Tag Archives: educational tour washington d.c.

Washington, DC Illuminated Tour

A trip with your students to the Washington DC area is an adventure they will never forget. The best part of our Washington DC tour is when the sun sets and the entire city is quiet. The illuminated tour of the memorials and monuments makes the rich history of Washington DC seem more personal. The tour starts with the tribute to the soldiers of the Vietnam War. The Memorial Wall is etched with 58,318 names.  There are 1,200 names that are listed as missing (MIA) from the War never to be heard from again. Another dedication to the Vietnam memorial is the bronze statue of The Three Servicemen which depicts the three troops mourning the deaths of their fellow comrades. The third memorial to the Vietnam War is the Women’s Memorial which shows three nurses aiding a fellow solider and the dedication in their service.

Just past the Vietnam Memorial is the Lincoln Memorial which honors the 16th President of the United States. President Lincoln laid the foundation towards ending  slavery in the Southern states plus restoring the economy and revamping our government. Walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, reminds you of the famous speech “I Have a Dream” given by the courageous and fearless leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. one hundred years later. Overlooking the Lincoln Memorial is the Reflecting Pool which has been filmed in several movies where you can relive the scene from the movie “Forest Gump” when Jenny runs in the reflecting pool towards Forest or from “Planet of the Apes” when Captain Leo lands his plane in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

From the Lincoln Memorial, you will then find yourself surrounded by the statues of troops from the Korean War depicting the war when North Korea invaded South Korea with the United States came to the aid of South Korea. Sounds eerily familiar to current events. Doesn’t it? The 19 stainless steel statues depict all the branches of the United States military forces which include the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. The mural wall adjacent to the statues, is made from granite and portrays the photographs that were captured during the Korean War.

The next stop on the tour is the memorial dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. who was the leader of the Civil Rights movement. He was the voice for the African American community which endured racial discrimination and segregation.  Mr. King based his principles of non-violent resistance from Gandhi who was known for his idea of winning “hate with love”.  Mr. King continued the work of equality which was started by Abraham Lincoln in giving his famous  speech “I Have a Dream” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on October 16, 1963. The Stone of Hope at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial is a portrait of Mr. King carved into a granite statue. Surrounding his statue, is fourteen quotes from either King’s speeches, sermons or writings. Reading each quote displayed on the wall, you can feel the pain and hardship for equal rights during that time period which is  still ongoing today.

After the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, you continue on to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in honor of our 32nd President. Roosevelt was rated as one of the top US presidents of all time as he guided the government during the Great Depression. He also aided Britain and China against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, he then declared war on Japan and Nazi Germany. He united our country in this dark era.  He spearheaded the Social Security Act which provided monetary security for the elderly still in existence today. The Roosevelt Memorial consists of a variety of sculptures to depict his life. There is a statue of Roosevelt along with his dog “Fala”,  and another of the first lady Mrs. Roosevelt,  honoring her dedication to the United Nations, and another statue of people standing in line for bread to portray the Great Depression. The designers of the Roosevelt Memorial made sure it was accessible to the disabled as President Roosevelt lost his legs due to polio during his childhood.

Then it’s a short drive to the next memorial which honors the fallen soldiers of World War II. The World War II Memorial is located between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.  The Memorial is a tribute to the over 400,000 American soldiers who sacrificed their lives during this War. At the center of the memorial is an oval shaped fountain surrounded by 56 pillars representing, at that time, the nation’s 48 states, 7 federal territories and the District of Columbia. The northern entrance arch is engraved with “Atlantic” symbolizing the war against Nazi Germany while the southern entrance arch is engraves with “Pacific” symbolling the war against Japan. The Freedom Wall embellishes 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war.

