Tag Archives: educational tour company

Student Trip to NYC Includes a Visit to Cleveland and Niagara Falls

Mike Davis is a Guidance Counselor at Gallatin High School in Warsaw, Kentucky. This spring, he took his students on a tour that encompassed a range of iconic landmarks, from Niagara Falls to the Statue of Liberty to the 9/11 Memorial. It was a trip that exposed students to a wealth of cultural, natural, and contemporary highlights of the American landscape and its history.

Since the group comprised both music and business students, Davis planned an itinerary that would be of interest to both study groups. He planned visits to sites such as the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and Radio City Music Hall and took the group on a walking tour of the NYC financial district. I recently had a chance to interview Mike about what he and his students had found most memorable about the visit.

Q. What is your official title at the high school?

A. Guidance Counselor

Q. What is the theme of your tour, and how does it tie into the subject(s) you teach?

A. I teach a beginning piano class here at school and the trip evolved from that class. It was a dual tour, partly my piano class and partly the Future Business Leaders of America, which is a club in the school supervised by Angela Baker, who was also a chaperone on our trip. The trip was my idea. I brought Angela along because I thought business kids would enjoy going to NYC. The trip included a walking tour of NYC’s financial district. We took 33 students all together, with two teachers and three parents.

Q. I noticed some unique tour stops. For example, you visited the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, which must have been great for the music class.  Why did you select these sites?

A. Yes, it’s the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.  The students were caught off-guard, as they were expecting it to be more musical.  They figured they’d be hearing lots of musical hits. There are stations where you can stop and listen to music being featured in the museum. They saw a lot of famous outfits that had been worn on stage, Elvis’s car, and more. Most of the material was memorabilia. Then there’s also the place where you can see who has been inducted into the hall, which was really exciting for them.

Q. You visited NBC Studios. Did the group get a live look at the set in action? What was their response to this site?

A. It was great. We got to see the ‘Saturday Night Live’ set and the set for Brian Williams, Rock Center.  Our tour was in the morning, and the sets were empty.  We saw NBC Coast to Coast, and observed how different material was developed for the East and West Coasts.  We also observed how NBC had changed since being acquired by Universal.

Q. What did the group see and experience in their visit to Radio City Music Hall?

A. That was an exceptionally good tour! They took us inside, outside, up and down. We got to meet one of the Rockettes. She spoke to the group and they got to take pictures with her. There was a lot of walking—I don’t think the students realized how big the facility was, but they really enjoyed themselves.

Q. The student travel group visited Times Square, did a Manhattan Tour and visited the site of the Twin Towers (911 Memorial). Why was it important to you to include these sites?

A. We had a whirlwind tour, and saw about as much as we possibly could see. It was important because I don’t think any of the kids had been to NYC, so we wanted them to get the full impact of all those places. We also visited Chinatown, and had dinner in Little Italy one evening.

Q. Visiting Niagara Falls must have been a spectacular treat for the group. Describe some reactions to seeing it for the first time.

A. It was! They felt and saw the power of the falls and learned about the amount of water that flows through it. We saw the American and Canadian sides.  I surprised the kids with Niagara Falls, since Cleveland is only three hours away. We got there during the day and took pictures.  Afterwards, we were able to get pretty close to NYC by that evening.

Q.What is the Sony Wonder Lab?  What did your group do there?

A. The Wonder Lab was the suggestion of Ms. Baker. It’s a multi story building, with interactive exhibits (digital images and broadcast booths). It was popular and crowded, and they loved it.

Q. Your students saw two Broadway Plays: “Wicked” and “Phantom of the Opera”.  Why was it important to you to get two plays in? What influenced your selection of plays?

A. We’re fairly close to Cincinnati, and they have Broadway shows here. It is just so much different to be able to say you actually saw a play on Broadway.  I thought these were both very different musicals. “Phantom” is a traditional opera show, and “Wicked” is an upbeat modern musical. The kids loved both shows.

Q. Please comment on any post trip writing or speaking you required your students to perform.

A. We played a little game on the way home. I got on the bus microphone and asked them different questions about the trip. And they would answer these trip trivia questions.  For example, I would ask, “How many seats were in the Radio City Music Hall?” and they would answer if they knew it. Everyone had a fantastic time.  The tour company was very good, and great to work with. They didn’t deter me from any of the sites I wanted to visit. I had in my mind what I wanted to do, rather than a pre-packaged deal. We were coming from so far away, we needed to get as much in as possible, which we did. We hope to do it again in another year or two.

