Tag Archives: class trip

State College Tours: Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia is home to some of the oldest and most distinguished colleges and universities in the United States.  For residents of Virginia, this can mean a first class education for the price of in-state tuition.  Out-of-state residents will attend these schools because of their reputation for academic excellence and historical significance.

This list is not inclusive of all state colleges in Virginia. I have highlighted the most widely known universities for this particular tour that is designed for high school juniors and seniors who are preparing for college.

College of William and Mary (Williamsburg)

Founded during the Colonial era in 1693, by King William and Queen Mary of England, this state college became publicly funded in 1908. The College is located in the heart of downtown Williamsburg and retains the character of centuries gone by with historic buildings and English gardens.   With nearly 6,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students, the campus community is sizable.   The student faculty ratio is 12:1.  Academic emphasis at the College of William and Mary is on the liberal arts.  Student tours visiting campus may also want to explore Jamestown Island, Yorktown Battlefields and Colonial Williamsburg.

University of Virginia (Charlottesville & Wise)

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia is steeped in political and social history and inseparable from Jefferson’s vision of training the best minds as leaders.  With approximately 14,000 undergraduate students, 5,000 graduate students and 1,700 law and medical students, the university offers 51 bachelors degrees, 84 master’s degrees, two professional degrees in law and medicine, as well as 57 doctoral degrees in 55 fields.  Located in Charlottesville and Wise, Virginia, the heart of the main campus was designed by Thomas Jefferson and is visible from his estate, Monticello.  The original curriculum of University of Virginia was liberal arts and medicine, and the student body retains this character today.

Virginia Commonwealth University, VCU (Richmond)

This university serves 32,000 students with two campuses in Richmond:  Monroe Park and Medical College of Virginia (MCV).  VCU traces the founding date to 1838, when the medical college of Virginia was created.  The Monroe Park Campus opened in 1917.  In 1968, VCU was established as a public university.  Renowned as a research university, VCU offers the following degree programs:  60 Baccalaureate, 67 Master’s, and 40 Doctorate.  The university has a history of liberal arts teaching and also emphasizes medical research and health care.  Student life is focused in the historic downtown Fan district and at the many residence halls on campus.

Radford University (Radford)

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the New River Valley, Radford University is an aesthetically pleasing rural campus with an interesting history.  It originally began as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in 1910 and the curriculum was designed to train teachers.  Later, it temporarily merged with Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VA Tech). When the turbulent 60s came and went, it impacted life on campus dramatically. Radford began a shift from a finishing school for girls to a public university open to men in 1972. Late in the 70s Radford attained university status.  Radford serves 9,000 students and provides 153 undergraduate and graduate programs. Though Radford began as an institution that trains teachers, it has expanded to a university that encompasses diverse academic studies. Colleges and departments include:  Business and Economics, Education and Human Development, Health and Human Services, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, Science and Technology and the Visual and Performing Arts.

Virginia Tech (Blacksburg)

Virginia Polytechnic University, also known as Virginia Tech, is home to the Virginia Hokies football team and has established a name for excellence in engineering and technical fields.  The school serves over 30,000 students and has a 16:1 faculty student ratio.  Virginia Tech was founded in 1872 and boasts one of the largest number of degree offerings in Virginia.  This public land grant university also houses a 1,700-acre agriculture research farm located close to the main campus.  Like Radford, it is also located in the New River Valley, in a particularly scenic, rural area of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  In addition to engineering, VA Tech is known for Architecture and Urban Studies, Science, Business, and Agriculture and Life Sciences programs.

College tours of state universities in Virginia are worthwhile for in-state and out-of-state students who are juniors and seniors in high school.  There are so many excellent state colleges to choose from in Virginia, all with rich and varied histories and curricula. Request a quote for college tours.

