Category Archives: Washington D.C.

Blog posts pertaining to Washington D.C. trips.

Popular Choices for the Smithsonian Museum for Educational Travel Groups

The Smithsonian Museum is a much-anticipated destination for student tour groups. The problem is, there are so many museums and so many choices for the student travel group, and many groups are only on tour for 3-4 days. Choose a qualified educational travel consultant to help select and schedule a visit to a portion of the Smithsonian Museum that best matches the learning objectives for the educational tour of Washington D.C.

This article will highlight portions of the Smithsonian Museum that are most often requested for visits by student travel groups. It will not cover all of the Smithsonian Museums. To take a closer look at each museum, please visit their website at http://www.si.edu. This article will also point out aspects of each museum that lend themselves to different areas of academic interest.

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
The National Museum of the American Indian fosters and protects the culture and societies of native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and Hawaii. Educational travel groups will learn a great deal from these exhibits that highlight, culture, artistic and spiritual beliefs, clothing, lifestyles, and livelihoods of Native peoples from across the continent. Educational travel groups will find both historical and contemporary perspective of the tribes. The NMAI is a community organization that also sponsors national PowWows and other events of interest to Native peoples and friends.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Plants, animals, insects and human life are explored to the fullest at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Student tour groups will be inspired by the diversity of species and cultures represented in this museum’s world class exhibits. Many of the exhibits feature interactive learning opportunities for student travel groups. For example, in the Bug Corner exhibit, visitors are encouraged to hold an insect or feed a tarantula. The Discovery Room also provides an opportunity for hands on learning on a variety of topics. Educational travel groups of all ages are thrilled at the opportunity to explore the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
The United States has always been on the cutting edge in the exploration of space, air travel, and new technology. Student travel groups look forward to their visit to the National Air and Space Museum to view historic artifacts, tour the 22 exhibition galleries, visit the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater, and test the flight simulators. Educational travel groups will also want to visit the Albert Einstein Planetarium for one of two daily shows.

National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery reopened to the public in July of 2006 in a newly restored historic building in Washington D.C. The National Portrait Gallery is a great way for student travel groups to embrace the artistic treasures that are contained within American history. The National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. displays portraits of “men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development and culture of the people of the United States.” The collection of over 20,000 portraits in various media is organized thematically in various exhibitions. Educational travel groups will not want to miss the “American Presidents” gallery, Colonial American portraits, and The American Revolution, singers and patriots.

The Smithsonian Museum is a wonderful treasure that highlights some of the most noteworthy aspects of American history and culture. Schedule a visit to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C that is best suited to student learning objectives and curriculum. To learn more about other student travel destinations in Washington D.C. visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

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Historic Sites in Northern Virginia for Student Travel Tours to Washington D.C.

By Howard Clemens

Often when student travel groups decide upon Washington D.C. as their destination, the tour leaders have specific sites in mind for a visit. Many of the sites that student travel groups request the most are just outside Washington D.C., in Northern Virginia. In order to include these historic sites in a student travel tour, advanced planning is required. Usually, I advise educational travel groups to plan one year ahead for trips to the Washington D.C. area. Depending upon the site visited, special advance procedures to clear student visitors may be required.

An educational travel company needs to be retained to plan and execute an effective itinerary for Washington D.C. If popular historic or governmental sites in Northern Virginia are requested, the itinerary will accommodate these sites on one special day, or combine them effectively with other destinations on the student tour.

Here is an overview of some of the popular Northern Virginia sites for educational travel groups:

Pentagon Tour

The Pentagon is located just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. in Arlington, Virginia. Many student travel groups are eager to see the headquarters for high-ranking officers of the U.S. Military and their aides. Because the Pentagon was attacked on September 11th, and it houses critical military personnel, it is a sensitive site. Despite the challenges to security, the U.S. government still provides student travel tours led by a uniformed and trained member of the U.S. Military. This tour has been provided to the public since 1976, when it was first initiated in celebration of our nation’s 200th anniversary. With proper advance notification, an educational travel group may schedule a one-hour tour of the Pentagon that includes about one and one half miles of walking through Pentagon corridors and grounds and a view of the highlights.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is another historic site that fascinates and intrigues educational tour groups. Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated as a military cemetery on June 15th 1854. Veterans from all of the wars, both foreign and domestic, are buried here and the gravesites number around 300,000. The National Park Service administers Arlington House and its immediate grounds. The U.S. Army oversees Arlington National Cemetery and Soldier’s Home National Cemetery. Educational travel groups touring Arlington National Cemetery may have the opportunity to attend a Wreath Laying Ceremony or take a Tram tour, with advance planning.

