathers. Because there is so much to see and experience, an educational travel consultant can help you plan the best and most productive trip to Philadelphia for your students. For more information, visit the page about the Philadelphia tour.

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A Round Up of Student Travel Destinations

Performance Cruise for Student Travel

Band directors, music teachers and music students – have you ever considered taking a student performance group on a cruise? Student performance cruises are a great way to bring the group together and help them focus on a performance. Whether it’s a high school band, orchestra, or ensemble, the performance cruise will be a trip they will never forget.

The student travel group will be able to go island hopping in the Caribbean, and disembark from a choice of ports in Florida. Convenient ports of call, multiple destinations, great food, and wonderful performance venues are all good reasons to book a performance tour for a student travel group today.

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Some Hints for Planning an Educational Field Trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

There are a few things to keep in mind when planning an educational field trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York City.

The National Park service recommends that groups maintain a ratio of 1 adult to every 10 students. Chaperones must remain with their students at all times on the ferry and while touring the islands and monuments.

To enter the Statue of Liberty, each member of the group needs a monument pass. It is best to get these in advance because there is a limited number available at the ferry stations.

Also, due to security measures at the ferry landings and the monuments themselves, allow for extra time to pass through primary security screenings similar to those of airports.

And be sure to consult the National Park Service’s guidelines concerning items that are banned from the monuments. As noted in the article published on the Educational Travel Consultants website, it is probably best to encourage students to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island without backpacks or large purses.

New York City Student Travel

The best idea for students travel groups destined for New York City is to pack lightly. When visiting buildings such as the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, and the United Nations Building, students should expect to go through security.

An article recently posted to the Educational Travel Consultant’s blog contains a recent interview with Karen Goodman, a licensed New York City tour guide, who gives student groups tips on how best to prepare for post 911 security regulations in buildings. We understand that security regulations are important and respect the need for them. Learn how to be prepared and save time on tours of New York City.

New York City: Preparing Student Travel Groups for Security Checks

In the post 911 era, many things have changed, due to extra security concerns. Some of the sensitive student travel destinations in the New York City area are potential targets because they are symbols of the United States. These include The Statue of Liberty, the United Nations building, and the Empire State Building. There are other buildings that may also be potential targets in the New York City area. I focus on these three because they are the main three sites that most student travel tours want to visit.

For this article, I have interviewed Karen Goodman, a licensed New York City tour guide who works closely with my company, Educational Travel Consultants. Her knowledge of New York City is extensive. I interviewed her on the topic of how student travel groups may prepare to enter New York City sites.

Q. What advice would you give to student travel groups headed to the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations Building, or the Empire State Building?
A. Always travel as light as you can. When you move along the security line, it’s best not to be singled out, because it takes more time to pass through.

Q. What are some of the items related to tourism and education,that you are permitted to take into these buildings?
A. Visitors can bring ipods and cameras with them, but they must be placed in the basket as they pass through security.

Q. Can you explain the security process at the Statue of Liberty?

A. Yes. All student travel groups pass through security tents before they board the ferry boat. Metal detectors are under these tents. All electronics, including watches, ipods or cameras, go through the metal detector in a basket.

Q. Does this security process at the Statue of Liberty take a little more time?

Yes. Similar to planning a little more time at the airport, student travel groups need to leave some space in the itinerary for the day to allow for passing through security, especially if they are a large group.

Q. Is there anything that student travelers to New York City should try to avoid bringing?
A. Sometimes a student will inadvertently bring a pocket knife. Usually, these are confiscated by security, and they are not returned. It’s best not to bring this sort of thing at all.

Q. Are the tents near the ferry in Battery Park the only security checkpoints for the Statue of Liberty?
A. For now, yes. Once student travel groups board the ferry, the security check is completed.

Q. Does the United Nations have a similar security checkpoint in place?

A. The United Nations has metal detectors that student travel groups must pass through as well. The same rules as the Statue of Liberty apply.

Q. What is security like in the Empire State Building?

A. Since it is an historic building that signifies many things, the security is similar in scope to Statue of Liberty and the United Nations building. Around the escalator area, there are security checkpoints with metal detectors in place. Students should be prepared for similar regulations when visiting the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations building.

Q. Do you have any additional tips for student travel groups headed to the New York City area?
A. Yes, some buildings, such as museums, will have guards that request a look inside a handbag or backpack. Student groups should be prepared to open their bags, if asked. In some buildings, a backpack must be checked at the door. So, if a student is traveling and he or she has a choice about leaving a backpack, it would be a good idea to leave it on the charter bus.

Q. Do you have any concluding thoughts about leading student travel tours in the New York City area, in a post 911 era?
A. I think that most people are aware at this point, that we have extra security regulations to consider when we travel. They set up the tents just six months after September 11th near the ferries to the Statue of Liberty. And it’s been many years now travelers have had to prepare for extra security. This precaution has to be done. Even though it may be time consuming, security is important.

With that being said, be aware of the metal detectors, and prepare for them accordingly.

Student travel groups on tour in New York City need to go light and leave the extra baggage behind. Make the most of a student travel tour to New York City, by planning extra time in the itinerary for security checkpoints at major sites. The security procedures at the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations building, and the Empire State Building are subject to change at any time.

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