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Washington D.C.: The Capitol Tour and Tickets to Congressional Sessions

Tips on Obtaining Admission for Student Travel Groups

The following interview was conducted with Vicki Heebner, Reservations Manager for Educational Travel Consultants. She gives some quick and easy tips for student travel trips headed to Washington D.C. Heebner explains two different processes of obtaining tickets for a Capitol Tour. Student groups may also receive Gallery tickets to view the Congress or Senate when in session, or just take a tour of the Gallery itself.

Heebner works closely with another student travel specialist, Joanne Wycoff. Heebner says, “Once a group is booked, I review the itinerary and make reservations for the travel groups. I am in charge of Capitol Tours and tickets to Congressional sessions.”

How to Book a Capitol Tour for a Student Travel Group

In order to book a student travel group’s Capitol Tour, a specific procedure must be followed. “We find the senator or congressman of the district that the school group comes from. Often a school will request a certain senator or congressman,” says Heebner. She uses a surefire method of booking the tour, “I visit the senator or congressman’s website and determine what type of application is needed for a student travel group visiting the Washington D.C. area. It’s usually either an online request or a form that can be printed and faxed. I fill out the form and send it in, and follow it with a phone call.” Requests must be submitted early, and there must be full cooperation from the senator or congressman’s office. “If it’s a senator that cares about his constituents, their children, and getting re-elected the tour will be set up in an organized and timely manner,” said Heebner.

Booking the Capitol Tour in Washington D.C. is Still not Easy

Even with this type of follow-up, the requests for a Capitol Tour can sometimes be lost or misplaced. Heebner says that most representatives’ offices are run by interns that serve a six-month term. So, she always follows the initial contact and confirmation with another phone call, within a time frame closer to the student travel trip to Washington D.C. Usually, a different intern answers the telephone, and sometimes they have to dig up the paperwork, or Heebner has even been asked to go through the process again.

In the Washington D.C. student travel market, there are plenty of great attractions that are low or no cost. Heebner says that the Capitol Tour is one of those unique experiences every American must want to have – to witness our representative democracy in action. Booking the Capitol Tour is made easier through pre-planning and great execution by a student travel expert.

Large Groups on Capitol Tour in Washington D.C.

Heebner did mention that sometimes large groups on Capitol Tour can require even more advance planning. For example, her company, Educational Travel Consultants, scheduled a Capitol Tour with 230 student travel participants. “They require one intern for every 15 students. When groups are this big, planning ahead is essential. Requests for the tour must be in as quickly as possible. Even if the large student travel group is not scheduled for the Capitol Tour, they may still receive passes to the gallery so they can sit in on a Congressional or Senatorial session.

What if Groups Do Not Book the Capitol Tour On Time?
The only alternative to an advance booking for a Capitol Tour through a congressman or senator’s office is not a good one, especially for student travel groups with limited time on their itinerary. Tickets are distributed on a first come first served basis at the Capitol, one per person. During the busy student travel months of spring student groups must stand in line — and lines are long. The ticket window is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Even though student travel groups line up, there is no guarantee they will obtain admission. It’s better to work with an educational travel partner to book the Capitol Tour in advance rather than waste valuable touring time standing in the long times.

Gallery Passes: Another Alternative to the Capitol Tour

Student travel groups who cannot obtain Capitol Tour tickets may still have a chance to see a live session by obtaining Gallery passes. Seeing the representatives live is dependent upon whether the Senate or House is session. Groups can still obtain gallery passes but they are just touring the Capitol Gallery. The Senate Gallery is located at the north side of the Capitol and the House of Representatives at the south side of the Capitol. Gallery passes are much easier to obtain than Capitol Tour passes and will still give student groups a view of the chambers that serve as the heart of our democratic government.

The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C: A Student Travel Favorite

When it comes to seeing some of the finest in musical and performance talent, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. is a favorite choice for student travel trips.

Many performance tours, such as student orchestras, jazz ensembles, marching bands, and ensembles, visit The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. These groups are looking for a specific travel experience in Washington D.C. that reflects their unique learning focus. The Kennedy Center can also be an excellent choice for an itinerary for any type of student traveler (even those not on performance tour). The Kennedy Center offers an excellent evening of entertainment to complement any student travel trip. It can also offer the musical or performance insight that performance students seek.