The tallest monument in the district is the  Washington Monument which honors our 1st President of the United States, George Washington. Before becoming President, Washington’s leadership secured American independence during the Revolution against Great Britain. His great leadership skills is the reason why he was so popular and elected president. President Washington helped forge the foundation of our nation.  He was  actively involved with the setup of our federal government that is in use more than 230 years later.  Things such as the cabinet system, the inaugural address,  plus the term Mr. President. He was also the first to sign the Constitution in 1789. George Washington will always be known as the “father of our country” as he helped the pathway for our country to follow.

The illuminated tour will open up your students eyes and bring history alive to them!

Student Trip to Baltimore to Celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812

Many students of American history read about the War of 1812 as part of their studies of Nineteenth Century history.  This naval war impacted the burgeoning United States and the port cities along the East Coast, as well as cities inland, along major waterways.

This year, Baltimore, Maryland is the focus of the national launch of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 with the Star-Spangled Sailabration from June 13-19, 2012.  This kickoff celebration begins in Baltimore Harbor where visitors can see a spectacular display of U.S., British and Canadian naval vessels and tall ships from around the world. Audiences will also see an air show featuring the Blue Angels.

Teachers and trip leaders are encouraged to combine a visit to Washington D.C. with a visit to Baltimore to experience the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.   Even if the student group is not available to travel from June 13-19, they may still experience part of the Bicentennial celebration. Baltimore and other cities throughout the U.S and Canada affected by the War of 1812 will continue to stage events dedicated to the remembrance of the War of 1812 through 2014.

Following is a brief outline of the six major sites in Baltimore and Washington D.C. that reinforce studies of the War of 1812. In addition to Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington D.C. other states participating in this event are:  Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Student travel groups destined for any of these locations can also tie their trip into War of 1812 sites in these locations.

Baltimore, Maryland, War of 1812 Sites of Interest

Fort McHenry
Many Americans and representatives felt an attack on Baltimore was imminent after a declaration of war against the British. So, Fort McHenry was prepared with fortifications and soldiers to defend the city against the British. This site is well-preserved and maintained by the National Park Service.  Fort McHenry is known as the star fort, because it was constructed in the shape of a five-pointed star.  The fort was attacked by British cannon fire and survived the battle.

The Star Spangled Banner Flag House
Students will want to tour the house where Mary Pickersgill sewed the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the battle of 1814, when the Fort was under assault by the British.  Pickersgill lived here with her daughter Caroline and her mother, Rebecca Young, who started the flag-making business during the Revolutionary War period in Philadelphia.  Student groups can tour the home that is decorated with 19th century furniture and fixtures.  Frequent living history presentations are also staged here, so students may encounter Mary Pickersgill, Rebecca Young or Grace Wisher, the African-American apprentice who lived and worked there.  These living history actresses will narrate their story in the first person to help make the process of creating the flag come alive.

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
Students can see a special exhibition for the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 here:  “Farmers, Patriots and Traitors:  Southern Maryland and the War of 1812.”  At the time of the War of 1812, the U.S. had no organized naval fleet. So, in June of 1814, Commodore Joshua Barney pulled together a fleet of eighteen gun boats, barges and sloops to take on the British Navy. This unofficial fleet of ships engaged in battle with the British Navy twice in June of 1814. The battles took place at the intersection of the Patuxent River and St. Leonard Creek, near the shores of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum.  They are known as the largest naval engagement in the history of Maryland, and helped turned the tides of the War of 1812 in favor of the U.S.

Washington, D.C. War of 1812 Sites of Interest

Smithsonian Museum
Students can see the actual flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem in the The Star- Spangled Banner exhibition at the National Museum of American History.  The flag is 200 years old and measures 30 x 34 feet. It is housed in an environmentally controlled chamber to preserve it and visitors can interact with the artifact through a tactile image.

White House
Student groups may visit the White House as part of their scheduled tour.   James Madison was President of the United States when he asked Congress to declare war on June 1, 1812. Teachers can prepare classes for this study by taking an in-depth look at Madison’s presidency, and his reasons for going to war, prior to the trip.

