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Components of a Successful Student Trip to Washington D.C. from a Teacher’s Perspective

Over the past 25 years I have worked with many K-12 teachers to organize student trips to Washington D.C. This spring I received a thank you letter from Shawn Tierney, a teacher at Santa Rita High School in Tucson, Arizona, detailing specific aspects of a trip to Washington D.C. that made it a “resounding success.”

I was happy to receive this detailed letter from Mr. Tierney. Parts of his commentary are included in this article. Tierney reflects upon the important aspects of student travel that help teachers and student tour companies to create a safe, rewarding educational experience for all involved.

Travel can be an eye opening educational experience. For many student travelers, it may even be their first time on an airplane or visiting a large urban area. In this particular instance, a class traveled from Arizona to Washington D.C. – which is a significant distance. Some students may only make this trip once in a lifetime.

In order for a student trip to be a memorable and pleasurable learning experience, coordination among a variety of individuals is necessary. A qualified student travel company will hire the most capable professionals. Student trips are influenced by: tour escorts, bus drivers, restaurant owners and managers, hotel managers, security guards, administrators and docents at various destinations, and the educational travel company. Of course teachers, students and chaperons are key to an excellent trip as well. When everyone works together in a synchronized way the trip is bound to be successful.

Starting the Trip on the Right Foot: Ground Transportation to the Phoenix Airport
Trip planning is a key foundation for success. The less a teacher has to worry about the details, the more he or she can focus on the educational objectives of the trip. Shawn Tierney mentioned he was relieved his selected ground transportation company, Mountain View Tours, has “bus drivers that were accessible and ready when we needed ground transportation in Arizona. It was as comforting to see the white bus turning into the school parking lot early Saturday morning, as it was to receive a call from the bus driver in Phoenix who was ready to pick us up at the airline terminal upon our return.”

Tour guides & Teachers Can Make or Break a Student Trip
When a tour guide and a teacher work well together, a school trip is sure to go smoothly. Kelly Everett was the licensed Washington D.C. tour guide assigned to work with Santa Rita High School students and tour leaders. Tierney says, “She was informative, proactive, and flexible. She made suggestions due to weather and traffic so that students had a thorough visit to Washington D.C.” When visiting any destination, adaptability and problem solving can make all of the difference. Tierney commented that, “the high point of the trip was when we were able to meet with our Congressional District Representative on the steps of the Capitol within 24 hours of the Health Care Reform Bill being passed. This required an overhaul of the schedule, which Kelly handled with composure and enthusiasm.” The experience of actually seeing the Congressional District representative following the passing of this historical bill was certainly a rare and rewarding experience for the school group. Tierney recalled, “the looks on the faces of our graduating seniors who saw, many for the first time, the interior of the Capitol, made it all worthwhile.”


Experienced Bus Drivers in Washington D.C. Save Time by Averting Hassles and Hang-ups

Bus drivers with a thorough knowledge of the streets of Washington D.C. as well as appropriate places to load and unload large groups when entering museums, government buildings, and other destinations, can save time on student trips. Shawn Tierney is a Washington D.C. native, so he knows full well the pitfalls and delays that might await any large school group or individual when winding through the streets of the city. According to Tierney, the bus driver, Bob Pearl, had, “knowledge of the maze of streets in D.C. This was critical in making many of our scheduled appointments. He did an excellent job of managing the one way streets and constant construction and security restrictions.” The bus driver was also “always mindful for the safety of the students.” The fact that the bus driver and the tour guide worked well together created a smooth trip.

Santa Rita High School students went on a four day, three night trip to Washington D.C. that included: Arlington National Cemetery, Ford’s Theatre, Smithsonian American and Natural History Museum, a visit to the Supreme Court as well as the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Navy Memorial, Washington National Cathedral, the Holocaust Museum, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, and Mount Vernon.