Grad Nite in Walt Disney World Orlando: A Great Senior Trip Idea

One of the best high school senior trip ideas in the United States is for a class to attend Grad Nite in Walt Disney World Orlando. There’s also a Grad Nite for high school seniors at the Disneyland California location, for students that find travel easier to a West Coast location.


On Grad Nite, Magic Kingdom is closed to everyone except high school seniors on the cusp of their graduation — and the park is theirs all night.  In 2011, Grad Night is slated for April 29th  and 30th  and May 6th  and 7th at Walt Disney World Orlando.  In order to reserve a place at Grad Nite, teachers and trip leaders scheduling this type of senior trip will want to plan at least six months in advance, and start making commitments by the end of 2010.


There are lots of reasons to recommend Grad Nite to parents. Many senior parties near home may include the opportunity to consume alcohol. This is a concern for many parents who do no allow their children to drink and certainly do not want them driving if they do consume alcohol. The event occurs in one place and transportation is provided to and from the park.  Grad Nite is alcohol free and monitored by adults and employees of the park.


High School Seniors enjoy dancing, going on rides, video games, and dining in a closely monitored, public environment.  They get to spend the evening with their high school friends and engage in activities any teenager might enjoy.  Students travel to the event with chaperones, and with some educational travel companies, security is provided while the group is resting at the hotel.  When security is provided at the hotel, it gives additional piece of mind to parents and teachers.


The Grad Nite event is designed to appeal directly to high school seniors, with the entertainment selected with their tastes in mind.

In 2011, Grad Nite in Orlando is scheduled to include the following:

–    DJ Pauly D, who plays dance mixes with electronic sounds that appeal to this age group, will     occupy the Cinderella Stage.
–    Live music is also scheduled for the evening, with two bands slated to perform:  Taio Cruz and 3OH!3.
–    Seniors get to hang out with their friends and dance in an alcohol free environment and meet graduating seniors from across the U.S.
–    Access to interactive video games gives students a pleasurable break from dancing or rides and another way to celebrate with friends.
–    Students can take as many rides as they like Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other popular Magic Kingdom rides.
–    Near the end of the evening, a fireworks show is provided to honor graduating seniors.  This show makes the group of traveling high school seniors feel like the center of attention.

For seniors who want special mementos to remind them of their Grad Night experience, Walt Disney World sells keepsakes commemorating the evening.  They can also take photos or have them taken by a Disney World photographer.

Student travel discounts are available for groups of ten or more students and are best obtained by working directly with an educational travel company that specializes in booking group tours.  Grad Nite fills up fast, so book early to ensure a group reservation.

For information about booking a high school senior trip to Grad Nite in Disney World Request a Quote or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Middle School Students Take an Educational Tour of Georgia

Recently, I worked with Cathy Carlton, a Social Studies teacher for Bennett’s Mill Middle School in Fayetteville, Georgia, to create an itinerary for a class trip that encompassed historical highlights of the state of Georgia.  Her class on Georgia history spans an entire school year.  The class begins with the prehistoric Indians and continues with Colonial studies, a close look at the American Revolution, the antebellum period and Civil War. Studies also include a consideration of the impact of modern wars, a look at regions of Georgia and economics that thrive in them, and the way entrepreneurs have impacted life in the state.

An Educational Tour of Georgia in Sync with Curriculum Objectives
In previous years, Carlton took the student travel group to Savannah for three days and two nights. This year, she found it more economical to limit the trip to two days and one night, so more students could afford to attend. But saving money was not the only motivation to create this unique tour.  “I felt like this trip was much more meaningful because we were able to visit many more sites around the state,” noted Carlton.

Students Travel to Different Sites Across the State of Georgia
Some highlights of the tour included a visit to Milledgeville, Georgia, the first capital of the state, a tour of Andersonville Prison, where prisoners of war were housed during the Civil War, and a tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta, where students were able to see how television news is produced.  In Atlanta, students also visited the Governor’s Mansion as well as The Bremen Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum and Oakland Cemetery, where famous Georgians were interred.