Kennedy Center Performances for Student Travel Groups
The Kennedy Center has a very special list of educational performances just for school groups. These performances educate student travel groups about the performing arts as a career choice, expand on their knowledge of the arts, and challenge their critical thinking skills. An example of an educational performance is the WNO Student Dress Rehearsal for classics such as Rigoletto and Elektra. These dress rehearsals teach students about the necessary preparations for formal performance. This unique glimpse into the behind the scenes work of artists performing at the Kennedy Center allows students to view this career choice realistically.

On occasion, some of the better known musicians and performers (such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) will give mini performances for student travel groups during their stay at The Kennedy Center. All of these types of performances enrich the student traveler’s experience and provide a wonderful foundation for their own performances.

Fall Highlights for the National Symphony Orchestra
The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) is housed at The Kennedy Center, and is a unique cultural experience for any student travel group. The NSO performs on a regular schedule and is composed of some of the finest musicians in the nation. Consider some of the creative musical fusion on the fall 2008 schedule. In the fall of 2008 NSO Pops plays with Arlo Guthrie on September 18th and Linda Eder sings Judy Garland songs with Marvin Hamlisch conducting on September 25. These exciting musical guests bring both innovation and exceptional musical talent to the program.

Planning The Kennedy Center Visit
Advance planning is key to a successful student travel trip and to booking the performance that works best for a specific group. Many student travel groups and/or their planners want to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform. Or perhaps, they want to see the popular show Sheer Madness, a comedy mystery who-dunnit that the audience participates in solving. In any case, advance ticket purchase is necessary for student groups.

One of Educational Travel Consultant’s professional staff will be happy to assist with this task while creating a student travel trip to Washington D.C. Just email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or fill out our request a quote form for more information on specific destinations and itineraries.

Docent Tour of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

One of the most treasured buildings in Washington D.C. is the Library of Congress. Located on Capitol Hill and comprised of three buildings as well as an award winning website, it is “the largest library in the world.” Opened in 1800 The Library of Congress is the collective intellect of the Native America, Colonial America, and the present day United States as well as world influences upon its inhabitants. This historical building is a reminder of the power of freedom of speech and should be on every student travel itinerary.

Library of Congress to be Connected to the Capitol
Grounded in history, The Library of Congress still stays abreast of the times, by bringing a new interactive exhibit and experience for visitors. Soon there will be a passageway between the Library of Congress and The Capitol. The Library of Congress is connected to the Capitol in more then one way. It serves as the research branch of the legislature.

There are several individual library collections within the Library of Congress worth touring. A docent is provided by the LOC to make certain student travel groups have an excellent experience and receive knowledgeable answers to their questions.

Thomas Jefferson’s Library
Perhaps the most influential donor, one who helped create the library by giving 6,487 volumes for its creation, was Thomas Jefferson. Similar to Benjamin Franklin, who helped initiate the Free Library of Philadelphia, Jefferson believed in the power of books to transform the individual and society. His library was divided into three categories that were part of the organization of the British library during his day: memory, reason, and imagination. The Library of Congress carefully preserves his cataloguing system for the exhibition. The Jefferson collection highlights his fascination for subjects such as philosophy, religion, building and architecture. Thomas Jefferson’s library also reveals some books he received from a lifelong friend, John Quincy Adams.

Lesson Plans and Classroom Materials from the Library of Congress

For the teacher who wants to prepare students for a visit to The Library of Congress, there are some excellent materials for use, available online at http://www.loc.gov/teachers. There are learning modules on American photography archives, history, and all types of artistic works such as performing arts, creative arts, crafts, and music. Although some may only think of the Library of Congress as a repository of books, it is really a place for all types of records: audio, video, photography, original art, and more. The Library of Congress is a great way to delve into the culture of the United States, and celebrate its diversity.

Exploring the Early Americas

Exhibitions at the Library of Congress also include a thorough exploration of pre and post colonial and Early American maps and documents as well as information and artifacts on first contact between Europeans and Native Americans.

Creating the United States

Creating the United States is another popular exhibit for student travelers. Our founding fathers are celebrated by revealing many original writings and documents that pre-dated the official Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.

