Tag Archives: class trips washington d.c.

Educational Travel Tips Worth Considering

Educational Travel Tips Worth Considering

Education travel is one good way of enhancing the learning experience of students. There is this old saying that “experience is the best teacher”, and this has already been proven by many in various circumstances. Students indeed learn from the classroom setting, in fact, it is in the classroom where learning takes place most of the time. However, educational travel provides more enhancements to classroom learning by immersing students into real-life experiences. Educational travel, to be more effective must be well-planned and organized. Here are some educational travel tips worth considering.

Tell Students What to Expect
Schools need to manage the expectations of students. Let students learn more about what to expect in educational travel. Brief students on the procedures and how to prepare and behave themselves during the trip. Plan well and prepare a good itinerary. Allow a draft of a contingency plan in case unexpected circumstances happen.

Involve Students in Planning
By allowing students to participate in the planning of the trip, the school is providing them indirect leadership training. Moreover, learning what the students think about the trip will help organizers to come up with activities that would be more of the interest of the pupils.
Involve the Parents Too

Educational travel needs to gain support from parents. Involving parents will help a direct question-and-answer exchange between organizers and the parents. Issues will be resolved first hand. Moreover, it helps to reassure parents that educational travel is well planned and that their children are secured during the whole trip. It also helps by giving the parents an idea of how the trip is going to directly benefit their children.
Provide Background about the Educational Travel

Organizers need to set objectives so that students will learn what they will be aiming to achieve on the trip. If the trip is about enhancing the learning experience of students in history, then they shall be briefed about the educational travel in a historical site. Give background to students on how they will benefit from the trip.

For example, a trip to Washington DC will immerse the students in the rich history of how slavery ended in the Southern states. A tour of the memorials and monuments can bring a deep feeling on how American soldiers bravely fought in the Vietnam War. The Women’s Memorial will teach the students the value of sacrificing for others and dedication to service.
Lincoln Memorial showcases the Korean War. From there, students will be immersed in the heroic act of the Americans by aiding the South Korean army against the invasion of North Korea. There are more attractions in Washington DC that can bring history alive, and surely experiencing an educational trip will open up the eyes of the students on the values associated with history. Washington DC has a lot more to offer when it comes to educational travel aiming students to broaden their historical knowledge. You can learn more about our Washington DC trips here.
If the aim of the educational tour is to immerse the students in living life with nature, then a science trip would be more beneficial. The National Geographic Museum in Times Square New York will immerse teachers and students in life in the wild. Learning about wildlife in the Pacific Ocean is showcased in the museum.

Atlanta Georgia also has a rich geological history to share with students through the Fernbank Museum. Students will be immersed in the prehistoric times as they will be brought in a close-up view of the dinosaurs. The Fernbank Museum is also known for the IMAX theater.
Discuss the Trip Back in the Classroom

Once the educational travel is over, students are equipped with fresh knowledge, stories to tell, and experiences to share. It helps them relive the experience by bringing back the trip to the classroom. Let discussions about the trip be encouraged. Have time to discuss what they learned about the trip and teachers may participate to share what they have learned as well.

Educational travel is a creative way of extending the learning process of students. The best way to have a successful and meaningful trip is through extensive, well-thought-out planning. Educational Travel Consultants will help you plan an exciting and memorable trip that students and teachers will remember for years to come!

A Class Trip to Harpers Ferry, Historic Armory and Civil War Battlefield Near Washington D.C.

by Howard Clemens

For those interested in studying the Civil War, a visit to Harpers Ferry will easily explain its critical geographical position. The natural boundary between north and south is the Potomac River. The Potomac River joins the Shenandoah River here, at the headwaters of the Shenandoah River Valley. During the Civil War, rail and ship transportation were key to supply chains for both armies. Harpers Ferry had both forms of transportation and was a strategic location between north and south. The Confederates were wooing Maryland residents to take up the Confederate side during the war and Harpers Ferry was a good position for this sort of public relations campaign.

A Short History of Harpers Ferry Before Civil War
The U.S. Armory and Arsenal was opened at Harpers Ferry in 1797. This facility produced over 600,000 muskets, rifles and pistols from 1707-1861. Harpers Ferry was also the first place in the U.S. to mechanize the production of weapons.