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

Mount Vernon, the historic estate of George Washington lies just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. a mere 16 miles distance from the nation’s capital. Mount Vernon is exquisitely preserved. Educational travel groups will be greeted at a brand new building, the Ford Orientation Center, and will tour The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center which houses 25 new theaters and galleries that narrate the entire story of George Washington’s life. The Reynolds museum displays 500 original artifacts, and offers 11 videos and Immersion Theater as a way of learning about our founding father.

Student travel groups can experience living history by observing a working 18th Century farm and gristmill, as well as other educational programs. Student travel groups may tour the mansion, gardens, working farm, and more.

Educational travel to Washington D.C. is greatly enhanced by trips to Northern Virginia historical points of interest. Places like the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and Mount Vernon should not be ignored on a student travel tour of the Washington D.C. area. For more information on specific points of interest in the Washington D.C. area for student travel groups, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

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Itinerary for an Educational Field Trip to Washington DC

Our nation’s capital city, Washington D.C. is one of the greatest classrooms in the world. Students can take a senior class trip, high school trip, band trip, or musical tour to Washington D.C. for three to four days or more. Student travel tours will have time to visit some of the major destinations in Washington D.C. over this time period, and take in the cultural and dining opportunities available, too.

There are so many sites to see in the Washington D.C. area. A brief itinerary of some of the more popular student tour destinations in Washington D.C., along with the national capital’s educational components, are discussed here.

In the heart of Washington D.C.: The Washington Monument The construction of the Washington Monument started in 1848, was interrupted by the Civil War, and it was completed and dedicated in 1885. Student tour groups can learn about the history of the placement of the monument, the materials that went into its construction (including cornerstone and capstone) and the fundraising and architectural efforts that created one of the nation’s most treasured monuments. Interwoven with a student tour that includes a visit to the monument is George Washington’s legacy along with details on his lasting impact on American history, politics, and the formation of democracy. Make arrangements to visit the Washington Monument on student field trips to Washington D.C.

Educational field trips to the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. The US Capitol building is always a popular choice on school field trips to Washington D.C. Students tour groups will learn about the historical and cultural significance of the U.S. Capitol Building. Educational tours to the U.S. Capitol Building will also have an opportunity to tour the building that acts as the focal point of the U.S. democratic system. A field trip to the U.S. Capitol provides students keen insight into the true execution of balance of power between executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. Educational student tours observe Senate and the U.S House of Representatives’ chambers in the U.S. Capitol. A visit to the President’s Room is also a great stop on a school field trip because it is a place where historical bills have been signed. During a student tour of the U.S. Capitol Building visitors will also learn about the prized historical moments that have defined American democracy.

White House VIP Tour: Save Time on Field Trips to Washington D.C. Even with security concerns, it is still possible to visit the White House and receive a tour. Student groups with special reservations skip waiting in line to take the White House VIP tour. This tour is one the highlights of an educational field trip to Washington D.C. The White House VIP tour is usually given by a special agent or another qualified educational tour guide. Students will visit the Diplomatic Reception Room, Map Room, State Dining Room, Library, the Northeast Gate of the White House and more. Student tours of the White House are also available from 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Educational field trips are a great way to expand a student’s understanding about the function of democracy. The history of our representative government is contained in a school field trip to Washington D.C. and needs to be explained by a qualified, student friendly tour guide for maximum benefits for any student group. These field trip ideas are an excellent way to begin planning a field trip to Washington D.C. Visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com for other ideas on student tours of Washington D.C. and other favorite student destinations such as Orlando, Florida and New York City.

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Educational Tours of Washington D.C.: Please Book Early!

There are many reasons to plan ahead with student travel groups headed for Washington D.C. One of the main reasons is that educational tours to the White House and The Capital are now planned well in advance.