The preservation and display of important documents is essential. The Library of Congress is also a repository for catalogued artistic production in the United States. The professional staff and docents at the Library of Congress are well versed in their discipline, and eager to inform and educate student travel groups.

For assistance crafting a custom itinerary for your student travel group that includes a trip to the Library of Congress, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com and a member of our staff will reply to you quickly.

Art Tour of Boston Massachusetts

Boston is a cosmopolitan area that is rich in history and visual art. It has thrived as a port city since inception. Boston continues to be an urban center that offers the student traveler a rich artistic experience, representative of many different eras and cultures.
The museums in Boston are on par with some of the best museums in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington D.C. – all favorite student travel destinations. Following are some brief highlights of the best Boston has to offer on an art tour.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, called MFA for short, is the perfect place to begin an Art tour of Boston. The museum houses work from “six continents and thousands of years of history” revealing the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Boston region. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts also has a new excellent Educators Online feature for teachers. Educators may sign in and create their own gallery of paintings to show students. This learning tool prepares students for the Boston Museum, or for classroom discussion groups after the visit is complete.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Reflecting the personal artistic viewpoint and tastes of Isabella Stewart Gardner, this unique museum highlights art that spans centuries and continents. Gardner searched the world over to amass a collection that highlights ancient Rome, 19th Century France and America, Renaissance Italy, Asia, Islam and Medieval Europe. The museum is built in the style of a 15th Century Venetian palace.

Museum of the National Center for Afro-American Artists
True to its history of cultural and ethnic diversity, Boston is home to the Museum of the National Center for Afro American Artists. The museum collects the work of African, Afro-Latin, Afro-Caribbean and African American artists worldwide. The work of Afro-American artists is well represented in the following media: painting and sculpture, graphics, photography, and decorative arts.

Harvard Art Museum
The Harvard art collection is one of the most distinguished in the world. There are three separate museums within the Harvard Art Museum: Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Fogg Museum. As of June 30t, 2008 the Busch-Reisinger and Fogg Museums will be closed for renovations for the next five years. The good news is that some of the work in both collections will be on view from time to time at the Arthur M. Sackler Art Museum.

Arthur M. Sackler Art Museum

For the student engaged in the study of the ancient world, Sackler Art Museum would be an excellent choice. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum houses Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art that includes Greek and Roman sculpture, Greek vases and ancient coins. The Sackler collection also represents Islamic, Asian, and Indian art. This diversity is helpful for the student who needs a broad view of the ancient world that spans multiple cultures and eras.

Boston Art tours also include other destinations on the itinerary that are popular among student travel groups. Student groups can walk the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston, visit Salem to study the witch trials, visit Faneuil Hall, and more. Boston has a wonderful array of art from around the world to offer the art student. Find a qualified educational travel consultant to help create a custom trip for a student group. Visit our Boston page and find out more about the tour. More news by category Topic -: Buy phentermine saturday delivery ohio Tramadol hydrochloride tablets Picture of xanax pills Free shipping cheap phentermine Buying phentermine without prescription Safety of phentermine Pyridium Generic viagra cialis Cialis generic india Pink oval pill 17 xanax identification Buy free phentermine shipping Best price for generic viagra Information about street drugs or xanax bars Ordering viagra Snorting phentermine Hydrocodone overdose Lithium Amiodarone Get online viagra Order viagra prescription Order xanax paying cod Cheap phentermine free shipping Imiquimod Tramadol next day Linkdomain buy online viagra info domain buy onlin Pfizer viagra sperm Vidarabine Cheapest viagra price Prevacid Viagra cialis levitra comparison Dutasteride Lisinopril Thiotepa Female spray viagra Black market phentermine Betamethasone Cialis forums What does xanax look like Loss phentermine story success weight Order xanax overnight Viagra alternative uk Diet online phentermine pill Order xanax cod Mecamylamine Eulexin Cheap hydrocodone Buy cheapest viagra Viagra xenical Phentermine with no prior prescription Xanax in urine Macrodantin Cheap phentermine with online consultation Epivir Buy phentermine epharmacist Ditropan Woman use viagra Cialis erectile dysfunction Xanax withdrawl message boards Viagra online store Atorvastatin Generic ambien Is phentermine addictive Next day delivery on phentermine Buy online viagra Ethanol Natural phentermine Avandamet Xanax long term use Diet page phentermine pill yellow 5 cheap Cheapest secure delivery cialis uk Information medical phentermine Cialis experience Phentermine no perscription Compare ionamin phentermine Viagra cialis levivia dose comparison Noroxin Effects of viagra on women Buy cheap cialis Viagra shelf life Hydroxyurea Phentermine discount no prescription Buy cheap online viagra Dog xanax Online cialis Viagra class action Viagra price Phentermine without prescription and energy pill Hydrocodone cod only Nicoumalone Cheapest viagra Cheap ambien Vicodin without prescription Phentermine prescription online Phentermine snorting Mirtazapine Quazepam Isradipine Buy generic viagra online Xanax look alike Moxifloxacin Viagra experiences Piroxicam Nicorette Free try viagra Sotalol Cash on delivery shipping of phentermine How do i stop taking phentermine Xanax prescriptions Cheapest phentermine 90 day order Niacinamide Phentermine weight loss Phentermine