In addition to these War of 1812 sites, student groups can learn more about other historical  periods by visiting the Baltimore and/or Washington D.C. area. Popular destinations include the U.S. Capitol Building, the monuments tour, Mount Vernon and more. Check the events schedule on The Official war of 1812 Bicentennial Website to see if a student trip schedule will coincide with other public events.

To request a quote for a class trip to Baltimore and Washington D.C. visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Take Student Travel Groups on a Science Trip to Washington D.C.

Student travel group leaders and teachers often take school groups to Washington D.C. on history and government tours. Our nation’s capitol has a rich history, and the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are centrally located there. This makes the trip to Washington D.C. perfect for the study of history and government.

Yet Washington D.C. is also an ideal location for student trips which focus on science based learning. There are numerous points of interest in the Washington D.C. area that complement the study of science including: Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian American & Natural History Museum, NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center, Maryland Science Center, Baltimore National Aquarium, Marian Koshland Science Museum, and the National Zoo. In addition to scheduling visits to these locations on the itinerary, student tour groups can also allow time to visit the U.S. Capitol/Supreme Court, take an illuminated tour of Memorials and Monuments, and see the U.S.S. Barry — all in a three or four day tour.

This article will provide a brief overview of major points of interest for a science tour of Washington D.C.

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum & Smithsonian American Natural History Museum
These two museums are a great starting point for an educational science trip.
U.S. explorations of space and innovations in flight are well-documented and preserved in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Students can participate in guided tours, or educational programs that are appropriate for specific grade levels. A visit to the Air and Space Museum will provide interactive learning about airplanes, outer space explorations and pivotal moments in U.S. history when American scientists and programs led the world in discoveries in flight and space missions.

The American Natural History Museum provides guided and self-guided tours and educational programs related to the history of the earth: fossils, stones, animals, pre-historic wildlife and remains, oceanic environments, and more. Student tour groups can visit permanent or special exhibits related to their curricular studies and teachers can focus the visit on exhibits which complement actual classroom learning experiences in the natural sciences. A visit to these two Smithsonian Museums provides an excellent opportunity for learning about science.

NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center
At the NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center, student tour groups gain a deeper level of insight into contemporary space exploration. The group can view photographs taken from the Hubble Space Telescope with pictures of planets, galaxies, black holes and views of earth taken from outer space. Students may view movies of earth and outer space in the Science on a Sphere projection room, where film is projected onto a spherical screen. Student groups will also learn about information gathered from satellites and other vehicles designed to explore deep space, through photographs of phenomenon on earth, the sun, and planets. Student education is enhanced through the lens of high tech devices, utilized by the NASA scientists to further our knowledge about the universe.

Maryland Science Center & Baltimore National Aquarium
Located in Baltimore, MD, just an hour outside of Washington D.C., are two premiere attractions for the science student: Maryland Science Center and the Baltimore National Aquarium. The Maryland Science Center has a rooftop observatory as well as nightly Sky and Stars SkiCasts to help the astronomy student interpret the activities of stars, planets, and other celestial bodies and occurrences. Students can watch live chemical and scientific experiments on the Demo stage, see science films projected onto a sphere, or ride on Segways when they tour the Maryland Science Center.

At the Baltimore National Aquarium, students will be especially pleased by the new exhibit, “A Dolphin’s World” an extraordinary Dolphin Show that teaches students about the ocean planet, and the way human behavior in and near the Chesapeake Bay watershed affects the dolphins’ environment on a daily basis. The Baltimore National Aquarium also has a 4-D Immersion Theater with daily shows as well as 16,500 animals on exhibit. It’s no wonder the Baltimore National Aquarium is internationally known and recognized as one of the finest aquariums in the United States. The opportunity to visit the Baltimore National Aquarium will complement any classroom studies on oceanography and life beneath the sea.

