Tag Archives: student tours

Students Travel to Charleston, South Carolina to Learn About Revolutionary War Battle of 1776 and the Siege of 1780

by Howard Clemens

Charleston, South Carolina has a rich history, beginning in the Revolutionary War era and pre-dating it. The Ashley and Cooper Rivers converge to create an inland harbor, making it one of the most prosperous and perfectly formed and located port cities in Early America. Seen as a ‘crown jewel’ city by the British Navy, Charleston was attacked twice in the Revolutionary War: once in 1776, when it was defended by General Moultrie successfully, and again in 1780, when the main peninsula and harbor were commandeered by the British and no ships besides theirs were allowed into port.

Students of history and social studies and even military history can learn much through the active study of Charleston. Since its inception in 1670, Charleston has always been a strategic coastal settlement and bustling port city – and remains so to this day.

While the army of Patriots in the North fought off the British and dealt with traitors (Tories) and espionage, the South was also faced with inconstancy in allegiances. In Georgia, prosperous landowners and businessman aligned with the British, so the state was easily taken over by the British. Some of these sentiments spread to the landowning class in South Carolina. In South Carolina the entire population was not so easily converted to ‘Tories,’ especially in the upstate, the rural areas and the backcountry, where resistance to British rule was strong. So the Revolutionary War resembled a civil war in the South because these open alliances with the British divided families, neighborhoods and towns.

1776: Charleston is Bombarded & Defended During Revolutionary War
The first shots of the American Revolution may have been heard in Massachusetts – but they also resounded in the south in Charleston’s harbor on June 28, 1776. With some foresight, Americans built fortifications at Sullivan’s Island, which sits at the mouth of the harbor. An assault force of nearly 3,000 British soldiers and seaman were repelled by Patriot General Charles Lee in 1776, protecting the city from harm. By engaging the British forces here, the Patriots were able to save Charleston from falling. This important first battle for Charleston encouraged many to join the Patriots and fight for a new united country.

1780: Charleston Under Siege and Occupation
Recalling the battle of 1780, when the British once again attempted to lay siege to Charleston, is a far darker episode in the Revolutionary War. Overwhelmed by the nearly 10,000 British troops in the harbor – the Patriots fought valiantly. The second time the British Naval forces entered the Charleston harbor, they passed Sullivan’s Island and laid siege upon the City. The British successfully captured the Peninsula and the entire city of Charleston fell into British hands on May 12, 1780. Over 5,000 Patriot soldiers were imprisoned and British troops occupied Charleston until the Revolutionary War concluded. Over a year later, the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781 would free Charleston’s occupants from British rule and captivity.

Knowing the history of Charleston’s struggle with Patriotism, it’s no wonder the movie, The Patriot, was filmed in Charleston and in some of its historic homes and estates. Some sites student groups will want to tour include Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumter, the Heyward-Washington House and Middleton Place House Museum. All of these sites date to the Revolutionary War era.

Trip leaders may want to take shorter trips west, into South Carolina, where the Revolutionary War continued. In Camden, South Carolina British troops were met with strong resistance that spread into other battles across Clarendon County. A tour bus can easily take student groups out to selected battlefield destinations. Work with a student travel company to determine which sites work best for Revolutionary War studies and are accessible at the time of year Charleston is visited.

Learn more about a student tour based on Revolutionary War sites in South Carolina. Request a Quote for more information.

Washington Monument still Closed to the Public and Student Travel Groups

by Howard Clemens

The Washington Monument is a popular student travel destination.

The Washington Monument, a popular student travel destination, is still closed for repairs as of February 2013, and the National Park Service is predicting that it may remain closed until 2014.

The Washington Monument was damaged when a rare earthquake struck the East Coast August 23, 2011. Though the impact of the quake was comparatively slight, it was enough to significantly afflict the 555 feet structure. Hurricane Irene, which made landfall later that year, did further damage, particularly to the top of the pyramid-shaped landmark. The elevator system inside the structure was also compromised, though it has since been repaired.  Over the last several years, nature has certainly taken its toll on this historic Washington D.C. monument.

Completed in 1885 and opened to the public in 1888, the Washington Monument is the tallest stone-and-obelisk structure in the world. Located near the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool, it is one of the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations. Countless student trips have visited the inside of the structure and enjoyed the epic views from its observation windows. The White House, the US Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial, the Potomac River, the Smithsonian Museum, and many other famous attractions are all viewable from the monument’s observation areas.