John Brown’s Raid
John Brown was an abolitionist with radical ideas about freeing slaves. He set out on the evening of October 16, 1859 to raid the U.S. Armory and Arsenal with the objective of seizing 100,000 weapons. These he planned to distribute to slaves to fight a guerilla war against slavery in the Shenandoah Valley. About a day and a half later, with Brown’s men killed or wounded, he was captured by the U.S. Marines. For his crimes of sedition against the country, he was hanged on December 2, 1859. John Brown’s Fort stands today as a memory of the raid, and the place where he was captured. It would take less than two years from the time of John Brown’s raid, and the country would be in a state of civil warfare.

Harpers Ferry During the Civil War
Confederate and Union soldiers passed through Harpers Ferry, making it a vulnerable location. Less than one day from the time Virginia seceded, Federal soldiers burned the armory n April 18, 1861. Yet only 15,000 weapons were burned, and Confederates were able to take the weapon making machinery into the South. The Confederates held Harpers Ferry until the Battle of Antietam concluded in 1862 then the Union reoccupied it . All together the town changed hands eight times between 1861 & 1865 – which illustrates its significance.

Harpers Ferry Jeopardy – Easy to Download and Play
To make it fun for students to prepare for a trip to Washington D.C. and Harpers Ferry, the National Park Service has a game (designed in Powerpoint) called Harpers Ferry Jeopardy. Another useful classroom teaching tool, The War for Freedom is designed for the student to gain a better understanding of slavery and emancipation. The War for Freedom includes intro text, teacher pages, learning activities and additional resources. Students can learn about slavery from the viewpoint of a slave and trace his or her journey to emancipation. Also documented in this section are actual stories of African American soldiers who fought hard for their freedom on different battlefields of the Civil War.

Middle School Lessons Plans for Social Studies Students
The National Park Service has designed a lesson geared towards 5th-8th graders that focuses specifically on Harpers Ferry. The Battle for Harpers Ferry, 1862: Harpers Ferry is the Key! includes four lesson plans that take 30-40 minutes to cover in the classroom. Students gain a better understanding of the strategic importance of Harpers Ferry for the Union and learn more about the life of a Civil War soldier.

With so many great classroom tools to work with, teachers will find it easier to help students understand the importance of Harpers Ferry during the Civil War era. They will also be able to tie this lesson into another about the Battle for Antietam. A real visit to Harpers Ferry will enable students to understand the geographic position of Harpers Ferry today and to view some of the historic sites where armies were situated. Harpers Ferry has sites and trails in three different states: West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.

To plan a student tour of Harpers Ferry with a student travel company, Request a Quote or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Resources for Teachers:

The Battle for Harpers Ferry
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/classrooms/battle-of-hf-2.htm
War for Freedom
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/war-for-freedom.htm
Harpers Ferry Jeopardy
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/classrooms/curriculummaterials.htm

A Middle School Trip to Washington D.C. to Study American History

Lisa Wertz is a middle school teacher who brought her 8th grade class to Washington D.C. each year.  “I always felt that the trip was good preparation for high school,” said Wertz. The visit to Washington DC is “great preparation for the 8th graders since they will take government classes in 9th grade,” added Wertz. An in depth look at the places in Washington D.C. which house the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government was also a once in a lifetime experience for many of the students who traveled on these trips from Boulder, Colorado to the East Coast.

Educational Trip to Washington D.C. Includes Time with Senator

Thanks to advanced planning, there were also added educational experiences on the most recent class trip to Washington D.C. In addition to seeing the White House and U.S. Capitol, the class was able to meet with Senator Bennet during their visit.  “It was impressive,” said Wertz, “We met with Senator Bennet in the agricultural committee room in the Russell Building.”  She said students were able to ask him questions.  This type of interactive experience is possible for many student tours, though not all participate with representatives in this way. Sometimes a representative’s schedule or lack of enough advanced planning can prevent a group from dialoguing directly with their congressmen or senators.  Trip leaders should ask a student travel consultant for procedures on booking time with representatives.  Book six months to one year in advance of the visit to Washington D.C.

Casey Middle School Government Students Participate in Mock Hearing

In addition to meeting with Senator Bennet, Representative Jared Polis’ staff conducted a mock committee hearing for Wertz’s middle school group.   She said students learned how bills are sometimes attached to other bills.  The topics presented included Medical Marijuana and the Dream Act.  This mock hearing enabled students to better understand the day-to-day workings of a democratic government.  In this setting, students, like representatives, are challenged to listen to and assimilate the opinions of all sides.