Marian Koshland Science Museum
The National Academy of Sciences Marian Koshland Science Museum in Washington D.C. features interactive exhibits that teach visitors about the immediate impact science has on our daily lives. Here students will learn about the importance of safe drinking water, infectious diseases, DNA, and some of the wonders of science. The exhibits are ongoing and will change from time to time. Teachers are advised to check the Museum website to coordinate curricular plans with current exhibits.

National Zoo
The National Zoo is a spectacular showcase for animals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians from a variety of eco-systems around the world. There are numerous exhibits, many with a geographical focus such as on North America, Asia, the Amazon and Africa; exhibits that concentrate on species are: Great Cats, Giant Pandas, Birds, and Asian Elephants. Teachers can access the National Zoo website well in advance of the trip to develop lesson plans that are in sync with the visit. The curriculum guides are grade specific and available for free download, with core materials included for classroom learning, making it easy for teachers to prepare students for the trip to the National Zoo.

Teachers looking to organize a science trip will find a wealth of opportunity for quality educational experiences in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Some of the finest science museums in the world are located in the capitol city. For more information about a science based student trip and itinerary email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for details on scheduling or pricing. Or, Request a Quote, by taking a few minutes to fill out this brief, online questionnaire.

Tips for ‘Pitching’ Class Trips to Administrators

by Howard Clemens

Educators are already bogged down with many responsibilities both inside and outside the classroom. Some are in need of assistance to help plan and execute student trips. Working in the student travel industry for over 25 years, I have several ideas on how to make student trips more enticing to administrators. There are talking points for approaching the administration or even the school board about taking students on an educational trip.

I am the owner of a student travel company, Educational Travel Consultants. I have assisted many teachers in planning and executing class trips to Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando, and other U.S. destinations.

These days, class trips can be organized around science themes, performance trips, art tours, theater tours, eco-trips, and more. Taking a multi-subject approach to travel as a tool for educational enrichment means there are more possibilities for students to engage in active learning on a variety of topics.

Many teachers are required to validate student travel objectives to administrators or others. I would like to guide teachers in how to be successful at this challenge.

This article gives some tips on how to make the best approach to administrators and gain approval for a class trip to a desired destination.

1. Teachers Need to Make a Direct Connection between the Curriculum and the Student Trip. Teachers in subject areas outside of U.S. History can engage student learning with trips. The obvious choice for a trip to Washington D.C. is to tie it into an American History or Government class. But this is only one way of ‘pitching’ a trip to Washington D.C. A trip to Washington D.C. could be focused on science, be a band trip tied to a performance, include theater or provide a tour of art venues in town. My company is always ready to provide appropriate tour suggestions for any of these areas of study. Or we can book a standard class trip to Washington with a tour of the White House, Capitol, and downtown area.

2. Define the funding source clearly. Fundraising is an important issue and must be addressed in a meeting with administrators. Here is a brief list of some effective fundraising ideas that students can participate in that I recommend frequently: citrus fruit sales, selling roses and carnations on Valentine’s Day, sponsoring a car wash, selling scratch off cards, or selling CDs or DVDs. The teacher may want to do some preliminary research on or offline to confirm some of these fundraising methods and look at profit margins on products to set realistic fundraising goals for the class trip. Parents can also be asked to pay for a certain portion of the trip.

3. Present a Trip Budget: Break costs down by student and also add any other additional costs for the student trip that may be needed. A student travel consultant can assist with this. Present a comprehensive budget with an estimation of the number of people traveling on the trip.

4. Outline Financial Benefits. Teachers and chaperones are usually given complimentary trips by student travel companies. This eliminates costs for most adults to travel. This is one large benefit that is important, especially during tight budget years for the school.

5. Discuss Educational Benefits. What are the educational benefits of this trip? Will students come away with a firsthand knowledge of the way in which democracy works after visiting the Capitol and the White House? Have they benefited from visiting the estates of some of the founding fathers in Virginia, or seen the early canal system that used to move people and goods in the U.S? Indicate how students will be academically prepped before the trip. Give students a way to process the trip by building writing assignments into post travel curriculums.