In the days before 911, student groups waited in special lines upon arrival at the Capital building in Washington D.C. Since 911 and the War with Iraq, an educational tour to the Capital must be scheduled in advance through a local Congressman or Congresswoman. If the field trip to Washington D.C. is scheduled well in advance, chances are good that planning for the educational tour will go smoothly. If the request to visit the Capital is made at the last minute, the likelihood of scheduling the visit is remote.

Because so many student travel groups feel that a visit to the Capital is mandatory for a well- rounded experience of Washington D.C. I always emphasize that groups should plan early.

VIP Tours of the White House
Visits to the White House must also be scheduled in advance. Upon arrival to the White House, it is still mandatory that educational tour groups stand in the public line to wait for their tour.

A member of Educational Tour Consultants professional staff will schedule a special VIP tour with enough advance notice from the student tour group. The White House VIP tour saves time. Students do not have to wait in line at 7:00 a.m. the day of the tour in hopes of procuring an admission ticket for later in the day. Also this educational tour is usually led by a Secret Service Agent or another trained tour guide.

Ideally, student groups traveling to the Washington D.C. area in 2008 should be booking field trips now. With several months notice tours of the Capital and the White House can be scheduled. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information.

Why would anybody want to travel to Washington, DC

Why would any school group (performing or social studies) want to go to Washington, DC this school year? Fuel prices are at record highs, meaning for the 2nd year in a row there is going to be a steep increase in trip prices. The fallout of high fuel prices (since transportation costs, affect other areas of the travel industry), like the cost to transport meats and vegetables to restaurants and paper products and work uniforms to hotels. Then there is the safety issue. Israel is at war with terrorist groups in Lebanon. Other terrorist groups are threatening the United States. We had the 9/11 disaster in 2001 and the war with Iraq in 2003. We had many schools cancel their trips or show absolutely no interest in traveling to Washington, DC or for any US city for that matter. Hey, I am just playing devil’s advocate. Actually, in spite of these real things happening, the early phone calls and e-mails from teachers show a very brisk travel season ahead. Go figure. A few years ago, any change in world affairs, would scare schools off. Not any more. Maybe we are getting “thicker skins” and are adjusting to this new way of life, that the United States and its people are no longer insulated from the rest of the happenings of the world.

The Washington, DC Cycle is Recycling

About every 5 years the cycle of demand/supply in Washington, DC goes full circle. Even the affects of 9/11 haven’t changed that cycle. Right now (as things appear) hotel availability will be in short supply (and high demand) and prices will be up. We know this from being in direct contact with the hotels on a daily basis. School groups (especially larger ones like bands and choirs) need to be especially aware of this. Do not wait very long to make your Washington, DC travel arrangements, especially if you are traveling from Mid March thru mid June 2007. Prices will either be outrageous (for the few hotels that will have availability and will gouge) or you may be staying 50 miles or more from the center city. We have been in business 23 years and this is the 4th or 5th time the cycle has gone this way. What will most likely happen a couple of years from now is hotel general managers will be calling us with special deals because thy will have alot of empty rooms. However, that’s not this year. Book your trip early.

Student groups going to Washington DC want a tour of the Capitol

All the school groups we have that go to Washington, DC, whether it is a history or government class, or even it’s a choir or band, all want to visit the US Capitol and tour it. If you can think back five years ago (pre 9/11), you could get in one line if you had a school group and another for individuals and families and go right in without a reservation. Also no elaborate security screening. Those days are gone. That is why we stress that school groups need to book their trip early with us. Once we know your dates and approximate travelers, we can contact your local US Congressman (or woman) or Senator and get an appointment for you. This is now the only way you can get into the Rotunda of the Capitol. Some groups would like to get gallery passes too for the US House of Representatives or for the Senate, and we can also get those, but again book early, as the reservations are strictly controlled and it’s first come, first reserved. I feel badly for some school groups who book later in the fall and want to travel at a particularly busy Spring week. All we can do at that point is make the US Capitol a picture taking spot. All reservations would have been given out. Besides 9/11 the current architects that have been involved with renovations of the building, have put a maximum on the number of visitors allowed through the building each day (which is about 60% of what it used to be). So again, I say book your trip early so you won’t be disappointed about not getting into the US Capitol as well as other popular Washington, DC attractions.