Other D.C. Destinations on the Class Trip

There were other destinations on this trip to Washington D.C. that tied in well with the curriculum. The group was able to visit the Supreme Court.  Students looked at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which was a highlight for many.  They also visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the American and Natural History Museum — two popular choices for student groups.

Students See Mount Vernon by Boat and Land

On their final day on tour, Wertz’s students took a Spirit Cruise around Mount Vernon and spent the day at George and Martha Washington’s estate.  Wertz said, “We designed a scavenger hunt for Mount Vernon. Students used their cell phone cameras to record the information they found there.  It was really fun!”   Incorporating the tools of new technology into the Mount Vernon visit helped to interest students in history by engaging them more deeply with the artifacts and structures there.

Casey Middle School’s four day, three night tour was packed with even more interesting activities.  They visited the Newseum and had a full tour of the Holocaust Museum. Each of these museums has a great deal to offer the student of American History and government.  Both museums are relatively new, and integrate interactive technology into exhibits.

On this unique tour, students took an in-depth look at U.S. government and studied how it functions in a free society.  They were able to visit sites of historical significance, speak directly to their representatives and participate in a mock hearing.  A combination of indoor and outdoor destinations created a full itinerary with plenty of opportunity for learning.

Request a Quote for the U.S. History/Government tour of Washington D.C. or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Hotel Security On Class Trips

Class trips to destinations such as Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando and other desirable cities are the perfect opportunity for young people to learn and have fun with their peers, teachers and parents. For many parents sending their children on class trips, educational travel can also create anxiety over the unknown. Educational travel companies need to take steps to minimize parents’ worries by implementing measures that make them feel secure in putting their trust in others. There are methods to ensure students’ safety.

I have been the owner of an educational tour company for over 25 years and I have had an opportunity to listen to parents’ concerns firsthand. I am also the father of several children myself, so it’s easy for me to empathize. Without proper oversight and planning, one of the main places where problems can occur on student trips is at the hotel. For this reason, Educational Travel Consultants has a standing policy and procedure to guarantee student security while staying at hotels.

I will outline several effective strategies for ensuring security on class trips while student groups are staying at hotels. If these measures are taken, there is less cause for concern.

Let’s face it, there is always a possibility something may happen while student groups are on tour. This is why Educational Travel Consultants carries an insurance policy on all student trips. In addition to insurance, I feel strongly that implementing hotel security measures is another way to make certain that students are supervised at all times. Students do not need to be tempted to leave the hotel where they are staying for points unknown, in urban areas that are unfamiliar to them.

Hotel Security Measures for Student Travel Groups

1. The choice of hotel is essential for security on class trips. My company only books student groups at hotels with enclosed hallways. It is easier to monitor students’ behavior and make certain they are not tempted to leave the premises in hotels with interior corridors.

2. Students need to have a curfew. An 11 p.m. curfew is standard on trips. If the group for some reason arrives at a hotel after 11 p.m. (which is rare) the curfew begins 30 minutes after arrival.

3. Though it adds an extra expense, a security guard can patrol the hotel hallways after curfew until morning. My company policy is to guarantee a guard on all student trips.

4. Security guards also tape student rooms at curfew. The teacher in charge may take disciplinary action if the tape is ripped or removed.

5. When curfew is imposed at 11 p.m. this means that students must turn televisions and music down, and be quiet. Noise and loud talking may disturb other guests and is not permitted. A teacher may request that lights go out at curfew and that no talking is permitted. In any case, if a student’s inappropriate behavior warrants it, this may mean expulsion from the trip, which will also have implications once the student is returned to school and home.

6. Security guards must have clear parameters to work within. When the guard arrives for duty at 11 p.m. he or she is instructed on any last minute room switches and briefed on seeking teachers and chaperones out. Security guards are not permitted to enter student rooms for any purpose. However, they are required to keep a log of all occurrences throughout the evening. The guard will not wake group leaders for minor disruptions – only if an emergency or problem which requires their input occurs.

If these security measures are taken on class trips, I find that problems can be eliminated before they even begin. Young people need to have clearly defined rules. Similar to the classroom, inappropriate behavior on class trips has serious consequences.

The majority of student groups I have worked with over the years have easily observed these rules and cooperated with teachers, chaperons, tour guides, and security guards. If everyone on the trip observes the guidelines set forth, then the entire group has peace of mind and a good night’s sleep so that they can fully enjoy the tours and attractions on the following day. To inquire about a class trip, just email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote for your student trip.