The first stop on the tour was Andersonville Prison, a two-hour bus ride from the group’s hometown.  Carlton wanted students to see this National Historic Site, because it tied in with their classroom studies of the Civil War and modern wars.  Students toured the site and gained a better understanding of the place where Northern soldiers were detained and housed during the Civil War. They were also engaged in learning about the dynamics of prisoners of war, and how it affects our society as a whole.

A Student Tour of Milledgeville:  Georgia’s First Capital City
The visit to Millledgeville seemed especially important to Carlton, as it tied in nicely with her curriculum and gave students a chance to actually see the grandeur of the historic capital.  Carlton said, “Students were really impressed by the fact that the capital began there. It was eventually moved to Atlanta so it could be more centrally located.  We were able to visit the Old Capitol Building, but we missed our tour of the Governor’s Mansion there, because we were running a little late, having spent more time at Andersonville then we anticipated.”

Educational Trip to Atlanta Includes Multiple Destinations
When the student tour group reached Atlanta, they took a break to eat supper at the Hard Rock Café, then toured Oakland Cemetery, where Bobby Jones, Maynard Jackson and Margaret Mitchell are buried.  “The guided tours of Oakland Cemetery included the graves of these famous Georgians — which were part of our studies — and many other historical people as well,” observed Carlton.

The educational tour group spent the evening at the Hampton Inn near the Perimeter Mall where breakfast was included the following morning.  Their tour of Atlanta began with a look at the Governor’s Mansion, where they actually saw Governor Perdue leaving the building that day.  This was followed by lunch at the Varsity, a famous Atlanta landmark.

The afternoon was filled with a visit to the Bremen Holocaust Museum.  Carlton was impressed with the tours given here, which were led by “survivors or family members of survivors.  It was fascinating for students to hear what the holocaust was actually like.  The group also viewed artifacts and videos of the holocaust.”

The trip on Georgia history concluded with a tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta, founded by the famous entrepreneur Ted Turner, who also started the first television station in Georgia, TBS.  The group of over 81 students was broken up into smaller groups for the studio tour, where they saw live news and also had a chance to glimpse the behind the scenes work involved in airing national news 24-hours per day.  Carlton recalled, “Students were thrilled by seeing the live newscasters, because they recognized some of the people they’ve seen on television.”

Educational Trip of Georgia was a Success!
Overall, creating a historical tour of Georgia was a positive experience for me and my staff. Usually, student tours are limited to the Atlanta metro area, because there are many educational sites to see in this city. After collaborating with Carlton on the creation of this custom tour, I can now see the benefits of widening the scope of destinations in Georgia.  It provides students a larger view of Georgia’s history because it includes landmarks that may be lesser known, but are equally important in understanding state history.

Student travel groups interested in touring Atlanta may want to consider including some of these prominent sites in their tour with visits to Milledgeville and Andersonville Prison included on their itinerary.  Overall, students did not spend more than 3 ½ hours on the bus the first day, and they had plenty of stops to keep the travel time interesting.

Request a quote for a student tour of Georgia or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for a quote.

The Ultimate Chicago Student Trip! Plan a Student Tour of Obama’s Chicago

by Howard Clemens

A majority of teachers in the United States chose the teaching profession because they believed they would have the opportunity to educate, inspire and nurture young minds. In the classroom children of all ages learn about themselves and the world around them. Outside of the classroom extracurricular activities like sports, academic clubs, band and school field trips provide experiences to help kids imagine all of the possibilities ahead of them.

Create a Chicago Student Trip Itinerary to Inspire Students of Any Age

President Barack Obama’s life has been an amazing journey with struggles and triumphs. He is proof that with hard work, dedication and passion people can live their dreams. President Obama’s story shows children from all walks of life they can be anything they want when they grow up. Here are some ideas for a Chicago student trip itinerary that include some destinations on the “Obama Tour.”