6. Safety: Research and confirm that students, teachers and chaperones are insured on the trip, to alleviate liability to the school should anything occur. Select a well- established travel company that specializes in student travel and guarantees trip insurance. ETC carries a $2 million dollar liability insurance policy for all student trips. Another way to ensure safety includes something my company has done for ages. Our tour consultants book ONLY hotels with interior hallways and locked doors.

7. Chaperones: List the parents who will be accompanying students on this trip. Indicate the chaperone to student ratio.

These are just a few ideas that will guide an educator in preparing the foundation for an excellent educational experience that includes active learning: a class trip. Even during times of economic challenge educational travel should still be planned and executed, because it makes learning fun and is a desirable addition to any curriculum.

Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote for a student trip by filling out a brief online form today.

Educational Travel Consultants Offers a Special Price of $299 per Student (with transportation) for Travel to Washington D.C.

Educational Travel Consultants is in touch with the times. Most Americans are facing economic challenges and the company wants to assist our valued partners and new school groups to continue to travel for educational purposes. We believe student trips can still travel well and learn a great deal, while keeping a close eye on budget and making the right decisions when planning the trip to Washington D.C.

As part of our early bird specials this summer, Educational Travel Consultants is offering a price as low as $299 per student for group travel to Washington D.C.

This Washington D.C. student trip includes the following:

– A Tour Escort/Licensed Washington D.C. Tour Guide
– Deluxe Motor coach from a School Group’s Hometown
– Two Totally Free Teachers or Chaperones for every 20 students on tour (double occupancy)
– Hotels
– Admission and Entrance Fees
– Two Breakfasts and Two Dinners
– Coverage Under Educational Travel Consultants Liability Insurance Policy
– Taxes and Tips

Many student travel companies quote low prices and add hidden costs. This is not how Educational Travel Consultants does business. We are clear about our pricing, and what is included in the student trip from the outset. If student travel group coordinators, chaperones, teachers or administrators wish to add extra items to the itinerary, then they deserve a clear and concise answer about additional costs up front. The professional staff at Educational Travel Consultants delivers this information to clients upon request for additional itinerary items.

Educational Travel consultants has been escorting student trips to Washington D.C. for nearly 25 years. Thanks to our experience in this market, we know which educational experiences student trips tend to want when they visit the city, and which destinations they derive the most learning from.

An Educational Travel Consultants’ trip to Washington D.C. includes attractions such as the US Supreme Court, US Capitol, Smithsonian Museums, Arlington Cemetery, an illuminated tour of Washington D.C’s Memorials and Monuments plus other attractions as time permits.

For groups that are interested in more specific tours such as an Art Tour, Black History Tour, or Performance Tour of Washington D.C., an Educational Travel Consultant professional will assist in creating the perfect itinerary. These focused trips provide a wonderful learning experience to students who are studying art or African American history, or student in the high school band, orchestra, theater, or ensembles that wish to have a public performance or adjudicated music festival wound into their trip. Some of these specialty tours that Educational Travel Consultants custom designed are also priced staring at $299 per student.

For anyone planning a student trip to Washington D.C., please heed this advice: plan early! With post 911 security regulations in place at highly visited areas such as the White House and Capitol, it is imperative that reservations are made a minimum of six months to one year in advance. Read up on special requirements for booking a large group at these sites, on the Educational Travel Consultants blog.

For more information about booking a student trip to Washington D.C. email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote.

Planning an Exciting Band Trip: Educational Student Tours Near Washington DC

In today’s modern world planning student trips everyone will enjoy can be a daunting task. Planning a trip for the high school or junior high band can add even more complexity. Band trips can be designed to have something for everyone. If a student group plans to attend one of Washington D.C.’s most popular festivals, the trip can be designed to suit music and art students. Here are a few suggestions for your next student band trip.

