Tag Archives: student tour new york city

On-site Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Still Closed to Student Groups Visiting New York City

by Howard Clemens

The Statue of Liberty is a popular student travel destination in NYC. It has been closed since Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012 but will reopen later in 2013.

Post Hurricane Sandy damage does have an affect on student groups, because as of February 2013, the Statue of Liberty, a major NYC student travel destination, is still closed.  But student tour groups can still experience an awe-inspiring view of Lady Liberty by taking a scenic and exciting cruise around it. The famous landmark, located on its very own 12 acre mini piece of land known as Liberty Island, was flooded out—though fortunately not damaged—when Hurricane Sandy hit it last October.

Hurricane Sandy put nearly 75 percent of Liberty Island underwater. The island is still without power, but generators are being used to light the statue, so students will still be able to appreciate the wonder of seeing it lit up at night. The Statue of Liberty was undergoing renovation and had reopened to the public on October 28 of last year—her 125th anniversary—only to be closed again the following day when the hurricane hit.

Ellis Island has also been closed since Hurricane Sandy struck in late October 2012.

Student Travel Leaders, Alternatives for Trips to NYC Include Boat Tours

Historical Ellis Island, located in nearby Jersey City, NJ, is also still closed to visitors. The Island was almost completely submerged during the storm, and is still in the process of being cleared of debris and restored to normal, but students will still be able to see it by cruising around it. There are many Harbor tour companies in the NYC area that go all over Manhattan Island, some of which, like City Sights New York, feature dinner or brunch. Circle Line Sightseeing Tours offers day or night cruises ranging from three hours to 75 minutes. It’s easy to make a day or night-out of the expedition, depending on the particular teacher’s objectives and the student travel group’s schedule. One of the area’s most popular cruises is the Statue of Liberty Harbor Cruise, which departs 14 times a day on the half hour. As the historical entry point for millions of immigrants, Ellis Island is an important site for any student tour of NYC to include.  Staten Island, another popular student travel destination, is accessible, though parts of it are still undergoing relief efforts.

Student Tours to NYC Offer Many Options Despite Closings

No teacher or student travel group leader should have to feel that their students are going to be compromised by the closures or that their students are going to miss out on one of the highlights of a student tour of New York City.  There are still a multitude of cultural sites for students to see in the city. Some of the most popular ones include the Broadway theater district and Times Square, the United Nations, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students can also visit Greenwich Village, Chinatown, and Little Italy to immerse themselves in the kinds of hands-on, authentic cultural experiences that only the Big Apple can offer.

Post Sandy Experience of NYC Landmarks Affords Antique Historical Perspective for Students

It should also be remembered that post-Hurricane Sandy boat tours around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can provide students a unique historical perspective, as closures of this sort are obviously rare. Combining a cruise around the sites with visits to other important NYC landmarks can be an enlightening way for students to try to put contemporary events and challenges into perspective, especially surrounding issues of diversity and immigration.  Visiting Ellis Island and seeing the Statue of Liberty by boat is a reminder that these issues must be incorporated into studies in ways that will enrich their understanding of the times they live in. Hurricane Sandy is also a pivotal point in NYC history, so such perspectives have value as a regional examination, as well.

There is a tentative reopening date of October 2013 for both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Student travel organizers can keep abreast of developments by visiting the official National Park Service website, or visiting their Twitter page.

For more information about student trips to NYC, request a quote online.

High School Orchestra Takes Performance Trip to New York City

Deb Wesoloski has been the Orchestra Director at Berea High School in Berea, Ohio, for 25 years. As an enthusiastic, popular teacher who is passionate about music and loves to introduce her students to new cities and influences, she has always tried to make travel a part of her curriculum. Wesoloski believes education should be hands-on, interactive, and as multifaceted as possible. So, she takes her student musicians on tour every three years.  In March of 2011, the group traveled to New York City, where they had the privilege and thrill of performing at the United Nations headquarters.

Student Trip Includes United Nations Performance
“The UN was by far the best venue we’ve ever played on a tour,” said Wesoloski. “This has been our favorite destination ever! We performed a variety of selections, from standard classics by Tchaikovsky to contemporary/popular favorites like Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida’” and Green Day’s “21 Guns”. We learned our music in nine weeks, or about one school quarter. The students had the opportunity to see new sights and to perform for an audience outside our district, which always brings out very positive reactions. Students were excited that many audience members videotaped our performance.” The whole experience gave students a feeling of ambition and adventure, and gave them a taste of what life as a professional orchestral musician in the big city could be like.

Student Tour Sites in NYC

The group visited a range of New York’s world-famous landmarks: the Empire State Building, NBC Headquarters, Chinatown, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They also took a trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and attended a performance of the Broadway musical “Phantom of the Opera”. The legendary lights of Broadway, the hustle of the big city, and the experience of being up close to the performers was unforgettable. New York worked its magic on the group. “We chose these places because they were all diverse and had cultural and historical points of interest all the students could enjoy and learn about,” said Wesoloski. “New York has something for everybody, and I wanted the students to be able to soak it all up and get as much as they could out of it, which they did,” she added.