Even though Santa Rita High School’s itinerary was full — there are even more worthwhile educational destinations to see in Washington D.C. For the March 2011 trip, Tierney plans to add another night so more destinations may be included. He also indicated he’d start planning in August 2010. Planning a student trip to Washington D.C. six months to one year in advance is always wise, especially if teachers want student groups to gain admission to the Capitol, White House, or Pentagon when visiting.

To review an itinerary or speak to an educational travel professional about the costs or details of taking a student trip to Washington D.C. email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote by taking a moment to fill out a brief, online questionnaire.

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.

Writing Assignments that Complement Class Trips to Washington D.C. and NYC

Educational travel tours headed for Washington D.C. or New York City are an excellent way to stimulate active learning. Visiting historic sites such as the White House and the Capitol in Washington D.C. or taking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Boat tour in New York City are just the first step in the learning process.

Writing Assignments Help Students Learn about NYC and Washington D.C.
Creating a post trip writing assignment that requires students to assimilate the information learned on a visit to Washington D.C. or New York City is one way to ensure that students have grasped the information conveyed on student tours.

Student tour groups get excited about visiting historic sites and learning about the way the U.S. government is run or the manner in which immigrant families entered the country. Experienced, licensed and knowledgeable tour guides make all the difference in any student tour. In both Washington D.C. and New York City, tour guides must be licensed in order to lead groups around the city. A high quality student tour company will only work with tour guides who are licensed.

Teachers and educational tour planners should contract with student travel companies that have excellent reputations and a long history in working with school groups. Working with an experienced educational travel company will ensure that information conveyed on a tour is in sync with academic standards and learning objectives.

In order to maintain high standards, licensed tour guides in New York City and Washington D.C. are required to pass certification tests which are designed to measure their knowledge of historical and cultural information about the city where they lead student tours. If a tour guide is licensed, then the student travel group is sure to receive accurate historical information about the sites. Another advantage of working with licensed tour guides is their ability to accurately answer questions from student travelers about historical sites.

In addition to selecting a qualified educational travel company that employs licensed tour guides, creating a post trip assignment related to one or more of the destinations on the itinerary are an effective way to help students process the event.

Here are some brief ideas for writing assignments that may follow a class trip to Washington D.C. or New York City. Teachers will want to give students the details of these assignments before the tour, so they can take notes while they visit these sites. These writing exercises are designed for the high school classroom. Teachers should feel free to modify the assignments for specific learning and curriculum objectives.

Washington D.C. Writing Assignment Idea After a Visit to the Capitol

Instruct students to write a 500-750 word essay about their visit to the U.S. Capitol. Highlight three observations that stood out on your visit to the Capitol. What did you learn about American democracy that you did not know before your visit? Explain in detail. Describe any of the representatives, pages, aides or people that you may have met or seen on your visit. What are their functions in the democratic process?

Writing Exercise Idea Following a Tour of the White House:
Ask students to write a 500-750 word essay about their trip to the White House.
On your visit to the White House, which room were you drawn to the most, and why? Describe in detail the furnishings, art, and function of this room. How does this room play a role in diplomatic or political relations? Why is this particular room of the White House important and included on the tour?

New York City Writing Assignment to Follow a Boat Tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
Write a 500-750 word essay that brings together at least eight different facts about the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In your own words, describe why these two significant New York City landmarks are pivotal places in American history.

These writing assignment ideas are designed to inspire students to look and listen closely while on tour. They are specifically designed for high school educational tour groups visiting Washington D.C. or New York City. For more information about scheduling a student tour (with a licensed tour guide) for either destination or any U.S. city, visit The Request a Quote page and take a few minutes to fill out the form, or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Take a Student Trip to Lowell, Massachusetts and Journey Back to the Beginning of the Industrial Revolution

by Howard Clemens

When bringing a student group to tour Boston, you may also want to consider adding a short excursion to Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell was founded as a manufacturing town in the Merrimack Valley and is considered the “cradle of the American Industrial Revolution.” Also the birthplace of author Jack Kerouac, Lowell is rich with history and stories of the beginning of the United States.