There are a myriad of options available for student travel groups, and they can be tailored to engage every group’s unique focus and interests. Every classroom is different, and with imagination and planning, teachers can work with travel groups to create itineraries that are custom designed to bring out student’s enthusiasm for learning. By incorporating touring into their curriculum, more and more teachers are helping student travel be what it’s supposed to be: both recreational and educational.

Enumclaw High School Band and Orchestra Produce a CD/DVD to Raise Funds for a Student Trip to Orlando, Florida

By Howard Clemens

Many high school bands, orchestras, and choirs have to raise money in the fall and spring so they may travel and perform in cities across the U.S. such as Orlando, FL, Washington D.C., and New York City. This year, I was particularly impressed by a story one Band and Orchestra Director, Lynda Alley, of Enumclaw High School in Washington, told me about her successful fundraising efforts. By recording and selling a fall concert CD/DVD, the school group was able to raise $15,000.

From April 5-9, 2010, Enumclaw high school band and orchestra will travel to Orlando, Florida to perform at Disney World. On April 6th, the high school band will perform in the Future March at Epcot Center and the symphony orchestra will perform on the Waterside Stage in Magic Kingdom. Both groups will partake in the “You’re Instrumental” workshop, a real recording session where students will underscore an animation of choice with their own soundtrack.

The story of how this particular high school band and orchestra raised funds for the trip to Disney World is heartening, and shows real drive and enthusiasm on the part of the band director and the students. Lynda Alley, Band and Orchestra Director at Enumclaw High School, said, “We engaged the services of the RM Project, a company that specializes in making films and soundtracks of student performances. RM Project made a soundtrack and film of our band performance during our fall 2009 concert.”

Alley says the high school band was so enthusiastic about the project they rehearsed and successfully recorded material that would normally be presented in June for the October 21st and 22nd concert.

The RM Project did not require upfront fees for production, but took a percentage of the proceeds as agreed upon in the contract. The production company recorded the fall concert and within two weeks presented master tracks for review. Once these were approved, the final CD/DVD was delivered in two weeks. Alley said, “The final project was packaged completely professionally, as if it rolled off the shelf at Best Buy. The DVD/CD’s are printed in full color, with a 24-page color companion booklet. The back and front of the jewel case is in full color featuring the artwork we requested, and the CD includes a bar code for retail distribution.” Alley added that the sound quality is perfect, as if it were recorded at “Carnegie Hall.”

Freshman through senior aged students were asked to sell the CD/DVD to parents, relatives, friends and associates. Students were actually relieved that they did not have to sell wrapping paper and magazines. Instead they were asked to do something that dovetailed with their musical work. Alley commented, “In many ways, students are more sophisticated than when I was in high school. I think most high school students find it demeaning when they are asked to sell items that have no connection with what they are attempting to achieve as students and musicians.”

Students who were motivated to sell more CD/DVDs were rewarded with an incentive based program. If they reached certain sales levels they received items aligned with their interest in music such as: music notation software, Apple Computer music products and music download gift cards. Students’ ultimate reward was attending the trip to Orlando in the spring and performing at Epcot Center or Magic Kingdom.

Parents were especially receptive to the program because it yielded $15,000 in funds in just six weeks. This took pressure from the booster organization to raise the funds. In previous years, the booster organization ran all of the concessions at the home athletic events, and was still unable to raise this much money.

In addition to student sales of the CD/DVD, the RM Project put up a website to generate more retail sales and as a place to sell digital downloads. Alley indicated, “This was a great way to sell the product to out of town friends and relatives of our program. The RM Project also contracts to coordinate uploading the CD/DVD on iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Rhapsody, and other online services where music downloads can be purchased.” Even though Alley declined the second option for online sales, she intends to incorporate this into the spring 2010 recording project. She said that Enumclaw High School will produce two recordings per year for the foreseeable future.