Student Travel Recommendations for the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C.

The excitement is building for the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington D.C. For student tour groups that are traveling to Washington D.C. for the presidential inauguration there are specific rules which must be followed for this event. Security for our new president is a top concern among the intelligence and crime fighting community. Not only do these professionals have to do their part, but each American that attends this event will have to observe the rules to ensure greater security for all.

It is predicted there will be over two million people attending, so the lines are going to be long. Security checkpoints will be common and unauthorized belongings will be confiscated. Avoid losing your property and prepare appropriately.

Following are some requirements for inauguration day. Please read this list carefully if you are attending.

1 Please do not let your group carry baggage of any kind, no umbrellas, coolers, strollers, canes, chairs, knives, thermoses, signs, posters, backpacks, packages, bags exceeding 8″x6″x4″ or anything that might trigger security concerns. There are no childcare facilities. All attendees will be subject to security checkpoints and if you have any items not allowed, they will be confiscated.

2 There will be around 10,000 motor coaches transporting groups into Washington D.C. The coaches will not be able to get the groups in close, so I advise you to wear very comfortable walking shoes as student tour groups will most likely be walking long distances (up to 2/1/2 miles) and standing for several hours. The coaches will be parking at RFK Stadium or elsewhere along the route and either taking a shuttle, metro or walking to the Mall area.

3 Dress warmly in layers and wear a raincoat, as umbrellas will not be allowed. It can typically be a rainy or damp 37 degree day on Inauguration Day in Washington D.C. which is in the full throes of winter. So, dress appropriately.

4 Student travel groups may have other activities scheduled for the Presidential Inauguration day. In that case, don’t be surprised if they have to be canceled. It will take much longer than usual to get to the Mall and departing will take a significant amount of time also. A tour escort will be in charge of your trip and can guide you around that day. Be patient with your guide, do everything that he or she asks of you, and be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting. You are very fortunate to be attending this inaugural event and our advice is to just go with the flow and enjoy the celebration.

5 Plan to eat early and get on your way to the Inaugural event. An early breakfast at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. will allow student tour groups to get to the Mall to be in line for the security checks starting at 9:00 a.m.

6 If all goes as planned, student tour groups will be inside the Mall area for the Inauguration event on time. Many student tour companies will not be able to guarantee arrival on time. The parade is not scheduled till 2:00 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. Groups will depart for a motorcoach as soon as the parade is over.

Please visit http://inaugural.senate.gov/2009/ and click on the Key Topics on the right hand side of the webpage or http://inauguration.dc.gov/spectator_info.asp for more updated information.

Student travel groups and others are looking forward to the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington D.C. They are excited about witnessing history. Take care and follow instructions carefully in order to truly maximize enjoyment of this student trip. Be aware of surroundings and do not carry disallowed possessions so they will not be lost at checkpoints. Remember to leave items not allowed on the bus or in the hotel room. Student travel companies, tour guides, teachers, students and parents main concern is that everything goes smoothly and that students are secure. Be flexible and most of all have fun!

Student Travel in Washington DC is Enhanced by the New U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

Capitol Visitor Center: Washington DC‘s Newest Student Travel Destination

Congressional leaders Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader John Boehner have announced that December 2, 2008 is the grand opening for the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington DC. According to VisittheCapitol.com the date is significant because “one hundred and forty-five years ago on December 2, 1863 the final section of Statue of Freedom was placed atop the Capitol to signify the completion of construction of a new dome.”

The Capitol Visitor Center is where all visits to the Capitol begin and visitors both young and old can enjoy an exciting and educational journey. At the Capitol Visitor Center groups and individuals are encouraged to explore the history of Congress and the history of the U.S. Capitol. The Capitol Visitor Center Gift Shops and restaurant make it easy to manage educational, student travel tours.

Tips to Plan a Student Tour of the Capitol

1. Create a Student Travel Tour Itinerary for Each Day

The student tour of the Capitol will take a minimum of two hours. This does not include bathroom breaks, time for dining and time to visit your local members of Congress. If you are planning to visit other parts of the Capitol Complex such as the Library of Congress, United States Botanic Garden or the Supreme Court Building make sure you have sufficient time to explore these historical locations as well. A well thought out and organized student tour itinerary will make the Washington DC experience more exciting, educational and stimulating for the students.