Post Trip Wrap Up at School
Upon their return, Wesoloski’s students had extended discussions about their trip, comparing impressions and reliving and reevaluating their adventure through the lens of their new knowledge and experience. Their photos and accounts of the trip were posted in school publications, making the whole enterprise into a multimedia project that could be shared with everyone. Many of the students seemed changed by the experience, increasingly compelled to pursue their dreams and their potential as musicians—which, of course, was exactly what Wesoloski hoped the trip to New York City would inspire.

Having a Tour Guide Who Works Well With Musicians

“Our experience was excellent,” Wesoloski said. “Our tour guide was superb and knew the city inside and out, and made sure set-up of the performance went perfectly smoothly.” The guide had answers to every question they asked, and her expertise and enthusiasm made the whole trip an exciting whirlwind and a pleasure. No stone was left unturned. “It was everything we’d hoped it would be,” said Wesoloski.
Visit www.EducationalTravelConsultants.com to request a quote for a student trip.

Broadway Musicals in New York City that Appeal to Student Travel Groups

Student groups traveling to New York City this fall or upcoming spring will want to be booked for a fun and entertaining evening on Broadway. I have scheduled many different types of tours (art tour, educational travel, history, music festival) to New York City. I will make some recommendations for Broadway Shows that are appropriate for high school age groups. These shows are popular choices among student travel groups, and are sure to please and captivate all.

Instead of Dorothy and her dog, the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good witch are featured in this Broadway rendition of a rewrite of The Wizard of Oz. Gregory Maguire wrote the novel Wicked, which tells the tale of Oz from a different perspective – that of the witches — not Dorothy and Toto. Even the Wizard of Oz is a bit offbeat and differs from the way he is depicted in the movie. Students love this drama, which includes some special effects that are sure to dazzle.

Lion King
Centered around the story of Simba, a young lion prince, this Disney classic will enthrall student audiences. The story is one of youth, loss, reckoning with the past and destiny. Simba flees his homeland after the murder of his father by Scar, his uncle. On the road he meets funny, loving companions who start him on a new path in life. Then he is called back to African Pride Lands to assume his role as king, and challenge the evil uncle who took his father’s life. The Lion King score has a powerful African style drumbeat as well a popular tune composed by Elton John and Tim Rice, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Students will want to book early for this popular show, which is usually sold out well in advance.

Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera is a story and a soundtrack known across the world. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s highly acclaimed inspirational music weaves the love story together. The Phantom is based on the actual story of a man who lived beneath the Paris Opera House when it was first built. The fictional storyline centers on an obsessed and secretive composer who is in love with Christina, a new opera star. The musical is filled with acts of love and betrayal. The stage set-up for The Phantom of the Opera allows for surprise entrances and solos for the Phantom, who also ‘haunts’ the opera house in surprising ways. This Broadway classic is sure to delight student audiences.

Mama Mia
Featuring the music of Abba, this Broadway show is an upbeat performance that will put students in that 70s mood. Dancing in the aisles is not unusual for this event, which encourages singing along too. Mama Mia is energetic and an excellent choice for high school student travel groups. It’s not recommended for younger groups since the plot hinges on the discovery of the real father of Sophie, and involves a closer look at her mother’s past and Sophie’s true paternity. Mama Mia is a wonderful choice for high school students traveling to New York City.

Shrek the Musical
Shrek is a fairytale adventure of a fantasy creature and his friends, Donkey and Princess Fiona, and his nemesis, Lord Farquaad. Shrek was a feared monster that lived in an isolated swamp. Then one day a fairytale group of people emerged into the woods after being evicted from their homes, and spoke of their anger towards Lord Farquaad. Shrek agreed to help them get their homes back and he agreed to the rescue of Princess Fiona eventually, too. The beast falls for the beauty in this Broadway musical. Shrek is always a surefire winning choice for students, who love the costuming and setting as well as the story.

This short list of Broadway musicals is not intended to be comprehensive. But, it will serve a high school group travel coordinator well as a choice of Broadway musicals students tend to prefer.

Any student travel group headed to New York City next spring needs to book now in order to obtain seating at a Broadway musical on desired travel dates. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote.

Put “Bodies: The Exhibition” on a Student Tour Itinerary of New York City

New York City is the host city for “Bodies: The Exhibition,” the controversial art exhibit that has been touring the country for a few years now. This art exhibition reveals the body in different positions – from the inside out. The sinews, blood vessels, and spinal system are all revealed in their minute complexity and stunning beauty. So are a multitude of bodily organs, both healthy and unhealthy.

“Bodies: The Exhibition” is a wonderful educational experience, because it helps people to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Many have never experienced looking inside the body to see the delicate structures which are beneath the skin. By taking a closer look at different exhibits, students will come to understand why it is so important to keep the body operating at optimum performance. The body’s systems are all integrally related.

The controversy over “Bodies: The Exhibition” stems mostly from the origins of the actual bodies used to construct the art show. In order to use bodies in a traveling exhibit, permissions from the deceased’s family are standard. However, the bodies in this show were unidentified or unclaimed bodies from China. Knowing the origins of the subjects in the exhibition bothers some, though not all who attend. Many have speculated that to be immortalized in this exhibit might just be preferable to being buried or cremated and forgotten.