A Band Trip to Washington D.C.: The Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

In 1912 Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington D.C. in honor of the relationship between the United States and Japan. In 1915 the United States returned the sentiment with a gift of flowering dogwoods for the people of Japan. By 1935 the first Cherry Blossom Festival was held and the tradition has continued ever since. Currently over one million people visit Washington DC each year to see the cherry trees in full glory and to enjoy different festival events, which include the annual Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is one of the highlights of the festival each year. Huge parade balloons, musical performers, celebrities, marching bands and more fill Constitution Avenue while TV stations broadcast the parade live. The parade features a wide variety music including:

1. Singers like American Idol finalist (2nd season) Kimberly Locke, Grammy winner Thelma Houston, Disney Radio star Joey Page and Miss America 2009 Katie Stam.
2. Student Performers come from far and wide to play at the festival. Students from the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Philadelphia, the All-Star Tap Team and Youth Choir and marching bands from as far as Elko High School in Nevada make it to the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.
3. Broadway performances by the cast of Chicago and songs from Mamma Mia! have also been part of the festival and the Broadway tradition will likely continue.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the perfect destination for a high school band trip to Washington DC, whether students want to watch on the sidelines or participate in the parade fun. To plan an extra special band trip consider attending the 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival, the centennial anniversary of Japan’s beautiful gift to the nation’s capital. Always plan at least a year or more in advance to schedule band performances in the parade. Be certain to work with a qualified student travel professional that has experience in putting together band trips.

Make Sure to Wear Green on Your Student Trip to the Washington D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Another great plan for a high school band trip is to attend or participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Washington, DC. Started in 1971, the annual St. Pat’s parade is a community endeavor supported by the Irish American Club and city officials. Each year a noteworthy person is chosen as the parade Grand Marshall. A parade theme is announced and the honored title of Gael of the Year is bestowed on a deserving member of the community.

Invitations are sent to marching bands, performers, organizations, floats and groups the parade committee feels are appropriate for the parade celebration. Student band trip itineraries can be created to secure great seating to watch the parade or groups can schedule time to perform in the parade. To learn more about receiving an invitation for your band visit the parade web site at www.dcstpatsparade.com.

A Band Trip to Virginia Students Will Love: The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Each year more than 250,000 visitors descend upon the small town of Winchester, Virginia to enjoy a week of fun activities that comprise the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. For student trips headed to Washington D.C. the Apple Blossom Festival is a great addition. Since 1924, the annual festival has grown to include parades, dances, band competitions, floats, a 10K run, music, a carnival, a circus, sporting, events, car shows, craft shows, delicious food and the traditional Apple Blossom Pageant.

High school band trips, student musical tours and student performance trips to Washington D.C. can all be planned around the Apple Blossom Festival. Musically inclined students may enjoy seeing some famous faces. In the past the Apple Blossom Festival has been proud to host celebrities like Fantasia Barrino, Wayne Newton, Sea Astin, Dan Akyroyd, Katie Couric, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball who have served as grand marshals. In 2009 American Idol star Bucky Covington will headline the week’s concerts.

A must see event for band trips and student groups is the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah and the annual Pageant. The coronation ceremony is fashioned after the ceremonies of the British monarchy and the Pageant originally featured a performance by over 1,000 local school children. The annual Pageant has been held on the steps of Handley High School since 1925 and the traditional Royal Command Performance is presented by the Handley Singers.

If you are planning a band trip, student performance tour or a simple group excursion festivals can be an excellent plan whether you are in Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia or anywhere else in the United States. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote for a student travel company that can help manage all of the details, itineraries and events.

Student Trips: Take the Virginia Presidents’ Tour or Add a Day to Washington D.C. Itinerary

Did you know some of the most prominent presidents, all founding fathers, lived in Virginia? Virginia was the seat of the colonial government and the place where the final battle of the American Revolutionary War took place at Yorktown. It’s no wonder that educated men and landholders who founded the nation lived and prospered during their time in Virginia.