Historical Sites of Interest to Student Groups
Lowell is home to the Lowell National Historical Park, a 141-acre park. Though it is not the first urban national park, it is the largest in the country. The park includes a Visitor Center, and many restored and un-restored sites from the 19th century. The Visitor Center provides a free self-guided student tour of the history of Lowell, including exhibits such as the patent model of a loom by local inventor S. Thomas. The visitor center also includes a 20 minute video entitled “Lowell: The Industrial Revolution.”

Right Outside of Boston, Mass. Lowell Provides Insight into the Industrial Revolution
The Boott Mills sit along the Merrimack River, on the Eastern Canal, and are the oldest and most fully restored manufacturing sites in the district. The Boott Mill provides a walk-through museum with living re-creations of the textile manufacturing process in the 19th century. Adjacent to the Boot Mills is the Tsongas Industrial History Center, a hands-on center where weaving, creating canals, testing water wheels and working on an assembly line are some of the interactive activities for students.
A walkway along the river leads to several additional un-restored mill sites, providing views of restored and un-restored canal raceways once used by the mills. Additionally, the park includes the Patrick J Mogan Cultural Center, which focuses on the lives of Lowell’s many generations of immigrants.

The park includes a 5.6 mile power canal system. Boat and trolley tours along the Pawtucket Canal are offered late Spring through fall. Reproductions of 1901 electric trolley cars operate Spring through Fall. Other exhibits include canal boat tours exploring some of the city’s gatehouses and locks and the River Transformed/Suffolk Mill Turbine Exhibit, which shows how water power, namely the Francis Turbine, was once used to run Lowell’s textile factories.

Lowell is also home to Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Vandenberg Esplanade, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory which houses a small nuclear reactor. Lowell is the birthplace of Jack Kerouac and Academy Award-winning actress Bette Davis. Jack Kerouac’s gravesite is in Lowell’s Edson Cemetery. Another literary historical site of interest to student tour groups is The Worthen House, where Edgar Allan Poe allegedly wrote “The Raven,” a story known to all American students.

Women’s History in Lowell, MA
The term “Lowell Mill Girls” is used to describe the city’s 19th century female textile workers, who comprised about 75 percent of the city’s textile workforce. In 1845, the women organized a group called the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association and demanded a ten-hour workday. The petition they sent to the Massachusetts General Court led to the first government investigations into labor conditions in the United States.

Lowell is also the birthplace of Mary Hallaran, former director of the United States Women’s Army Corps. When asked by a superior what someone of her short stature could do for the military, she famously replied, “You don’t have to be six feet tall to have a brain that works.”

Touring Lowell with Student Trips
The Western Avenue studios provide an artistic picture of Lowell’s culture for student groups. A converted mill on Western Avenue which houses over 160 working artists and musicians, the studios are open to the public on the 1st Saturday of each month from 12-5 p.m.

With Lowell’s textile history, it is particularly suited as home to the New England Quilt Museum. The Quilt Museum includes 150 quilts which showcase the history of American textiles in quilts and quilt tops. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and has special hours on Sundays from May through December. The museum also offers discount tickets to students.

Lowell, MA. is the Perfect Add on to a Boston Student Trip
The city uses old freight lines to run streetcars from the center of the city to many of the city’s historical destinations. It also runs a public transit bus system throughout the city and is connected to Boston through commuter rail making it easy for educational groups visiting Boston to add Lowell, Massachusetts to their itinerary. Your educational travel consultant can help you make the best arrangements for your student group.

Boston, Massachusetts is Ideal for Student Trips

If you are looking for a great destination for a history or social studies tour, Boston is an ideal choice for an educational trip with students. Boston, MA is a city steeped in American history from the Puritans who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 to the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution to America’s first subway. Student tours in and around Boston are easily managed in what is known as the “Walking City.”