From a fundraising perspective, the recording and distribution project was a great success. The project also garnered student musicians and the band director exposure in CD/DVD format as well as online. With Educational Travel Consultants as their chosen tour company, students will have access to all four parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom between April 5-9th. A security guard will also be provided for the group from 11 p.m. – 5 p.m. everyday.

To book a student performance tour or any other type of travel trip email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or take a moment to fill out the Request a Quote form online.

Take a Science Focused Student Trip to Orlando, FL

Educators who have not yet sampled Disney’s Youth Education Series (Y.E.S.) need to take note. Teachers, administrators and parents will find the programs appealing on many levels. Student travel groups participate in interactive learning experiences aligned with National Standards in education. Many of Disney’s Y.E.S. programs appeal to the 6-12 grade levels. Some Y.E.S. programs are geared for audiences beginning in third grade. Consider building a science-focused itinerary to Orlando, FL with trips to Disney Theme Parks such as Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom on the itinerary and learning as a top priority.

Student travel leaders can chose to immerse groups in Natural Science, Physical Science, or select Y.E.S. programs from each category. For the student travel organizer who is looking for resources and justification for a trip to Disney World, these Y.E.S. Programs are structured to meet educational objectives as well as creating a fun environment for active learning.


Epcot Center Offers a World of Discovery for Student Groups

Disney’s Ocean Discoveries is a program facilitated by Epcot Living Sea Educators who are trained and knowledgeable about Marine Science. Students will learn about challenges to the marine environments of: dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and manatees. They will also take an active role in a town hall meeting about a conservation issue and swap places with the animals from the deep to understand how they are trained and cared for.

Animal Kingdom Offers Exceptional Active Learning Experiences

Disney’s Team Up for Wildlife is a program that takes student groups through Animal Kingdom while encouraging them to think about engagement with the world of nature as an experience informed by ethical conservation. Student travel groups will learn how humans impact the eco-system of animals, alternative energy sources in nature, Native American beliefs about animals and the natural world, and ecotourism. Or, student groups may want to experience Disney’s Wild by Nature, where participants will collect data on animal behaviors. Student travelers will also learn how animals adapt and survive in the wild. The issue of conservation is posed in this program as well. Students learn how humans may help or hinder animal survival by paying attention to consumption of resources. These programs are appropriate for grades 3-9.

Magic Kingdom’s Energy in Waves for Student Groups Offers Exceptional Learning Experiences

If student experiences are geared more towards the physical sciences, Disney’s Y.E.S. programs have a great deal to offer. Synergy in Science is an educational program for 1st -5th graders and taught by Disney Y.E.S. Cast Members. Students will learn to use tinker toys to collaborate and communicate, watch a 3D film and learn about light polarization, and engage with and examine the imaginative process with Figment. Disney’s World of Physics: Energies and Waves is designed for 3rd to 12th graders and is a great active learning experience that helps student investigate the nature of light and sound waves, and understand how both can be manipulated. Student groups will learn many scientific facts about sound. Compression waves, mediums, frequencies, and speed of sound are some of the topics covered. Student groups will also learn about light by viewing the electromagnetic spectrum. Groups will see how light is reflected and refracted and absorbed. As a final component to the lesson on light, presenters will give an overview of how the illusion of the Haunted Mansion is created by manipulation of light.

World of Physics: Properties in Motion

Appropriate for grade levels 3-12, Disney’s World of Physics: Properties of Motion is another active learning experience that is taught in Magic Kingdom. This Y.E.S program is an up-close examination of roller coasters and how they exhibit certain laws of motion such as speed, velocity, acceleration, kinetic energy, centripetal force, and positive g-force and lateral g-force. The Walt Disney World Resort Monorail Transportation System and Disney’s Space Mountain are two of the rides used as examples.

As any educator can plainly see, Disney has done a wonderful job of creating high quality interactive educational experiences in the parks that will engage and fascinate students while they learn. If students are headed for Orlando, schedule the group for a Y.E.S. program to deepen the educational experience. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote for a Science Focused trip to Orlando.

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.

Add a Tour of Virginia Battlefields to a Washington D.C. Student Trip

Student trips headed to Washington D.C. to tour may want to consider adding a visit to some Civil War battlefields in nearby Virginia to their itinerary. Many of the critical battles of the Civil War were fought in Virginia, with the ultimate goal being the capture of Richmond by Union forces, since it was the Confederate Capitol.