Consider taking a student travel group on a themed tour of the plantations and estates of Virginia presidents. The Virginia presidents’ tour is an exciting way to present Early American presidents to students in social studies or history classes. Engage them in an active learning experience at some of the sites, such as Mount Vernon, where costumed interpreters/actors present history in short narratives.

On this educational tour, students may visit the dwellings of the following presidents, who lived in Virginia: George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon; Thomas Jefferson’s estate where he resided until his death: Monticello near Charlottesville; James Madison’s estate home, in Montpelier between Richmond and Charlottesville; and James Monroe’s former home at Ash Lawn-Highland, known simply as Highland during his time, is adjacent to Monticello in Charlottesville.

Mount Vernon: Estate of George Washington
Mount Vernon is just 16 miles from Washington D.C. George Washington’s plantation sits on the banks of the Potomac River. Student travel groups may tour the main mansion and the outbuildings on the property. A four-acre working farm is part of the tour and includes living history presentations. Student trips interested in the “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets Tour” can learn about the filming of the movie at Mount Vernon and ways in which the basement was actually utilized during Washington’s time. If time allows, visit the The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the Ford Orientation Center to view some of the interactive exhibits.

Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Home
Student tour groups who travel to Monticello will come to understand one of the greatest figures in American history. Tour groups will see the mansion, designed (and redesigned) by Thomas Jefferson along with gardens and dependencies. Monticello is indeed a special place, where Jefferson’s legacy and his home and its contents are preserved and remembered. It is here that Thomas Jefferson’s epitaph reads “All my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello.” Jefferson wanted to be remembered as author of the Constitution, father of the University of Virginia, and author of the statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. Visit http://www.classroom.monticello.org for online educational materials to prepare for the student trip.

James Madison’s Mansion in Charlottesville
James Madison also resided near Charlottesville, at his mansion named Montpelier. Montepelier was recently restored. The plantation is 2,650 acres of gardens, grounds, walking trails and woods. Montepelier was built by James Madison, Sr. in 1764 and modified twice by James Madison Jr. to accommodate the numerous guests of state that would visit after he was elected President. In addition to James and Dolly Madison and their children, slaves and freedmen lived and worked at Montpelier until emancipation. Students will learn about the rich history of Montpelier, and view the growing collection of artifacts.

Learn About James Monroe’s Mansion in Charlottesville
Ash Lawn-Highland was James Monroe’s estate in Charlottesville and it is currently a museum as well as a 535-acre working farm, and a performing arts center. The Monroe estate is adjacent to Monticello. Jefferson was a lifelong friend of James Monroe. The Monroe family, which included his wife, Elizabeth, his son James Spence Monroe, and his daughter, Eliza lived at Highland estate for 24 years. James Monroe fought under George Washington at the Battle of Trenton and spent the cold winter at Valley Forge. He later distinguished himself as a diplomat to France, Britain, and Spain, and as the Secretary of State and Secretary of War for James Madison’s administration, during the War of 1812. Monroe was instrumental in negotiating a final treaty for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and is known for the Monroe Doctrine. Student groups who visit Ash Lawn-Highland will see that it is still being partially used as a residence. Monroe bequeathed his estate to his alma mater, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg whose alumni use it as a retreat even today.

A tour of Washington D.C. can be greatly enhanced with an itinerary that includes the homes of Virginia presidents. These intimate spaces illustrate what it might have been like to live in Early America during a time when democracy was at its formative stages. To request a quote on a student tour of Washington D.C. that includes a visit to the presidential homes in Virginia email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a quote.

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.

Evening Entertainment for Student Travel Groups on Tour in Washington D.C.

It’s easy to find fun and educational things to do with student groups in the evenings in Washington D.C. Student travel is enhanced by a careful selection of entertainment venues. My company, Educational Travel Consultants, extends the entertainment choices beyond the perimeters of Washington D.C. There are some great entertainment opportunities for student tour groups inside Washington D.C. and just an hour outside of Washington D.C.