2. Explain Capitol Etiquette and the Behavior Required from Student Travel Groups

Communicate clearly with students that the Capitol is a place where serious governmental business is conducted. All visitors are expected to adhere to the rules and regulations explained at the Capitol Visitor Center and to show respect to Capitol staff and government officials. All visitors, including student tours, are supposed to dress comfortably yet appropriately for a business environment. The historical importance of the Capitol is something all Americans can be proud of and share with others in the future.

3. Ask for Help from the Experts When Booking Student Travel Tours

Student travel planning can be confusing. Not only are you booking hotels, transportation, historical tours, educational events and meals, you are doing it for students. Each student relies on teachers, administrators and department heads to plan exciting and interesting first time experiences. Student travel planning can create a lot of stress and pressure, but you are not alone. There are a variety of tools available for student tours and school groups of all ages. Find a student travel planner or consultant that can help you design the perfect student tour and save you money.

The Educational Mission of the Capitol Visitor Center

As VisittheCapitol.com states, “The Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. The Senate and the House of Representatives have met here for more than two centuries.” Visitors are moved by the power of the Capitol’s role in both history and future generations. Students and teachers alike will enjoy the Capitol Visitor Center, the Exhibition Hall, the Senate Galleries, the Emancipation Hall and more.

The Capitol Visitor Center has been built to facilitate a learning experience for every visitor. Students especially are encouraged to think critically and analytically when interpreting the beliefs, motives and traditions of the American people throughout history. Students also learn about the House, Senate and American legislative process, as well as the development of architecture and art in the U.S. Capitol. It is a fun and educational addition to the Capitol Complex and the perfect destination for student travel tours.

Visit the New National Musuem of American History in Washington D.C.

Plan an Educational Tour of the National Museum of American History in Washington DC

Student field trips and educational tours to famous, metropolitan cities like New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC are popular these days, but in the fall of 2008 a Washington DC educational student travel destination reopens that everyone will want to visit. On Friday, November 21, 2008 the National Museum of American History opens its doors after over two years and $85 million of architectural renovations. According to a July 30, 2008 press release from the National Museum of American History the center core of the building has been redesigned to improve architectural appeal and modernize the presentation of the museum’s extensive collections. The redesign includes construction of a skylit 5-story atrium, grand staircase and a new Star-Spangled Banner Gallery.

Visit the Museum of American History and Make Your Washington DC Student Travel Tour a Success

An Inspirational and Educational Field Trip: Visit the 200-Year-Old Star Spangled Banner
In the center of Washington DC’s American History Museum the Star-Spangled Banner Gallery was built to inspire visitors through the dramatic and powerful story of the American flag and the national anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner gallery is a state of the art facility made to protect, preserve and display the American flag. Housed behind a 45-foot tall, floor to ceiling glass wall in a special, climate controlled chamber the flag’s wool and cotton fibers are monitored and maintained. Low light levels and the projection of the first stanza of Francis Scott Key’s poem, “The Star Spangled Banner” on the wall above and behind the flag provide excellent visibility for museum visitors. According to the American History Museum’s web site, “The History Channel, a donor through financial contributions and in-kind gifts, will release a new one-hour special touching on the flag’s colorful history, including the specialized conservation treatment undertaken by the museum and the new high-tech flag chamber.” As a part of the ‘Save Our History’ series, the History Channel documentary airs this fall.

Celebrate American History: Take a Class Trip to See the White House Copy of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, given on November 19, 1863, is one of the most well-known and memorable speeches in American history. The manuscript, displayed at the National Museum of American History in Washington DC, is one of five drafts and the last known to have been written in Lincoln’s own hand in March of 1864. This copy of the Gettysburg Address is officially part of a collection kept at the White House in the private quarters of the Lincoln Bedroom. First Lady Laura Bush approved the loan of this copy to the Washington DC American History Museum until January 4, 2009.

Additional Museum Exhibitions Perfect for Student Tour Groups and Student Trips
On the second floor of the National Museum of American History the Nina and Ivan Selin Welcome Center serves as a landmark and houses historical objects like the Vassar College telescope from 1865. The telescope is situated on the west wing of the first floor to represent science and technology and was used by the first woman astronomer in America. The west wing also includes a hands-on science and invention center called the Lemelson Hall of Invention and Spark!Lab. One of the program highlights planned for the spring of 2009 is the 8,000 square foot ‘On the Water: Stories from Maritime America’ exhibition. In 2009 The Susan and Elihu Rose Gallery will begin to feature rotating exhibits so visitors can encounter varying historic characters every weekend as well as celebrate and learn about various federal holidays.