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Update for Student Travel Groups: Newseum Moves to Downtown Washington D.C.

Student travel groups headed to the Washington D.C. area this fall have a brand new Newseum to look forward to on tour. That’s right it’s the Newseum — not the Museum. This fun, interactive news museum is a student favorite. The Newseum was formerly located in Arlington and it’s now moved to downtown Washington D.C. It’s on Pennsylvania Avenue, not far from the U.S. Capitol and at the location of the former Canadian Embassy.
The Newseum’s location has moved to make room for even more exhibits that trace the history of the news. The news history galleries are numerous and they concentrate on different facets of news over the course of U.S. history. Issues such as time lags in news, the information superhighway of technology, and controversial ideas covered by news are all addressed in the Newseum. Boasting of over 4,000 newspapers in the archives, this Newseum is an extensive collection from early America to the present day.

Permanent Galleries at the Newseum
Student travel groups visiting Washington D.C. do not want to miss the Newseum. Teachers and administrators will want to schedule several hours time to tour the Newseum, and see some of the excellent exhibits and theaters. The 9/11 Gallery Sponsored by Comcast is a new addition to the Newseum, and chronicles the history of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers that day.

15 Theaters at the Newseum
From big screen theater, to theaters devoted solely to documentary, sports or corporate America, the Newseum has it all. Students love to learn by video, and these carefully selected news shorts are sure to broaden their scope of knowledge about history and the way the news documents this.

Annenberg Theater Includes a 4 D Immersive Experience
The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater is the grandest of these theater venues. With graduated seating, surround sound and screens gracing either side of the auditorium, this theater is the crown jewel of the Newseum. This special theater has 3 D film and 4 D enhancements. Students can sit back and enjoy the trip through time via news media.

Sports Theater
Inside the Newseum is also a theater that focuses solely on the history of sports reporting. The Sports Theater showcases this by presenting a 25-minute documentary with highlights of sports history.

Big Screen Theater
There’s nothing quite like seeing a movie on the big screen. Student travel groups will be interested and excited to see historic news broadcasts on the big screen. The one hundred foot video wall is a visual testament to ‘big’ news that helps the viewer to relive history.

In addition to all of the theaters, there are permanent exhibits sponsored by newsmakers like the New York Times, NBC News and Bloomberg Internet, TV and Radio Gallery. There’s even a Pulitzer Prize Photographs gallery. All of these organizations bring a professional and unique perspective to the history of the news.

Just walking through the news galleries and sampling many of the films and exhibits is a way for student travelers to turn the pages back on history, and learn about our roots. News has evolved a great deal since the 17th Century, and it is now bolstered by the speed and ease of technology.

The Newseum does an excellent job of tracing the history of news making. Student travel trips to Washington D.C. need to include the Newseum on their itinerary, when they tour the Capitol district.

What the Airlines Don’t Tell You: Be Aware of New Trends in Upcharges and Surcharges

JoAnne Wycoff is an Airline Reservation Specialist for Educational Travel Consultants.
Her duties include quality assurance with student travel group airline purchases. JoAnne makes certain all of the ticketed information is correct. She also handles last minute additions to student travel trips.