Boston is an indoor-outdoor museum of history and architecture. All educational trips to Boston should include at least a portion of the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is 2.5 mile walking tour through Boston that winds its way around 16 significant historic sites from the USS Constitution to the Boston Commons. Guided tours are available for student groups but the Freedom Trail is well-marked and the Freedom Trail Foundation offers maps and other resources for educators at www.thefreedomtrail.org.

Educational Travel to Boston: Excursion to Lexington and Concord
Boston was one of the epicenters of the American Revolution. It was home to many famous patriots including Paul Revere, best remembered for his ride through the countryside warning the Minute Men that the British were marching toward Concord. Lexington and Concord, the sites of the first battles of the American Revolution, are just west of downtown Boston. Here history students can come face-to-face with the Daniel Chester French’s Minute Man statue and the Old North Bridge where the Massachusetts militia defeated the British shortly after the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired.

Adjacent to the Old North Bridge is the Old Manse, the ancestral home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Nathaniel Hawthorne lived and wrote in the Old Manse for three years and Henry David Thoreau tilled a garden there for Hawthorne and his wife. Not far away, students can visit Walden Pond where Thoreau lived and wrote in semi seclusion for two years. History, social studies, and American literature almost come to life for students in Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts.

Student Trips to Boston Should Include Salem
A short jaunt north along the coast takes student groups to Salem, a town associated with one of the darkest and most fascinating episodes in American History: the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Museum takes student visitors back to Salem in 1692. The museum offers a dramatic history lesson through the use of stage sets, life-size figures, and a narrated overview of the Witch Trials. The museum also has an exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions, examining the changing definitions of “witch” and “witchcraft,” stereotyping, witch hunts, and even the modern practice of Wicca. This exhibit also includes contemporary examples of witch hunts based on the “fear + trigger = scapegoat” formula, bringing the past into a present day perspective for students.

A Salem, Massachusetts building that will inspire students’ imaginations is the House of the Seven Gables, complete with a hidden staircase. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne, a descendent of Witch Trial judge, John Hawthorne, spent time in this house owned by his cousins, the Ingersols, when he was a child. Stories he heard about it merged with his family’s history in his dark romantic novel of the same name as the house. Hawthorne’s birthplace is now located on the grounds of the House of the Seven Gables as well.

Include Plymouth in Student Trips to Boston
A field trip to Boston, Massachusetts wouldn’t be complete without an excursion south along the coast to Plymouth. Here students can see Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims first landed in 1620, visit the Mayflower II, and visit the living history museum, Plimoth Plantation. The plantation is located at the site of the first colony in New England. It recreates life in a Wampanoag village and a 1627 English settlement bringing two worlds together and to life making a great experience for students studying Native American and Colonial history. Teachers can find a variety of resources and curriculum guides for Plimoth Plantation on the museum’s Web site, www.plimoth.org.


Educational Trips to Boston are Enriching Experiences

Educational travel to Boston, Mass. can include many other points of interest like the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science. Student trips to Boston can also feature whale watching trips or even a Boston Red Sox game. Contact an experienced educational travel consultant to help you plan the best trip for your student group.

Educational Student Travel Explores the Study of Nature with Virginia Adventure Eco Tours

Educational student travel is an excellent way to encourage young people to explore the natural world around them. As issues of environmental preservation and conservation become more visible on the world stage, environmental educational field trips and student travel tours have started to focus on flora, fauna, wildlife, ocean ecosystems, conservation and preservation. In the state of Virginia, not far from Washington D.C., adventure eco tours can be planned to a variety of unforgettable regions off the coast, where people of all ages can learn about the power and wonder of nature.

Educational Group Travel to Assateague Island & Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

On Assateague Island visitors will find sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays. Ranger guided programs make exploring the island simple and fun. Assateague Island National Seashore was created to preserve the natural ecosystem of the Mid-Atlantic coast and encompasses over 48,000 acres of water and land in Virginia and Maryland.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 300 species of birds, wildlife and plants. The legendary wild horses and uniqueness of the barrier island provide endless opportunities for natural heritage and environmental education for all ages.