Twilight Tattoo on the White House Ellipse
Student travelers are thrilled to spend an evening outdoors during the spring to enjoy the pageantry of a Twilight Tattoo on the White House Ellipse. Twilight Tatoos highlight the strong and enduring history of the U.S. Military with performance, pageantry, and display of arms. The Twilight Tattoo is a way to learn about the longstanding traditions of morale, leadership, and a community of caring. At the Tattoo, student travel groups can celebrate military tradition. It features The Old Guard, Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, and the ceremonial unit, a Fife and Drum Corps as well as a performance by the U.S. Army Drill Team; The U.S. Army Band Blues jazz ensemble, vocalists from The United States Army Chorus and The U.S. Army Chorale.

U.S. Naval Band Performance
Formed in 1925, the U.S. Naval Band makes its home in the “Sail Loft” of the historic Washington Navy Yard, the oldest naval establishment in the United States. Music has provided relaxation and camaraderie for enlisted men and officers in the U.S. Navy since post-revolutionary times and continues to inspire patriotism and respect for military tradition in student travel groups today. The U.S Naval Band are professional musicians and they are in Washington D.C. to perform around the holidays and special events of military significance. Plan a student travel tour in sync with a U.S. Naval Band performance in Washington D.C.

U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team
Housed in the historic marine barracks in Washington D.C., the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill team is hand picked from the marines for their ability to carry out gun drills without commands. This amazing demonstration is performed throughout the summer months at the intersection of 8th and I. Student travel groups particularly enjoy this display of unspoken communication, discipline and coordination. Once again, this evening activity allows student tour groups to spend some time outdoors during pleasant weather. For a deeper understanding of the tradition of the U.S. Marines and the Silent Drill team, students may prepare for their tour by visiting http://www.marines.com/page/usmc.jsp?pageId=/page/Detail-XML-Conversion.jsp?pageName=Silent-Drill&flashRedirect=true.

Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center
This student travel tour favorite is a play that has been running continuously since 1987. The audience participation ‘whodunit’ style production makes detectives out of everyone. This is a great active learning experience for the student traveler in Washington D.C. Held in the Theater Lab of Kennedy Center, the audience is surrounding the stage and can easily interact with actors in this theater in the round. Student tour groups look forward to the Shear Madness performance in Washington D.C. because it is contemporary, funny, engaging, and alive with possibilities. Shear Madness is also performed in Boston. When student tour groups attend a Shear Madness performance, they must solve the crime in collusion with the rest of the audience and the ending is always a surprise for all.

Broadway Style Musical Dinner Theater Shows
For the student travel tour that may not make it to Toronto or New York City – never fear, a taste of off Broadway is still here. Off Broadway professional dinner theaters such as Toby’s and Lazy Susan are located in or near the Washington D.C. metro area. Off Broadway dinner theater is the perfect venue for a student travel tour in search of some entertainment. Students may see some well known Broadway musicals such as “A Chorus Line,” “The Sound of Music”, “Lend Me a Tenor,” and many more famous musicals too numerous to list here.

Medieval Times Dinner Theater
Student tour groups love to visit Maryland’s Medieval Times Castle, just outside of Washington D.C. in Hanover, Maryland. Even though Maryland was still a wilderness during medieval times – it doesn’t matter. The Maryland Castle is inside the Arundel Mills Mall, and can seat 1,000 people. Student tour groups interested in the full medieval experience – including live jousting tournaments on horses plus a great dinner feast — will be excited by a visit to the castle and the surrounding mall. Student travel groups are thrilled to participate in this active learning experience where Medieval times come alive, in great splendor.

Exciting evening activities abound for the student travel group visiting the Washington D.C. area. Many evening activities are found in the greater metro area surrounding Washington D.C., and some are in downtown Washington D.C. Whatever your choice of student travel entertainment while in the D.C. area, make sure it complements the main trip theme, and contains an educational component that ties in with the curriculum.

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