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

by Howard Clemens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Educational Student Travel: Adventures in Learning Created for Your Curriculum

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

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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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