Take a Student Trip to Chicago and Explore the Personal Life of the Obama Family

In order to understand where it all began student tours can follow the suggestion of the Chicago Tribune and visit the Chase Tower, the former home of Sidley & Austin, the law firm where Barack and Michelle Obama first met in 1989. Then stop by to see 1400 East 53rd Street, the location of a brick building that used to be a Baskin Robbins ice ream parlor. It was here that the president and First Lady had their first kiss. Student trips can also include a stop at the basketball courts on Hayes and South Lake Shore Drive where President Obama and his brother in law regularly shot hoops. Next visit the South Shore Cultural Center where the Obamas held their wedding reception in 1992.

At 5450 SE View Park student tours will catch a glimpse of the condominium where Barack and Michelle lived for twelve years before purchasing their Kenwood neighborhood home in 2005. According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times written by Mark J. Konkol, Michelle Obama stated “I love living in Hyde Park, so close to so many of our friends and family. The community is diverse and very family-oriented, and, as the mom of two daughters, I really appreciate that.” The Obama Family Home is not currently open to the public.

Student Tour Destinations that Explore Barack Obama’s History as a Professor, Politician and President

A Chicago student trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the sites associated with President Obama’s academic, political and presidential past. First on the list is the Holy Rosary Catholic Church rectory located at 351 E 113th Street. Obama worked here as a community organizer during the 1980’s. Next students can enjoy a tour of the University of Chicago Law School. President Obama taught here from 1993 until 2003.

In order to spark student conversation about President Obama’s political views stop by Federal Plaza, where then Senator Obama gave a speech against the Iraq war at a rally in 2002.

Student groups may then take a student tour of the campaign trail, which includes:

–233 N Michigan Avenue: the pre-election campaign headquarters.
–151 E Wacker Drive: the Hyatt Regency Chicago where Obama watched the election results.
–East Congress Parkway: Grant Park’s Hutchinson Field where approximately 250,000 came on election night to hear president Obama’s victory speech.

Enjoy Some of Obama Family Favorites on your Student Trip to Chicago

In order to complete a Chicago field trip itinerary include some practical, affordable destinations students can experience first hand. The Chicago Tribune suggests these Obama family favorites.

Shopping Favorites

1508 E 55th Street–What the Traveler Saw Gift Shop
Shop in the gift shop located next to Obama’s former barber that the President would visit.

135 N Jefferson Street: Maria Pinto Boutique
Get a feel for the style of the designer who dressed First Lady Michelle Obama for the Democratic National Convention.

1301 E 57th Street–57th Street Books
Visit this co-op bookstore where the President and First lady are members. President Obama held parties here for the release of his books and Michelle Obama is quoted in the Chicago Sun Times by writer Mark J. Konkol as saying, “The variety of titles, the programs for kids and the neighborhood feel make it a wonderful place to take a walk to and browse around.”

Dining Favorites

445 N Clark Street?Topolobampo
Choose a blue-and-white fabric-covered booth on the south side of the restaurant like the Obamas and make sure to try the guacamole and sopa Azteca.

1518 E 53rd Street–Valois
Located in Hyde Park for over eighty years Valois offers simple, cafeteria style dining.

5412 W Madison Street–MacArthur’s Restaurant
A well-known, soul food restaurant beloved throughout Chicago MacArthur’s is the place to be. Make sure and try an Obama favorite: turkey legs and dressing.

980 N Michigan Avenue–Spiaggia
The president and First Lady ate here the Saturday after the election. According to the Chicago Tribune, rumors say President Obama “loved the wood-roasted scallops.”

Outdoor destinations
2500 North Halsted Street?Mural of Barack Obama
Student travelers: do not miss this eye-catching mural of Barack Obama.

55th Street in the Hyde Park Neighborhood–Promontory Point
Known to Chicago locals as simply The Point, Promontory Point is part of Burnham Park and opened to the public in 1937. The man-made peninsula extends out into lake Michigan and is a popular spot for sunbathers, kayakers, windsurfers and swimmers in the summer.