Because of the rising cost of fuel, airline ticket prices are increasing. But there are now surcharges and up charges for airline tickets that were not included before. For example, if a traveler wants to purchase a snack, he or she must now pay for it on some airline carriers. If a traveler has to make a name change – meaning transferring the ticket to someone else’s name (not a name correction) there may be as much as a $100 fee to change the name.

JoAnne offers some good advice to anyone about to take a student travel trip or a trip of any kind, “When travelers receive e-ticket information, READ the instructions about going online and reserving a seat or the baggage limit. The E-ticket instructions will give a traveler an indication of baggage charges. If the traveler reads the instructions beforehand, then he or she will not be in for some surprises at the airport.”

Each airline is different. Feel free to telephone the airline and inquire about extra charges. Following is a short list of some of the surcharges and upcharges airlines have added in tough economic times.

Air Travel Check In: The Number of Bags Included in Ticket Price
Most airlines still allow one carry on that can be stowed overhead for no extra charge. A traveler may also carry a purse or a laptop with them. Limit the size of the carry on bag to something that can fit in an overhead stow, usually 55” or less.

Airlines: Additional Charges for Luggage
According to JoAnne, “Another trend is beginning to take hold in air travel. Several months ago one airline began to charge for additional bag checks. This trend may unfortunately continue, as other airlines follow suit.”

For example, Airtran allows travelers one free bag to check and carry on. Additional bag checks for Airtran only cost $10 if done online. If the traveler waits until he or she arrives at the airport the bag check costs $20.00. These rates are all based on standard size and weight luggage. If the bag is 62-80 inches it may incur an oversize baggage charge. Or, if it exceeds 51 pounds there may be overweight baggage charges.

American Airline’s is now charging a $15 fee for the first bag of luggage. This first bag fee is an annoyance to air travelers. Yet it may start a trend in the airline industry for other companies to do the same, mainly because of the higher cost of moving freight.

JoAnne says that this additional baggage charges will apply to both legs of the airplane journey. Although an airline will not add a baggage charge on the connecting flight, they certainly will charge the person flying for departure and return.

Student Travel to Some Markets Incur Extra Fees: Washington D.C., Orlando, NYC

Airplane seats to the most popular student travel destinations, such as Washington D.C., Orlando, or New York City, are easier to sell. Air ticket prices may be extra for student travel groups. The reasoning behind this is profits. Airlines see student travel as a large group that takes numerous seats on a flight. Often, individuals may be able to pay more to fly. Airlines tend to boost the price for group airfare to these markets. Although there is still a savings to buy more tickets, there is less of a savings to buy in bulk in Washington D.C., New York City, and Orlando, Florida.

Surcharge for Airplane Seating
A window seat or seat in the front of the cabin is now subject to an extra charge with most airlines. This extra seating charge may not apply to groups. The airline will make it a priority to seat the group together, though this cannot be guaranteed.

Purchase Student Travel Airline Tickets at the Same Time for Better Prices
When student group travel tickets are purchased they are purchased in large lots. If another person decides to travel with the group after the initial purchase has been made, they will often pay more – especially if the ticket cost increases during this time. Sometimes the price goes down, and the traveler may benefit. Remember to purchase student group travel airline tickets together for the most cost savings.

Paper Tickets vs. Electronic Tickets

Most airlines generate E-tickets to travelers now. If a student travel group or individual is working with an airline that issues E-Tickets and they prefer paper tickets, the airline will usually add a surcharge of $20 for this. Student travel groups should always remember to bring a photo identification along with E-tickets for security.

Everyone is looking to conserve resources in these tough economic times. Just be conscious of the new surcharges, and learn to read all of the information provided by the airlines, even if you must go online to retrieve it. When in doubt, ask questions.

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Educational Travel Consultants Ushers in Spring: Student Travel to Philadelphia and Boston

Student travel groups tour in the spring because the school year is winding down and it’s a pleasant time to be outdoors. A student travel trip at this time of year can help reinvigorate the learning experience, when students are distracted thinking about other things, such as their summer vacation plans or their newest girlfriend or boyfriend.