Make Your Educational Student Tour Unforgettable at Washington DC’s National Museum of American History

The American History Museum renovations also include the construction of the 275-seat Carmichael Auditorium, the Samuel J. and Ethel LaFrak Lobby, new elevators, new restrooms, retail operations, The Constitution Café and the 600-seat Stars and Stripes Café. Historians, families, student travel tours, educational travel services and individuals interested in exploring American history from colonial to modern times can view virtual exhibits and collections online at the National Museum of American History’s web site: americanhistory.si.edu. Museum schedules, special events and educational activities are also available online.

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Student Travel to Washington DC: Don’t Miss the new Mount Vernon Educational Center

by Howard Clemens

Learn About George Washington’s Life on an Educational Student Tour of Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens

One of the most popular historic locations in the United States, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, is located sixteen miles south of Washington, DC on the banks of the Potomac River. Each year Mount Vernon provides events, tours and exhibits for American history lovers. Educational student tour groups, student travel organizations, families and individuals can enjoy the Mansion House, slave quarters, the kitchen, stables, the greenhouse, hiking trails, the Farm, the Slave Memorial and Washington’s Tomb. In addition to tours and exhibits, Mount Vernon offers Adventures in Learning programs created specifically for high school trips, educational travel tours and history field trips. Also recently opened are The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the Ford Orientation Center, which chronicle the life and times of George Washington through multi media presentations, historical artifacts and storytelling.

The History of Mount Vernon: A Student Travel Destination for Over 140 Years

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens were the home of George and Martha Washington after they were married in 1759. They lived there until George Washington’s death in 1799. During his forty years there Washington grew the estate to 8,000 acres and expanded the Mansion House to twenty-one rooms. In 1858 the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association bought the estate from the Washington family and Mount Vernon was opened to the public in 1860. Since 1860 approximately 80 million people have toured the estate grounds and attended educational travel programs and events.

The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center: An Unforgettable Student Travel Tour Destination in Washington DC

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens is dedicated to helping schools, student tour groups, educational travel services, families and individuals discover the real George Washington. In order to achieve this goal Mount Vernon has recently opened The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. This educational hub features twenty-three galleries and theaters equipped with interactive technology built to teach the details of George Washington’s childhood, young adult life and experiences as a leader in American History. The Education Center is also home to Washington’s Presidential Library, classroom space and computers, which store over 20,000 letters written by George Washington himself.

A major highlight of the Donald W. Reynolds Museum are the three life size models of George Washington made by a forensic anthropologist and a team of special experts. The museum provides state of the art display for its incredible collection of furnishings, china, silver, clothing, jewelry, rare books, manuscripts, Revolutionary War artifacts and other personal effects of the Washington family. In order to maintain the pastoral setting and picturesque views on the estate sixty-five percent of the 66,700-square foot Ford Orientation Center and Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center complex are constructed under the four-acre pasture just inside the main gate. The architectural design preserves the historic look of Mount Vernon and creates a grazing pasture for traditional Hogg Island sheep, similar to those Washington raised 200 years ago.

Discover Educational History Tours That Are Fun for Students and Teachers Alike at The Ford Orientation Center

A statue of the Washington family greets groups and people visiting the Ford Orientation Center. Filled with exhibitions and featuring a film about the life, struggles and achievements of George Washington the Ford Orientation Center provides visitors the chance to learn about this dynamic, captivating hero of American history. Made possible through the longstanding support of Ford Motor Company, the Ford Orientation Center is meant to be a doorway into the nation’s past. “Ford Motor Company’s support of Mount Vernon started with Henry Ford,” states Mount Vernon’s executive director James C. Rees, “It continues with the Ford Orientation Center, a vital resource which will be the gateway for generations of young Americans to learn about George Washington.”

Educational Student Travel: Adventures in Learning Created for Your Curriculum

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens offers a wide range of student travel tours, educational field trips and learning experiences. Each program is designed to meet school curriculum standards and specifically focus on George Washington and 18th century living. Programs are seasonal and can be scheduled at educational student rates. The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the Ford Orientation Center have been designed in partnership with the History Channel, which produced eleven educational videos for the project. Plan to spend the entire day at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. To find out more visit the Mount Vernon web site www.MountVernon.org.

