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The Ultimate Chicago Student Trip! Plan a Student Tour of Obama’s Chicago

by Howard Clemens

A majority of teachers in the United States chose the teaching profession because they believed they would have the opportunity to educate, inspire and nurture young minds. In the classroom children of all ages learn about themselves and the world around them. Outside of the classroom extracurricular activities like sports, academic clubs, band and school field trips provide experiences to help kids imagine all of the possibilities ahead of them.

Create a Chicago Student Trip Itinerary to Inspire Students of Any Age

President Barack Obama’s life has been an amazing journey with struggles and triumphs. He is proof that with hard work, dedication and passion people can live their dreams. President Obama’s story shows children from all walks of life they can be anything they want when they grow up. Here are some ideas for a Chicago student trip itinerary that include some destinations on the “Obama Tour.”

Take a Student Trip to Chicago and Explore the Personal Life of the Obama Family

In order to understand where it all began student tours can follow the suggestion of the Chicago Tribune and visit the Chase Tower, the former home of Sidley & Austin, the law firm where Barack and Michelle Obama first met in 1989. Then stop by to see 1400 East 53rd Street, the location of a brick building that used to be a Baskin Robbins ice ream parlor. It was here that the president and First Lady had their first kiss. Student trips can also include a stop at the basketball courts on Hayes and South Lake Shore Drive where President Obama and his brother in law regularly shot hoops. Next visit the South Shore Cultural Center where the Obamas held their wedding reception in 1992.

At 5450 SE View Park student tours will catch a glimpse of the condominium where Barack and Michelle lived for twelve years before purchasing their Kenwood neighborhood home in 2005. According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times written by Mark J. Konkol, Michelle Obama stated “I love living in Hyde Park, so close to so many of our friends and family. The community is diverse and very family-oriented, and, as the mom of two daughters, I really appreciate that.” The Obama Family Home is not currently open to the public.

Student Tour Destinations that Explore Barack Obama’s History as a Professor, Politician and President

A Chicago student trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the sites associated with President Obama’s academic, political and presidential past. First on the list is the Holy Rosary Catholic Church rectory located at 351 E 113th Street. Obama worked here as a community organizer during the 1980’s. Next students can enjoy a tour of the University of Chicago Law School. President Obama taught here from 1993 until 2003.

In order to spark student conversation about President Obama’s political views stop by Federal Plaza, where then Senator Obama gave a speech against the Iraq war at a rally in 2002.

Student groups may then take a student tour of the campaign trail, which includes:

–233 N Michigan Avenue: the pre-election campaign headquarters.
–151 E Wacker Drive: the Hyatt Regency Chicago where Obama watched the election results.
–East Congress Parkway: Grant Park’s Hutchinson Field where approximately 250,000 came on election night to hear president Obama’s victory speech.

Enjoy Some of Obama Family Favorites on your Student Trip to Chicago

In order to complete a Chicago field trip itinerary include some practical, affordable destinations students can experience first hand. The Chicago Tribune suggests these Obama family favorites.

Shopping Favorites

1508 E 55th Street–What the Traveler Saw Gift Shop
Shop in the gift shop located next to Obama’s former barber that the President would visit.

135 N Jefferson Street: Maria Pinto Boutique
Get a feel for the style of the designer who dressed First Lady Michelle Obama for the Democratic National Convention.

1301 E 57th Street–57th Street Books
Visit this co-op bookstore where the President and First lady are members. President Obama held parties here for the release of his books and Michelle Obama is quoted in the Chicago Sun Times by writer Mark J. Konkol as saying, “The variety of titles, the programs for kids and the neighborhood feel make it a wonderful place to take a walk to and browse around.”

Dining Favorites

445 N Clark Street?Topolobampo
Choose a blue-and-white fabric-covered booth on the south side of the restaurant like the Obamas and make sure to try the guacamole and sopa Azteca.

1518 E 53rd Street–Valois
Located in Hyde Park for over eighty years Valois offers simple, cafeteria style dining.

5412 W Madison Street–MacArthur’s Restaurant
A well-known, soul food restaurant beloved throughout Chicago MacArthur’s is the place to be. Make sure and try an Obama favorite: turkey legs and dressing.

980 N Michigan Avenue–Spiaggia
The president and First Lady ate here the Saturday after the election. According to the Chicago Tribune, rumors say President Obama “loved the wood-roasted scallops.”

Outdoor destinations
2500 North Halsted Street?Mural of Barack Obama
Student travelers: do not miss this eye-catching mural of Barack Obama.

55th Street in the Hyde Park Neighborhood–Promontory Point
Known to Chicago locals as simply The Point, Promontory Point is part of Burnham Park and opened to the public in 1937. The man-made peninsula extends out into lake Michigan and is a popular spot for sunbathers, kayakers, windsurfers and swimmers in the summer.