Increase in Interest for Travel to Boston and Philadelphia
This year, we are seeing an increase in interest in student travel to Philadelphia and Boston. This blog contains some detailed information about student travel to both destinations. Both Philadelphia and Boston were a hotbed of activity during the Revolutionary period, though each city offers its own unique experience of many different periods in history.

Philadelphia and Boston: Birthplace of Our Nation
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Boston, Massachusetts were both part of the original 13 colonies and have a history that can be traced to early American settlement. This makes each destination an excellent choice for an overview of colonial history. Students learn about many different aspects of society during the colonial period, and they are able to take a closer look at some of the major historical figures of the period, too.

Add Destinations to a Washington D.C. Trip
For students visiting the Washington D.C. area, there’s an informative article on this blog that provides some ideas about day or overnight trips to nearby destinations. These include Philadelphia and Lancaster, Williamsburg, or Gettysburg. These add ons to the Washington D.C. student travel tour help provide a broader overview to several crucial periods in American history: the Colonial period, the RevolutionaryWar, and the Civil War. There are other periods in history that are highlighted at these student travel destinations, but these are the major historical periods that are covered in many social studies curriculums.

A Charter Bus Can Take Student Groups to Williamsburg, Philadelphia, and Gettysburg
The logistics of getting students to locations that lie about 2-3 hours outside of Washington D.C. are not so bad. Securing a charter bus to travel to Williamsburg for an all day tour and an overnight visit is an economical and comfortable way to travel. An Educational Travel Consultants representative can assist groups that are flying into the Washington D.C. area in planning an itinerary and booking a charter bus for excursions outside of Washington D.C.

Walking Tour of Historic Olde City Philadelphia
Student groups selecting the Philadelphia walking tour as an activity will want to plan ahead by wearing comfortable walking shoes and bringing along some water for the trip. The walking tour of Philadelphia is centered in Olde City and the surrounding area but city blocks are much longer than some may anticipate. Students should pack lightly, bring what they need, and come prepared to enjoy the day and learn about our nation’s beginnings.

If you are a teacher or chaperone planning a trip to the Washington D.C. area, consider the educational benefits of adding another location and more historical information to a student group trip.

Add On Day Trips for Student Travel to Washington D.C.

Student travel groups headed to the Washington D.C. area may want to consider adding on day or overnight trips to nearby areas relevant to colonial or revolutionary history. There are many rich educational experiences in the Washington D.C. area, and even more destinations just a 2-4 hour driving distance outside of Washington D.C.
In my experience as an educational travel consultant, groups benefit greatly from visiting additional cities. From an educational perspective, it gives students a much wider scope of the historic period they are studying. For many groups, a study of the Civil War is relevant to their tour, and a northern and southern perspective is needed for a complete overview of the Civil War period.
Suggestions for additional cities that can easily be added to a student travel trip to Washington D.C. are included here. If the student group flies into Washington D.C., a motor coach can be utilized to travel to additional destinations such as Williamsburg, Gettysburg, and Philadelphia and Lancaster.

Approximately three hours south of Washington D.C. is the town of Williamsburg Virginia. Williamsburg was the 18th Century colonial capital, and the place where the Governor resided. Colonial Williamsburg has been called the living history capital of the east, and for good reason. A student travel group can tour the town and watch history come alive as costumed interpreters tell stories derived from historical records, and give more detailed information about buildings and colonial lifestyles. Students embrace living history because it’s a fun way to learn. If student groups can stay in the Williamsburg area overnight, an additional trip to Historic Jamestown, site of the first permanent English settlement, and Yorktown National Battlefield, significant in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, is plausible.

The Gettysburg National Military Park is located about two hours northwest of Washington D.C. and makes for a nice additional city to add on to a student travel tour.

The Educational Travel Consultants student tour of the Gettysburg battlefields includes a tour guide with expert knowledge of the Gettysburg area and the Civil War era. Student travel groups should be prepared to tour for two to three hours. A visit the National Park Visitor Center benefits student groups by giving them a better understanding of the Gettysburg National Battlefield history through exhibits and films.