Student Travel on the Open Sea: Whale Watching and Dolphin Tours

Between the winter months of December and March, humpback whales migrate near the coast of Virginia near Virginia Beach. These ocean mammals are most famous for their large size, visible movements and an advanced form of communication-the whale song. Fin whales, the second largest animal on Earth, also migrate near Virginia Beach and are known for their speed. Educational, group whale watching trips can be organized through private companies and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.

Students can watch other marine life, including birds, in their natural habitat and view local historic landmarks such as the Cape Henry Lighthouse. Bottlenose dolphins also live along the Virginia Beach coast and are visible between May and October each year. These amazing creatures jump, play and love attention from onlookers. Dolphin cruises can be booked for small and large student tours.

Experience the Magic of Science: Plan and Educational Tour of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is one of the best locations for an environmental, educational field trip. Students and teachers will discover over 300 hands-on exhibits, a nature trail, an outdoor aviary and marshlands. Visitors can also enjoy the 3D IMAX Theater, which features a movie screen 6 stories tall and eight stories wide.

The Bay and Ocean Pavilion takes visitors on a journey through the waters of Virginia and introduces students to native aquatic animals and plants. The Marsh Pavilion is home to snakes, otters and more. The nature trail crosses the marsh and woods. Educational tours of the 30-foot observation tower will guarantee student attention.

Eco Educational Student Tours at the Virginia Living Museum
The Virginia Living Museum is dedicated to making Virginia’s natural heritage come to life. Museum exhibits tell the stories of the animals, plants, marine life and land from the Virginia Mountains to the Coastal Plain. Galleries and exhibits include:

–Virginia’s Piedmont and Mountains Gallery
–James River Exhibit
–Virginia’s World of Darkness gallery
–Virginia’s Underground Gallery
–Appalachian Mountain Cover and Cypress Swamp
–Discovery Centers
–Abbitt Observatory
–Planetarium Theater
–Outdoor Boardwalk
–Coastal Plain Aviary
–The Butterfly Garden

Many changing exhibits are also shown annually at the museum.

Adventure Eco Tours: Discover Animals from Abroad at the Virginia Zoo

According to the Virginia Zoo web site there are nearly 400 animals living on the premises including:
–Grants or Plains Zebra
–African Lion
–Masai Giraffe
–Red River Hog
–Meerkat
–Eastern bongo
–White rhino
–Siberian tiger
–Ostrich
–Rock hyrax
–White-throated monitor
–Pancake tortoise
–Mandrill

The Virginia Zoological Park helps visitors learn about the world’s flora and fauna and is dedicated to excellent treatment of the animals that live there. Education, research and conservation are some of the Virginia Zoo’s top priorities.

Student tours of the Virginia Zoo will also explain the importance of wildlife rehabilitation and the preservation of natural resources. School Discovery Programs are also available and were created to assist teachers. Informal science education programs motivate students through live animal presentations, wildlife adventure activities and even Virginia Zoo overnight stays. The Zoo is often seeing reliable volunteers for help with educational programs and special events.

Taking a student group on an eco-tour of Virginia can occur in one of two ways. The tour can be totally focused on ecological studies and issues and include the above-mentioned sites. Or an eco-tour may include a two or three day visit to Washington D.C. Here students can learn about democracy, visit the major historic sites, and partake in a cultural event, in addition to visiting an eco-tour destination.
Continue reading Educational Student Travel Explores the Study of Nature with Virginia Adventure Eco Tours

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.

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.

Educational Travel Consultants: Defining Excellence in Student Travel

There are many factors that go into making a student travel company a success. Perhaps one of the most important is the guiding principles behind the company must be in sync with educational objectives. Many of the professionals who work for Educational Travel Consultants have a background in education. They bring this outlook to their work in student travel, as well as a passion for working with student groups.

Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando and More
In our various markets, large and small (including Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando Florida, and more) we recruit and retain only the most qualified tour escorts. In fact, we work exclusively with members of the International Tour Management Group (ITMI) to make certain we only work with the best tour escorts available. This ensures the quality of educational and historical information on the student tour. Our tour guides are also very familiar with the cities they work within, which adds a great deal of insight to the tour. Some even choose to further their education and study by becoming licensed in the Washington D.C. or New York City tour market(s).

Educational Travel Consultants Provides Tour Escorts at All Times
Unlike other student travel companies, at ETC we believe student groups should be accompanied by professional tour escorts at all times. When groups are not in the midst of a tour led by a guide, they are overseen by a tour escort who can answer any questions they may have or resolve problems that may arise.

The Best Buy in Student Travel
For student travel groups and schools looking to economize on their travels, we believe we provide the best possible prices with the most quality. All taxes and tips are included in our final per person price. This means less out of pocket expenses while touring. For every 10 students, one chaperone or teacher may travel free of charge (double occupancy). This bonus is not offered by other student travel companies and helps schools to stay on budget.

3 Diamond Hotel Accommodations for Student Groups
Safety and security are our number one priority on student trips. Our hotel accommodations are always 3 diamond rated, which means there are interior corridors to ensure student safety. The security guards provided by ETC on student travel trips give adults peace of mind and everyone receives a good night’s sleep.

Keeping on Top of Trends in Student Travel

Finally, we research popular trends in student travel, and provide exciting dining and entertainment opportunities on tours. Our student groups eat at the Hard Rock Café, or old historic taverns where living history actors perform after supper. In New York City, student groups see popular Broadway shows like “High School Musical” and “Wicked” and in the Washington D.C. area, the Mystery Dinner Theaters are popular choices. We select memorable experiences so students and adults may relax and enjoy the educational experience, and cherish it for many years to come.

Educational Student Tours of Walt Disney World Promote Active Learning

The Disney YES programs are a student favorite when touring Walt Disney World. I have escorted student tour groups to Walt Disney World with and without participation in Disney YES programs. Students seem to really prefer at least some participation in Disney YES programs, because it gives them great insight into backstage at Disney, how it operates, and the talent that drives the scenery.

Behind the Scenes at Walt Disney World
It’s exciting to tour Epcot Center, and MGM Studios. But to know what kind of imagination, training, tools, and techniques go into work behind the scenes is sometimes even more powerful. While on educational student tour of Walt Disney World, students need more than exposure to the rides and exhibits to gain a greater understanding of the way to work in their chosen profession.

Many types of student groups can benefit from Disney YES programs, which are geared towards a variety of fields.

Educational Travel in Arts and Humanities
Students in Arts and Humanities can learn about the “Magic Behind the Show” or they can delve into the realm of animation magic or learn about American history through “The American Story.” There are lots of options for students on a high school band trip, high school musical tour, or a performance tour of Orlando Florida. High school choirs, orchestras, theater students, and more can benefit from these great behind the scene workshops by Disney.

Disney YES Programs Geared to Science Education Tour Groups
Educational travel to Orlando Florida need not be entertainment only for other types of student groups. It can be filled with wonder and excitement for the student in natural and physical sciences as well. Disney YES programs like “Team Up For Wildlife” teach students sound methods of ecological preservation in marine and wildlife environments. In the field of physical sciences, Disney YES programs such as “How Things Move” and “Energy and Wave” provide tangible examples in the park that illustrate the operation of light, sound, and magnetism. Students learn how scientists manipulate these elements.

Disney YES Programs for the Ecologically Empowered Student
Finally, Disney YES programs contain a component for marine and wildlife sciences students on educational tour. “Keepers of the Kingdom” allows students to interact with some of the animals and their keepers at the Magic Kingdom®. “Making Waves with a Marine Career” gives students on tour guidance in marine science, and insight into real jobs that might be held in the profession.

Whatever your field of academic study, consider a Disney YES program when visiting Orlando Florida. Students will come back with great memories of their trip, and a new perspective on their field of study.