The furthest of the battlefields I suggest is Petersburg — a three-hour bus ride away. Appomattox, Shenandoah, Fredericksburg and Richmond are approximately two hours or less from Washington D.C.

A student trip can also be built solely around the Civil War. Or, it may include a more comprehensive look at history, beginning with the settlement of Jamestown and Williamsburg as Colonial capitals, and the early days of the Revolutionary War.

Shenandoah: New Market Battlefield and State Historical Park
The site of one of the Confederate victories, New Market Battlefield was the place where early in the war, young cadets from Virginia Military Institute fought and won a victory for the South. Student trips may visit a 19th Century farm, tour the Hall of Valor Civil War Museum, and learn about the actual cadets who made a difference that day.

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Civil War Battlefields
These sites are within a forty-five minute drive from Williamsburg, so student trip organizers may want to consider a visit to Colonial Williamsburg and/or Jamestown and Yorktown while visiting the area. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and the Manassas National Battlefield Park are important components to any study of the Civil War. Manassas is the Virginia town where The Battle of Bull Run was fought. One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Fredericksburg, was fought there and was considered a great victory for General Robert E. Lee. Chatham Manor is located at Fredericksburg and was at one time a hospital and Union headquarters. Three other battles fought between 1862-64 include: Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Wilderness, and Battle of Spotsylvania.

Petersburg: the Siege Ending the Civil War
The historic battle where General Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant’s armies faced off for the final battle of the Civil War was the Siege of Petersburg, a strategic supply point for the Confederate Army. During this battle, which lasted nearly a year, Confederate troops dug in while the Union army seized railroad supply lines surrounding Petersburg with the ultimate goal of taking Richmond. Grant’s army was successful at routing Lee and his army from Petersburg, and this decisive battle helped to end the Civil War in 1865. Teachers may easily prepare a curriculum for the student trip by consulting the website at http://www.nps.gov/pete/forteachers/index.htm.

Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier
Pamplin was the place near Richmond where the decisive Breakthrough Battle occurred April 2, 1865. After the Confederate Army suffered a loss at Pamplin, Richmond was evacuated. Pamplin encompasses 422 acres. Student groups will be engaged in interactive living history programs, and have access to four different museums at this location. Student groups may visit four antebellum homes and shopping facilities.

Richmond: Confederate Capital
As the site of the White House of the Confederacy and the present day Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond is a must see on a Civil War tour of Virginia. Richmond is significant because the siege of Richmond signified the war’s end. There were also numerous battles fought there from the beginning of the Civil War in 1862, mostly in the farm and plantation land surrounding the city. Richmond National Battlefield Park spans 1900 acres and is divided into 13 units. Numerous battles were fought throughout the war in the Richmond area. Richmond’s inhabitants saw a steady stream of wounded and were subject to rationing on a regular basis. Learn about the lives of United States Coloured Troops (USCT) who fought for the Union at the Battle of New Market and were one of the first regiments to reach Richmond. Tour the battlefield by bus and stop at some of the earthworks to view them up close. Teachers may prepare an advance lesson plan by visiting: http://www.nps.gov/rich/forteachers/curriculum-based-programs.htm.

Appomattox Courthouse: Where the Civil War Ended

Grant and Lee at Appomattox Courthouse signed the final treaty sanctioning the end of the Civil War. On April 9, 1865 Lee requested a private meeting with Grant. They convened at the McLean residence in Appomattox Courthouse, where they conversed like gentlemen for 25 minutes before Lee mentioned a surrender of his troops. Grant put his terms in writing and Lee reviewed them there. Lee requested his men be allowed to keep their horses, since in the Confederate Army the men owned them. He also mentioned his troops were hungry. As an act of good will, Grant dispatched 25,000 rations that day. The war between the states ended quite calmly in this historic town in Virginia. A visit to Appomattox Courthouse is an excellent educational experience for any group. Learning materials for curriculum development are available at http://www.nps.gov/apco/forteachers/curriculummaterials.htm.