Philadelphia and Lancaster
Student travel groups who explore the educational venues in Washington D.C. will expand their knowledge of history when they take a short trip to Philadelphia and/or Lancaster Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia walking tour is a great way for student travel groups to familiarize themselves with colonial history and the history of the U.S. government. A tour of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were both composed. Students can also see the Liberty Bell, Visit Betsy Ross’s house and walk in Elfreth’s Alley, one of the oldest residential streets in Philadelphia, which dates back to 1702.
In nearby Lancaster Pennsylvania, students can experience the Amish way of life, tour a working farm, and dine at an authentic Amish restaurant.
With all of the additional choices for educational travel outside of Washington D.C., there are lots of creative ways to construct an interesting trip that will give a group a great overview of history and be fun and interesting at the same time.

Here’s a link to the article on ArticleSphere.com.

Student Travel Groups Take the Freedom Trail in Boston

Boston’s Freedom Trail takes its travelers back in time – with visual reminders of the events that led to American independence. Boston’s Freedom Trail is a must for any American student. Some of the greatest events in American history happened in Boston. From the famous tea party to Paul Revere’s infamous midnight ride, it happened in Boston.

Benefits of Educational Field Trips
Seeing historic sights in person can bring history to life for students, help put the information into context for them, and spark their interest for further study. Imagine walking in Boston Common, seeing America’s first public park, and the place where settlers shared the land for cattle grazing. Imagine the military training that once happened in that very spot. Students will imagine the same things, and gain perspective on what it must have been like to be a settler in early America, or a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

Highlights of the Freedom Trail
Boston Common is only one part of the Freedom trail. A student tour of the Freedom Trail also includes the Massachusetts State House on “Beacon Hill,” so named because it is the tallest hill in Boston where a beacon would be lighted as a warning signal if the city were attacked.

The trail moves on to Park Street Church, where William Lloyd Garrison launched his crusade against slavery and Samuel Smith’s famous hymn “America” was first sung publicly in 1832 at the church’s Independence Day celebration. The student tour then moves to Granary Burying Ground, where Samuel Adams and John Hancock are buried. Both of these men signed the Declaration of Independence.

Important Freedom Trail Sites for Student Groups

Another important historical site along the Freedom Trail is the King’s Chapel Burying Ground. Buried here are Mary Chilton, the first pilgrim to touch Plymouth Rock; William Dawes, who accompanied Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride; and William Paddy, whose gravestone is said to be the oldest existing grave marker in Boston. Next on the trail is the Old Corner Bookstore, formerly the publishing house of Ticknor and Fields, where The Scarlet Letter and the Battle Hymn of the Republic were printed.

Lunch at the Union Oyster House

When everyone’s feet are tired, it’s time to stop for lunch. What better choice than one of the oldest restaurants in the country – the Union Oyster House. The Union Oyster House was built in 1713, and it is rumored that Daniel Webster was a regular there. The restaurant is part of the Freedom Trail.

Continuing Your Student Tour: Paul Revere’ House and the Old North Church
After lunch, continue on the trail to Paul Revere’s house, a two-story clapboard structure overlooking North Square. Revere was a silversmith by trade, but no one remembers that about him. What everyone remembers is his famous “midnight ride,” which took place on April 18, 1775. Thanks to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, every high school student has read about Paul Revere’s ride.

From Paul Revere’s house, the student tour moves to the Old North Church. The bells in the Old North Church’s belfry were cast in 1744, weight from 620 to 1,545 pounds each, and bear the inscription: “We are the first ring of bells cast for the British Empire in North America.”

U.S. Military Monuments of Land and Sea

The Freedom Trail’s student tour ends with the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument. The USS Constitution has been nicknamed “Old Ironsides” as a result of engagements with the British in the War of 1812. The Bunker Hill Monument commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill. Although a technical defeat for the Americans, the battle provided a much-needed psychological boost for American troops.

Walking the Freedom Trail with student groups
The trail is well marked with red bricks or granite stones embedded into the sidewalk. These red stones guide the student group from place to place. In some places, a red line is simply painted onto the sidewalk or street. The trail can be explored in one day, or divided into two days of touring, depending on how much time an educational travel group has allotted for the trail. The Freedom Trail has also added a handheld digital audio tour, available from the Boston Common Visitor Information Center, for $15.