Egyptian predecessors used mummification processes that drained the bodily fluids, placed vital organs in jars, and preserved the body with natural salt-based substances. The bodies in this exhibition were preserved with liquid silicone rubber, a contemporary compound that adds fluidity to the corpse and ensures that the bodies will not decay. This is much like mummification, only better.

The 20 human cadavers are staged in a variety of poses to highlight the interior bodily processes that are stressed in different positions. These dramatic poses let the viewer see exactly how the body moves on the inside, when it is in motion.

For science students, and students of anatomy, “Bodies: The Exhibition” is highly recommended. But student travel groups still don’t want to miss “Bodies: The Exhibition” in New York City, just because a field trip focus is not science. The show and the educational materials that accompany it are designed to reach students across the curriculum, including art, archeology, health sciences and more. Attending the show is a great way to educate students of all ages including elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as those in college.

Teachers who want to prepare groups in advance of the trip to New York City to see “Bodies: The Exhibition” may request a Teacher’s Guide for use in the classroom.

Many visitors who have attended the exhibition from around the country have raved about “Bodies: The Exhibition.” Because bodies are dissected, embryos and fetuses from bodies are shown, and the human samples could actually be criminals from Chinese jails, the show still remains controversial. Some viewers have commented that a view of the internal organs and bodily processes is a bit much to stomach, but somehow they have not found it gory, just hard to look at for long.

“Bodies: The Exhibition” will be in New York City at the South Street Seaport Exhibition Centre at 11 Fulton Street through the end of 2008. Teachers in the greater New York City area are invited to come for a special preview of the exhibit on Thursday, September 25 from 4-9 p.m. or Friday September 26 from 4-10 p.m.

Visit “Bodies: The Exhibition” website online and watch “The Field Trip” to gauge previous student and adult reactions. In the meantime, put aside reservations about bringing a student travel group to the exhibit. “Bodies” is a valuable educational tool with the potential to have a huge impact on our perceptions of the body, and our selves.

Performance Tours for Drama Students: Travel to New York City and Toronto

Drama departments and drama clubs in high school and even junior high are filled with students who could benefit from a unique travel experience to a larger, more urban area, such as Toronto, or New York City. In these two North American cities, the Broadway theater district thrives. An international audience visits Toronto and New York City to see the newest, most popular Broadway plays and musicals.

New York City and Toronto: The Best of Broadway

As a student travel tour consultant, I have specialized in bringing theater groups on performance tours that include pre or post Broadway show workshops to enhance the theater going experience. These unique active learning experiences offer the perfect academic complement to an evening of theater in New York City or Toronto.

A High School Musical Tour to Broadway
Combine a trip to Broadway play or musical with a visit to an authentic Broadway Classroom Basic Workshop. In the past, students have seen such famous plays as Wicked, The Lion King, and Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in New York City or in Toronto. Prior to watching shows, Broadway actors and actresses describe and illustrate their professional, highly visible roles on Broadway and offer education and insight about the professional theater industry and their craft.

Active Learning for Educational Group Travel
Students learn a great deal in the Broadway Classroom Basic Workshops. In many instances, it is Broadway actors themselves teaching classes in Toronto and New York City. Students come to understand that work in professional theater has its rewards as well as challenges and demands. Student travel groups involved in drama departments or drama clubs gain an insider’s viewpoint on the theater community, and its inner workings, in these major cities.

Broadway Classrooms Basic Workshops Offered
for Student Travel Groups

Broadway Classroom offers excellent, hands-on theater workshops for the drama student or drama club participant.

Broadway 101
In this drama workshop, students will be given a fresh overview of the artistic, political, and social significances of Broadway Theater. They will come to understand the special training involved in becoming a Broadway actor or actress. Drama students gain valuable lessons in voice, storytelling, and focus/listening exercises in the Broadway 101 workshop.

Theater in Context
The subjects of Broadway plays and musicals are derived from many different cultures and time periods. Learning about the historic and literary periods that the Broadway show was created within assists a drama student to widen his or her perception of the work when he or she sees it performed.

Stage Combat
This safe, student friendly workshop illustrates the way in which fights and other forms of combat are staged in contemporary theater. Professionals show students how collaboration and spectacle combine to make combat seem real on stage.

Theater Sports
This workshop shows drama students and drama club members how to work as a team to communicate effectively and create great scenes. Students will learn about increasing focus and attention, activating their creativity, and attuning themselves to the sensitivities of others.

Attending a Broadway play or musical is an exciting event, for any student. Yet for a drama student or drama club member, Broadway can actually be a professional goal. By attending the Broadway Classroom workshops, the educator is encouraging student travel groups to attain this lofty goal, and grounding it in some reality. For many students, a real glimpse into behind the scenes of Broadway inspires the dream, and helps shape it for the future. Visit Educational Travel Consultants for more information on the performance tour to New York City or Toronto.

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