With all of these destinations to choose from that are linked to President Barack Obama’s past and present, there’s a great deal to see on an Obama tour. Select some top destinations on the Obama tour and add them to a student tour of Chicago. Portions of the Obama tour will also fit nicely into an art or performance tour of the windy city. Whatever a student group’s focus while on tour of Chicago, some short stops on this tour can provide insight into the new President’s formative years as a professor and a politician and his character as a whole.

For more information on the Obama Tour of Chicago, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or simply fill out the brief Request a Quote form.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour of NYC: Student Travel Groups Learn About American History

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. One of the important lessons students learn is that the United States of America is a nation of immigrants.

A great way to teach immigration is to take students on an educational field trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as part of a student trip to New York City.

There are a variety of ways for students to tour the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Guided tours with a park ranger are available as are audio tours. Both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island offer a variety of special programs for a wide range of grades and students. Teachers can also request a free curriculum guide or a traveling trunk or “Park in a Pack” curriculum kit packed full of learning activities and teaching aids. For more information about the Park in a Pack and other curriculum materials go to www.nps.gov/stli/forteachers/ or www.nps.gov/elis/forteachers/.

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island offers as many opportunities for teaching American history as it does views of New York City.

A gift from the French in 1886, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most symbolic monuments in America. It has been under the administration of the National Park Service since 1933(Ellis Island is part of the same park).

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi designed and created the statue and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel built the interior framework of iron and steel. The statue, situated within the star-shaped walls of Fort Wood, stands on top of a granite pedestal.

The symbols incorporated into the statue make great discussion points as student tour groups learn about the history of the monument and America as well as the various meanings the Statue of Liberty has to people around the world.

Student Travel Groups Tour the Statue of Liberty
During a visit to Liberty Island and the Stature of Liberty, student groups on educational field trips with monument passes are able to tour the museum, areas of Fort Wood, the promenade, and take in the view from the pedestal observation deck.

Although the crown and the statue’s structure have been closed to the public since 2001, a glass ceiling allows student groups to view the magnificent engineering within the statue.

Highlights of a Student Tour of the Statue of Liberty
The museum, located within the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, includes several exhibits incorporating artifacts, photographs, prints, videos, drawings, oral histories, full-scale replicas, and even cartoons to educate student tour groups about history of the statue and its symbolism. Student groups come face-to-face with the original torch, replaced in 1984, from the lobby floor or the second floor balcony.

Ellis Island
Ellis Island was the first federal immigration station. Some 12 million immigrants passed through it between 1892 and 1954. Now it is a physical reminder of these events. It is also a monument to all who came to America in search of a new life. Educational travel groups can tie their visit to a curriculum about immigration, the Industrial Revolution, and the War of 1812 when Ellis Island was home to Fort Gibson.

Touring Ellis Island with a Student Group

The Main Building, dating from 1900, has been restored and is open to the public as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is an excellent stop on any educational field trip to New York City.

The museum occupies more than 40,000 square feet on three floors in the Main Building. The French Renaissance structure designed by Boring and Tilton is as much an exhibit as the ones inside. The building was restored to its 1918-1924 appearance in the 1980s.

Highlights of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor is a remembrance of all immigrants regardless of where they came from, when they arrived, or through which port they entered. Over 700,000 names are already inscribed on the Wall. Students can look for their family name on the Wall.

Students can follow in the footsteps of the brave immigrants by touring the many rooms in the building. A variety of exhibits chronicle the history of Ellis Island, 400 years of immigration, and personalize the immigrant story with clothing, personal objects, photographs, papers, interactive displays, videos, and oral histories. All of this make Ellis Island a valuable and memorable learning experience for any student travel trip. Visit the New York City page for more details on student travel tours of the big apple.

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