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Washington D.C.: Popular Places to Dine, Entertain, and Shop With Student Travel Groups

Students traveling to Washington D.C. on tour are more likely to enjoy themselves when the educational experience is coupled with dining and entertainment experiences they find exciting. An educational travel company and the tour guide working in the Washington D.C. area can work together to add some age appropriate experiences to student travel that will be well remembered. The good news for parents, teachers, and administrators is that it is not necessary to depart from the educational objectives of the student trip to satisfy the student group’s yearning for something different.

Recently, I interviewed Ann Greenwald, a Tour Director and a licensed Washington D.C. guide who has been working in the profession for eight years. Greenwald has given knowledgeable and insightful guided tours to many student travel groups in and around Washington D.C. and has a real feel for the types of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences students enjoy. The selections discussed are popular and economic choices for student travel tour itineraries.

Student Travel Groups: Shopping in Washington D.C.

When students shop, they do so to purchase souvenirs, or small gifts for their families and friends. A shopping experience for a student on tour in Washington D.C. can be as simple as visiting the National Archives and picking up a replica of the Declaration of Independence in the gift shop. “At the Air and Space Center, students get a kick out of buying the freeze dried ice cream that astronauts eat,” says Ann Greenwald.

Student travel groups often gravitate toward the more economical choices for shopping – such as a souvenir store. Ann Greenwald says there are two very popular stores among student groups in downtown Washington D.C.: “Students love Souvenir City & Joes. Both stores offer reasonably priced t-shirts and sweatshirts. FBI and Secret Service hats are popular among student travel groups and can be purchased at either store. Any shopping experience tied into the educational experience can be rewarding and fun.”

Combine Dining and Entertainment in Washington D.C.: Student Favorites

There are several great restaurants in the Washington D.C. area that combine dining and entertainment and are well loved by student travel groups. “McGill’s Pizza in Annandale, Virginia is a student favorite,” said Greenwald. “McGill’s has an arcade with a game room, so students can win things when they purchase tickets,” she added.
The ESPN Zone, in downtown Washington D.C. is also popular among student travel groups. It’s conveniently located around the corner from Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. Greenwald says, “Student groups can have a meal, and if it’s included in their tour they receive a $10 card that may be used in the downstairs arcade.”
Another popular eatery for student groups on tour of Washington D.C. is the Hard Rock Café. “Student travel groups just think it’s cool to go into the Hard Rock Café,” says Greenwald. “There’s the memorabilia, pictures, and rock music playing all the time,” she continued, “and all of this adds to the appeal for student travelers.”
Consider combining food and entertainment on a student travel tour of Washington D.C. one evening to lighten the student group’s spirits and put them in a great mood for touring the next day.

Entertainment for Student Travel Groups
There are numerous choices for entertainment in Washington D.C. that will captivate student travel groups. Greenwald says that if it’s in the student travel budget, attending “Sheer Madness” at the Kennedy Center is an evening that student travelers enjoy immensely. The interactive murder mystery dinner theater format gets students involved with the theater production and outcome of the ‘whodunit’ plot.

Finally, an evening illuminated tour of the monuments in Washington D.C. can be a great way to draw student travelers into the experience of history. Greenwald commented, “ As the symbolism is explained at the various monuments, kids gain a better understanding of history. Instead of just staring at an inanimate object, I explain why the monument is there, and what the symbolism signifies. They come away with a greater understanding of U.S. history, and the permanent mark it has left on Washington D.C.” An evening walk around Washington D.C. in the spring or fall adds an outdoor dimension to touring that is appreciated by all. Students should plan accordingly by brining appropriate clothing for Washington D.C. weather during the time of year they visit.

These recommended choices for dining, entertainment and shopping for student travel are by no means a comprehensive list of the possibilities. The suggestions Greenwald makes for student groups on tour of Washington D.C. are simple and cost effective so they make great additions to a trip itinerary. For the student traveler, a tour of Washington D.C. is an intense four to five day learning experience which needs to be balanced with some good old fashioned fun. Request a Quote for a student travel tour of Washington D.C. that includes some great dining, shopping and entertainment choices.