With all of these destinations to choose from that are linked to President Barack Obama’s past and present, there’s a great deal to see on an Obama tour. Select some top destinations on the Obama tour and add them to a student tour of Chicago. Portions of the Obama tour will also fit nicely into an art or performance tour of the windy city. Whatever a student group’s focus while on tour of Chicago, some short stops on this tour can provide insight into the new President’s formative years as a professor and a politician and his character as a whole.

For more information on the Obama Tour of Chicago, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or simply fill out the brief Request a Quote form.

Planning Educational Student Trips to Chicago: Art Tours

Art Museum Tours: The Perfect Chicago Student Trip

In the windy city of Chicago students and teachers have the opportunity to plan educational field trips to a wide variety of art museums and exhibitions. Whether you plan a senior class trip or a typical high school tour, art tours in Chicago offer a number of artistic perspectives, styles, mediums, collections and educational programs. Exposure to various art mediums and artists teaches, encourages and inspires students of all ages.

Student Art Tours You’ll Want to Include on Your Chicago Field Trip

If you are currently in the process of planning a student trip to Chicago here are some art tours you won’t want to miss.

Student Trips at the Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is more than a school. It is also home to one of the most breathtaking museums in the Chicago area. The Art Institute displays thousands of paintings, sculptures and other artworks from around the world. Collections include African, American, Ancient, Architectural, Medieval, Renaissance, Asian, Contemporary, European, American Indian and Modern art. Students can see the work of famous artists such as John Singer Sargent, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera Ivan Albright, Picasso and Matisse.

Currently the Art Institute is completing construction of The Modern Wing, scheduled to open to the public on May 16, 2009. The Modern Wing will increase gallery space and be home to the Ryan Education Center. In March and May student tours will not be available.

Educational Tours of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) provides guided, self-guided and Curator tours to student groups, families and individuals. The MCA is one of the country’s largest facilities devoted to modern art. Student tours can view contemporary visual art mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, video, film, and performance. The MCA collection features artists from 1945 until the present day. Surrealist, minimalist and conceptual artists are often featured. Student trips to the MCA can also include interactive Creation and Design Labs.

Art-Oriented Field Trips to the University of Chicago
As the future home of the Reva and David Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts, the University of Chicago deems the arts as an integral part of academia. The Center, scheduled to open in 2011 will house theatre and performance, music, and cinema and media studies.

The Center will have classrooms, individual studios, exhibition space for the visual arts, a black-box theater, music practice rooms, a film vault, a lecture/film screening hall, and computer editing labs.

On the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus student tour groups also have access to the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, home to more than 10,000 objects, spanning five millennia of Western and Eastern civilization. The Smart Museum of Art is nationally recognized for its permanent collection, special exhibits, research, outreach and educational programs. In February and March of 2009 construction upgrades to the Smart Museum of Art will be completed. Student tours will not have access to all galleries during this time.

Educational Field Trips to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio

Frank Lloyd Wright lived and worked at his now famous home and studio from 1889 to 1909. Wright’s home became his experimental, architectural laboratory. Here Wright and his colleagues created a new American architecture: the Prairie style. One hundred and twenty-five buildings were designed and constructed. Each spring individual, group and student trips can be planned during the annual Housewalk, during which visitors are able to view the interiors of multiple Wright designed homes. Educational programs are available to help visitors experience architecture first hand and learn more about historic preservation.

A One-of-a-Kind Student Trip: The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum
The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum (NVVAM) is unlike any other Chicago field trip destination. NVVAM displays over 1500 artworks created by artists to chronicle experiences in the Vietnam War. Exhibits are sometimes interactive and always meant to provoke dialogue about the realities of war. The “Things They Carried” exhibit allows children to wear the uniforms, boots and backpacks of Vietnam soldiers.

Art therapy, for many veterans, has been a healthy way to process and express painful memories and feelings. NVVAM is dedicated to helping veterans from all wars share their perspectives with the public. Currently the NVVAM is now showing art by Iraq veterans. Work by a local University of Illinois art student, Aaron Hughes, is now being shown. Hughes served in Iraq for 18 months.

Educational Student Tours of Chicago’s Museum of Mexican Art

Educational field trips to The National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) feature curator Talks and guides as well as children’s and adult art classes. The Museum preserves Mexican culture and educates the public about the Mexican visual and performing arts. As the largest Latino arts institution in the United States, the NMMA is actively involved in community based art programs, cultural equity issues and Latino groups throughout the City of Chicago.

As anyone planning a student trip to Chicago can see, art is a great way to focus the learning experience. Take one or several of these art destinations and add them to an itinerary for any student tour of the Chicago area.