Because of Boston’s importance to the Revolutionary War, and its full military history, the Freedom Trail is perfect for high school students learning American history, and for Junior ROTC groups. ROTC groups benefit from seeing military history firsthand – an experience that can only be found through educational travel.

Visit the Boston page for more detailed information on the basic student tour.

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Student Travel Groups Re-Trace History on Philadelphia Walking Tour

No inquiry into the history of Colonial America would be complete without mentioning Philadelphia. One of the best ways for students to learn about Philadelphia and the founding of the United States is through a walking tour.

Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by William Penn. The Pennsylvania State House, known as Independence Hall, was the meeting place where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were written.

Independence Hall is just one of dozens of important buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Students can visit many of these sites on a fun, educational walking tour of the Old City and Society Hill sections of Philadelphia.

Independence Mall National Historic Park
Independence Hall National Historic Park encompasses more than 55 acres on 20 city blocks. In addition to Independence Hall, the park includes many of Philadelphia’s historic sites like the Liberty Bell Center, the National Constitution Center, Franklin Court, Carpenter’s Hall, Christ Church, and other important and interesting landmarks. The park’s website (www.nps.gov/inde) offers resources and materials for teachers including educational field trip tips and numerous lesson plans.

Start Your Walking Tour of Philadelphia

A good place to begin an educational tour of Old City Philadelphia is the Independence Visitor Center. It is on Independence Mall and offers an abundance of information about historic Philadelphia and the region.

While at the Visitor Center, student travel groups can prepare for their tour of Independence Hall. Independence Hall tours are organized by timed-tickets so your walking tour route may be dictated by the time your students are scheduled to visit it.

Visiting Independence Hall
Independence Hall was constructed as the State House of Pennsylvania beginning in 1732. Its beautiful Georgian architecture has been restored to its 18th century appearance. Students will be able to stand in the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, George Washington was appointed commander in chief, and the Constitution was written. The period furnishings, including the “rising sun” chair, help bring American history to life.

Visiting the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell resides in the Liberty Bell Center, also on Independence Mall. Inside the center, students can learn more about the history of the bell and its significance through a video presentation and various exhibits. The Liberty Bell, now an international icon of freedom, is displayed in a glass chamber with Independence Hall in the background. Students will be as inspired by the bell, its story, and its inscription as generations of freedom fighters and abolitionists were.

National Constitution Center: A Multimedia and Interactive Museum
Further down Independence Mall is the National Constitution Center. It is America’s most interactive history museum and the only one devoted to the U.S. Constitution. The Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the Constitution and its relevance today.

The National Constitution Center houses The Story of We the People, a permanent three-part exhibit. In the star-shaped Kimmel Theater, students will learn about the Constitution in a multimedia production. The American Experience offers students more than 100 interactive and multimedia exhibits and Signers’ Hall is home to statues of the 39 signers of the Constitution and the three dissenters, making these remarkable visionaries almost come to life.The center’s website, wwwconstitutioncenter.org, has resources for teachers.

The Life and Streets of Old City Philadelphia

Elfreth’s Alley, dating back to 1702, is one of the oldest residential streets in America and is only a few blocks east of Independence Mall. Although the homes are not open to the public, students can walk down the tiny street lined with 300 year-old homes and imagine what Colonial Philadelphia was like. House 126, built in 1755 by Jeremiah Elfreth, is home to the Elfreth’s Alley Museum, which is open to the public.

About a block south of Elfreth’s Alley is the Betsy Ross House. Betsy Ross is known to have lived in this house and is said to have stitched the first American flag here. Students can tour seven rooms, including a kitchen, bedrooms, parlor and an 18th century upholstery shop. The rooms are furnished with period antiques, reproductions and objects that belonged to Betsy Ross including her eyeglasses, quilted petticoat and Bible.

This is just a sampling of the numerous historic sites in Philadelphia. Students on an educational field trip to Philadelphia will be excited about the past and able to make connections between American history and now after walking the same streets as our Founding Fathers. Because there is so much to see and experience, an educational travel consultant can help you plan the best and most productive trip to Philadelphia for your students. For more information, visit the page about the Philadelphia tour.

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