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Washington D.C. and Vicinity – a Revolutionary War Tour

Many student travel groups I have toured with are visiting the East Coast for the first time. I like to offer these types of groups a view of Early American life that spans many of the Eastern states, with a focus on the Revolutionary War period.
In order to understand the Revolutionary War within the larger scheme of things, I advise teachers coordinating student tour groups to visit Yorktown and Mount Vernon in Virginia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. Boston, Massachusettes is also on the list of destinations for the Revolutionary War Tour, but in the interest of keeping the trip brief and manageable, Boston is usually excluded. History and government teachers may want to offer an overview of Boston and the role it played during the Revolutionary War period prior to the student travel trip.

For student tour groups taking the tour from the West Coast or the Midwest, flying into Norfolk, Virginia, and flying out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania makes a great deal of sense for the Revolutionary War tour because it saves time. Students coming from closer locations may want to consider alternate flying routes to save time and cover the most distance possible. The educational travel professionals at my company schedule the student tour with everyone’s comfort and convenience in mind.


Yorktown Virginia – A Must See on the Student Travel Tour

Yorktown Battlefields are a primary destination for the Revolutionary War tour of the East. In 1781, General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered with 8,300 troops, ending the American Revolution in Yorktown. Yet the story leading up to this surrender, and the battles fought before it took place are engaging and numerous. Student travel groups will want to take the 7-mile or 9 mile driving tours of Yorktown Battlefields to have a fuller understanding of the scope of this final battle and Cornwallis’ surrender.

Yorktown Battlefield Museum
The Yorktown Battlefield Museum details it as the place where Virginia’s colonial government was established in 1691. Because of its strategic location on the York River, one of the main tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, Yorktown was a highly contested Naval post during the Revolutionary War, and so was the appropriate place for the final battle to be fought. Student tour groups will learn a great deal about the culmination of the Revolutionary War at Yorktown and therefore, should not miss this destination.

Teachers may visit http://www.nps.gov/york/forteachers/yorktowneducationalprograms.htm and with enough advance notice, may book special interepretive programs that are in sync with curriculum objectives.


Historic Revolutionary War Sites Near Washington D.C.

Not far from Washington D.C. is one of the most famous estates on American soil. Mount Vernon was George Washington’s Home, and was a working farm as well as an estate home in the Early American style. Both are well preserved. Living history programs including an actress who plays the part of Martha Washington, Our First Lady, and demonstrations of Early American farming techniques are some of the highlights of the Mount Vernon tour. Students can visit the Eighteenth Century house, farm, and gristmill for an authentic glimpse into what it must have been like to live during Washington’s time.

Philadelphia: Important Sites for a Student Tour of Revolutionary War
Since the creation and signing of the Declaration of Independence from British Colonial rule occurred in Philadelphia, many would consider it the birthplace of democracy. Thus, Philadelphia is on the Itinerary for the Revolutionary War Tour. There are many prominent sites to enjoy in Philadelphia.

Independence Hall: Visit the place where the signers of the Declaration of Independence sat and had discourse on this historic document before penning their names in old fashioned ink. Independence Hall is a well preserved and maintained site and is well worth the visit.

Liberty Bell: Though it is broken and not in use the Liberty Bell is on display for all to see now at a special location between 5th and 6th on Market Street in Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell Center has exhibits and a movie to explain the significance of the Liberty Bell in American History.

Betsy Ross House: Nestled in Old City Philadelphia, not far from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall is Betsy Ross’s historic home. Betsy Ross made the first American flag and is one of the earliest women patriots. Student tour groups will enjoy a short tour of her home and the story of how she made the first American flag.

Christ Church: Located near 2nd Street and above Market, Historic Christ Church dates to 1695 and is an appropriate place to visit for the revolutionary War Tour. Christ Church was one of the first parishes of the Church of England in the new world. The Christ Church Burial Ground includes the tombs of some famous early Americans including Ben Franklin who was interred there. This historic, early American landmark is a site that student groups will not want to miss.

Washington Crossing Park
George Washington led 2,500 troops across the Delaware River on Christmas Day in 1776 from Buck’s County Pennsylvania to Trenton to attack an army of 1,500 and won. This victory came at a low point in the Revolutionary War. Students will want to visit the Pennsylvania side of Washington Crossing to see the museum, and should time permit, cross to the New Jersey side to see the landing area and the road used by the continental army to march to Trenton and attack. The trip to Washington Crossing is a short one hour journey from Philadelphia and well worth it for its historical significance during the Revolutionary period.

There are other historic sites that date back to revolutionary times and are significant. For this tour, I have concentrated on the major high points of the war and the major historic sites. Student travel groups wishing to book a tour with a Revolutionary War theme can email: info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information.