It is obvious that Virginia is a pivotal state in the study of the Civil War. Consider a statewide tour focused on the subject of the Civil War completely, or develop a combination tour with a visit to Washington D.C. or Williamsburg for even greater coverage of American history. Whatever the itinerary or learning objective for a student group, a visit to historic Civil War sites in Virginia can be integrated into just about any type of educational tour.

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.

Performance Tour Venues in Washington D.C.

For band directors, music teachers, and those involved with education and musical performance groups, Washington D.C. is a great choice for a performance tour. The city offers a rich array of public performance venues open to student groups. In order to book a successful student performance tour, make sure to partner with a qualified educational travel consultant with experience in booking student travel groups with a performance emphasis. The selected travel company should already have organized and executed performance tours for large groups at major destinations and have qualified staff that specializes in working with musicians.
Select an Educational Travel Company With Experience in Performance Tours
Student performance groups have special requirements when traveling that must be accommodated in order for a tour to run smoothly. For example, many musicians will need to bring their instruments and they must be secure during travel between locations and on the airplane. For the best possible outcome on performance tour, travel with experienced tour guides and bus drivers used to working with performance groups. Some locations in Washington D.C. will not allow chairs, or electricity or sound systems. And, due to security regulations in Washington D.C., bus drivers must know where to park or drop off. Experienced tour personnel are essential.
Choose a Washington D.C. Performance Venue
Scheduling a performance at one of the main venues in Washington D.C. is no easy task, and requires at least three months advance notice. If possible, make sure to give at least 6 months to one year advance notice prior to a performance tour so that a music group or high school band or orchestra can be assured they will perform at their chosen venue.
Here is a short list of possible performance spaces in Washington D.C. that offers great exposure for a musical group: White House Ellipse, U.S Capitol (Upper Senate Park and West Front on Weekends), The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. There are two additional venues with special requirements: Old Post Office Pavilion (under 40 performers) and the U.S. Naval Memorial (for bands only).
Planning the Program for the Performance Tour
For the student travel organizer with so many different staging areas to choose from — it may seem overwhelming. Once the logistics are planned and the location selected a public performance in downtown Washington D.C. becomes a reality and students get excited. Groups will need to prepare and rehearse a program that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, depending upon the location chosen.
Suggested Activities for Performance Tours
Performance tours to Washington D.C. also include other fun activities, and may last 3 to 4 days or longer, depending upon the group. Choose from a variety of exciting destinations such as the Kennedy Center to see professionals perform. Or, take a student group to visit the Crime and Punishment Museum that just opened. It features the America’s Most Wanted Studio on the second Floor. Complement these student tour activities with a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner one evening for a glimpse of rock-n-roll history — always a popular choice among student groups but even more popular with a high school band, orchestra, or ensemble. Round out the student trip with some of the most popular destinations in Washington D.C. such as the White House and Capitol or portions of the Smithsonian Museum to complete the educational tour experience.
With so many different destinations to choose from in the Washington D.C. area, it is easy to create a performance tour that is fun, interesting, and educational and includes a chance for the group to perform at a desirable venue.

To book a performance tour to Washington D.C. fill out this short questionnaire, or contact an Educational Travel consultant.

Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta Georgia: A Visit to Georgia Aquarium for Student Travel Groups

Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta is a hub of educational and historical information for student travel groups. It was originally built for the 1996 Centennial Olympics. After the Olympics the park was closed and redesigned for public use. It reopened in 1998. Student travel groups will want to take a walking tour of Centennial Olympic Park. A lush Great Lawn in the center of the park is surrounded by commemorative quilts from the Olympic bombings, the Quilt of Nations, and The Fountain of Rings. If time allows, student groups will also want to visit one of the attractions surrounding it. The Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, or CNN Center will be of interest to student travel groups.
The challenge for an educator is to decide which destination is most desirable and educational. The choice will depend upon the student travel group and the curriculum they’re following. With proper scheduling, groups may be able to visit all three. Or, if a custom itinerary requires only one of these venues, a tour of Centennial Olympic Park along with a trip to the Georgia Aquarium may be the best choice.
Some Background on the Georgia Aquarium
In this blog, I will give more details about the Georgia Aquarium. In future blogs I will highlight the World of Coke and CNN Center Tour. Georgia Aquarium is a great choice for an educational group because a visit here engages students by providing a glimpse into marine life. Students who do not live anywhere near a body of water such as an ocean or a bay will gain a great deal from the visit because they can witness aquatic life up close and personal. The Georgia Aquarium is the world’s largest and most engaging aquarium.
Lesson Plans for Teachers and Aquatic Fact Sheets
Georgia Aquarium has excellent educational programs in place for student travel groups. The organization supplies teachers with Aquatic Fact Sheets that give an overview of information about the Georgia Aquarium and the exhibits. Lesson Plans are also available for grades K-12.
Learning Loop Educational Experience
This student tour is designed to help students to understand aquatic systems and their make-up. An environmental educator, on staff with the Georgia Aquarium, provides students with a tour that describes the exhibits and the animal husbandry and the roles they play in tending the marine life. In order to replicate actual aquatic ecosystems, a great deal of work goes into exhibits for the upkeep of marine life. The Learning Loop Educational Experience is a great way to help students appreciate this work, and understand its importance in the science of marine biology.
Aqua Adventure
For teachers who wish to be the guide on their student tour of the Georgia Aquarium, Aqua Adventures may be the tour to select. An educator may download a teacher guide for the appropriate grade level in advance of the tour. Then the educator takes students on a tour through the main aquarium. There are plenty of interactive activities on Aqua Adventures, as well as age appropriate questions for students to answer. For a small additional fee per student, groups have the option of adding the Titantic Aquatic program (through May 2009). Actual artifacts from the wreck of the Titantic as well as narratives of survivors are incorporated into this exhibit.
Centennial Olympic Park is filled with an assortment of excellent choices in destinations for student travel groups. This overview of the Georgia Aquarium highlights educational aspects and is by no means a complete picture of what it has to offer the public. Visit Georgia Aquarium’s website for more information. If you would like to plan a student travel trip to Atlanta, please fill out a brief questionnaire about your group or contact an ETC student travel specialist at info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

A Sample Itinerary for Student Travel to Atlanta Georgia-Only $369 Per Student

As part of ETC’s November specials, we’re offering a special price on student travel to Atlanta for a three-day trip. Complete costs for student trips to Atlanta begin at $369 per student. There are numerous ways to tour Atlanta, but one of the most popular ways to take in the city??s historical highlights is to study the places where Martin Luther King Jr. lived, worked and died. King made a huge impact in Atlanta. There are other exciting things for student groups to do in Atlanta, such as visit CNN studios, tour the Atlanta Zoo, see the Atlanta Aquarium, or visit Six Flags Over Georgia.

If it’s possible for the student group itinerary to include an extension of the 3-day trip, many types of activities, including visits to sites just outside of Atlanta, may also be added. Just ask a professional student travel consultant at ETC and we??ll be happy to assist in creating a custom itinerary for a group.

What’s Included in the $369 Student Trip to Atlanta?
Educational Travel Consultants provides a tour escort for the $369 per student price. This price also includes deluxe motor coach from a school group??s hometown, two totally free teacher/chaperones, hotels, admission and entrance fees, two breakfasts and two dinners, coverage under ETC’s Liability Insurance Policy, taxes and tips. The hotels where ETC student groups stay are just outside of the city, with private hallways and 24-hour security.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Atlanta
Atlanta is a fantastic city to discover history and learn about the civil rights movement. For educational groups, a visit to Atlanta needs to include a trip to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Here students will see the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., the church where he worshipped and served, and his grave. Obviously, Atlanta meant a great deal to Martin Luther King, Jr. A student trip to these sites will bring MLK’s character and struggles for social justice in alignment with historical facts they may learn in class about the civil rights movement.

Tour CNN Studios in Atlanta

Many students are aware that CNN??s headquarters are in Atlanta. Student travel groups can visit the studio and take a tour. They will learn about day-to-day operations of the network and technical information about CNN. Student groups will also see a demonstration about weather broadcasts.

Zoo Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium, and the Atlanta Braves
Get set for a day of excitement when student groups tour Zoo Atlanta. There are several different exhibits, such as the Ford African Rain Forest, Flamingo Plaza, Masai Mara (a replica of East African Plains) and the Ketambe Exhibit, where the rare Sumatran Tigers are housed. Student groups may also plan a part of a day to visit the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest aquarium. As an optional activity, student groups may see an Atlanta Braves game in the evening. For students that have no major league baseball teams near their home, a Brave??s game is an unforgettable experience.


Student Travel Tours: Dining in Atlanta

At ETC we strive to offer complementary activities on student trips that excite and engage students. Student travelers love the Hard Rock Cafe, so it’s the restaurant of choice in many cities, not just Atlanta. Another student favorite in Atlanta is the Picadilly Cafeteria, or a similar style restaurant.

Amusement Parks in and Near Atlanta
Stone Mountain Theme Park and Six Flags Over Georgia are the two main choices for student entertainment on the Atlanta trip. In addition to rides and shows, Stone Mountain has a Laser and Fireworks Show that begins in mid-April and extends through the summer. Six Flags near any destination is a familiar and popular choice for any student group.

The $369 per student price for Atlanta includes admission to both amusement parks. A visit to a theme park is a good way to balance learning activities with fun and relaxation. This overview of the $369 special Atlanta tour is a great deal and will last through the end of 2008. So, don’t delay — book your student group today for a spring trip. Contact an educational travel professional at info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or call 800-247-7969.

In Search of the Ultimate NYC Cheesecake

by Howard Clemens

Student travel groups headed to Broadway in NYC’s theater district do not want to miss the opportunity to sample some of New York City’s finest cheesecake after dinner. The cheesecake slices are so gigantic, that it is virtually impossible for one person to consume an entire slice in one sitting. Many students simply save their huge piece of cheesecake for a snack after the theater or eat it slowly over the course of a day or so. A slice of cheesecake is a surefire way to get the real New York City experience, when it comes to food.
Larger Cheesecake Portions in New York City
I’ve noticed over the years that portions of food served in New York are larger than other destinations– much larger. When Educational Travel Consultants conducts student tours of New York City, we always recommend a true, New York City delicatessen experience. For the ultimate cheesecake, I have a few recommendations that seem to please student travel groups immensely. These famous New York City delis are conveniently located right in Midtown Manhattan, in the heart of the theater district.
The Stage Deli: The Classic New York City Cheesecake Experience
The Stage Deli is not only famous for its one pound corned beef sandwich — but also some of the best cheesecake in Manhattan. The price is around $8. Expect the slices to be immense. This piece of cheesecake is really more like ¼ of an entire cake. Students have lots of comments about the Stage Deli cheesecake. “Monstrous mammoth size helpings,” is one comment. “I couldn’t eat it all,” is another common refrain.
The Blackout Cake as an Alternative to Cheesecake
If students are not particularly fond of cheesecake, they may opt for another popular favorite, the Blackout cake. This cake is made of rich chocolate. Pieces are huge, and similar in size to the cheesecake. Like the name implies, there could be some danger of ‘chocolate blackout’ — so proceed with caution. Finding a friend to share a slice of Blackout cake is one solution.
Try Carnegie Deli for a Wide Selection of Cheesecakes
Carnegie Deli is another famous place for New York City cheesecake. Slices of cheesecake here are just as enormous as The Stage Deli. The Carnegie Deli has the widest selection of types of cheesecake available. Visitors can choose pudding, strawberry, blueberry, Oreo cheesecake and more. The wide selection of cheesecakes is part of the appeal of Carnegie Deli that rivals the old Howard Johnson’s in their ice cream selections.
Other Great NYC Delis Where Cheesecake can be found
There are other great delis in New York City that serve some amazing cheesecake and they should not be overlooked. Lindy’s Deli and Junior’s Deli are just as excellent and if they are nearby the theater where the student travel group is due to see a show, these establishments should be considered. I don’t have time to review all of the great cheesecake places in New York City on this blog, but rest assured there are many. I decided to highlight some of my personal favorites that I have enjoyed over the years.
For student travel groups that are on their way to the Big Apple as their destination, don’t forget to include cheesecake and the New York deli experience on the itinerary. The deli dinner works best with a visit to Broadway, but it’s not necessary to include a visit to the theater if there is not sufficient time. Some advice for students that may be unused to the huge portions of food provided in New York: go on a diet before taking the trip. For more information about a travel itinerary for a student group destined for New York City, fill out a brief questionnaire and an educational travel professional will contact you.