The structure may or may not still be visible during its repair process. The popularity of student tours of Washington D.C. hasn’t declined since the attraction closed, and there is a wealth of other things for student groups to do and see in Washington.

Washington Monument can still be Incorporated into Student Travel Trips

Though students will not have access to the Monument, teachers can use the Web as an excellent tool to prepare students prior to trips. Narrated, virtual tours of the Washington Monument are available online, via YouTube.com and various educational websites, which teachers can use to pique students’ interest in exploring Washington D.C. Washington’s walking tours (like those conducted by organizations like DC By Foot , Washington Walks, Walk of the Town, and numerous others) are as popular as ever, and most feature comprehensive information and/or mini-lectures about the Monument and its history.

Most student trips incorporate a visit to many different famous DC monuments through a monuments tour (which may include the Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Korean, Vietnam, and World War II Memorials). A monument tour is a wonderful way for students to get their fill of D.C. history and learn more about the many monuments in Washington D.C. Groups can also visit Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian Museums, Ford’s Theater, the National Archives, and the Botanical Gardens (which are in bloom year-round).  And there are many historical districts to take in, like the Dupont Circle Historic District, the 16th Street Historical District, the Massachusetts Avenue Historic District, and the nightlife of bustling Georgetown. In springtime, a stroll through Washington D.C. means enjoying the famous cherry trees – a major attraction for student tour groups.

Washington D.C. also offers a number of cruises, which offer students a particularly unique and exciting way to see the city. The Cherry Blossom Cruises, for example, are a beautiful alternate way for students to take in DC’s scenery, and its monuments.  Student groups can also take a narrated, 45-minute long Monument Cruise, which boards every hour on the half hour and offers spectacular “boat’s eye views” of a full range of Washington D.C. landmarks, including the Washington Monument.

The DC cruise website has a section specifically for student travel groups. Some of the cruises offer lunch or dinner, so teachers can plan the trip around whatever they think would be most exciting and informative for their group.

Since the Washington monument is under construction, its status is subject to change, and updates can be found on the “For Teachers” section of the National Park Service’s website. By checking these and other resources and working with student travel coordinators, teachers can put together an unforgettable, definitive DC experience for students.

Student Tour of San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay area is a treasure trove of educational experiences waiting to be explored by student groups.  The West Coast is so different from the East Coast because the history of its settlement started in the Nineteenth Century, instead of the Seventeenth Century.  The landscape and coastal regions of California are a contrast to East Coast geography.  Opportunities for learning about California history include: the Gold Rush, Indian removal, urban activism, marine life in the Pacific Ocean, the transcontinental railroad and more.

I have developed a list of destinations for this tour of San Francisco Bay with commentary on the educational benefits for each place.

Alcatraz Boat Tour
Student tours will visit Alcatraz Island, the famous prison island off the shores of San Francisco. Alcatraz housed some of America’s most dangerous criminals.  The National Park Service now maintains Alcatraz Island as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Alcatraz Island is only a ferry ride away from San Francisco, and includes a historical tour.  Alcatraz was once a military installation, then a federal penitentiary.  Nicknamed, ‘the rock,’ the National Park Service collection illustrates its vivid history, even as it relates to Native American culture.  Student groups will visit and tour Alcatraz Island and the education center to gain a greater understanding of this notorious prison.

Guided Tour of San Francisco

This bus tour will include a local guide narrating the history of San Francisco.  Groups will visit sites such as Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Fort Mason, Nob Hill and more on this historic tour of San Francisco. Students and chaperones are given a general overview of the City of San Francisco and its rich and diverse history.

Ghiradelli Square
This contemporary shopping and dining destination offers one of the most scenic views of the San Francisco Bay and plenty for student groups to do.  Once the flagship factory and headquarters of the Ghiradelli Chocolate empire, today this area of San Francisco is a national historic site that was revived in the 1960s by the Roth family.  Some of the buildings which were saved and renovated include:  The Chocolate Building, Mustard Building, Cocoa Building, Apartment Building, Power Plant and the Clock Tower.

Monterey Aquarium
A short bus ride from San Francisco is Monterey Bay. This scenic and famous stretch of rocky coastline is a stunning example of the natural beauty California has to offer.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers student groups a deeper look at aquatic life found in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay. The Open Sea Exhibit is now open again to visitors after a short period of renovation.  Students can see Green Sea Turtles, Hammerhead Sharks and other species native to the California coastal waters.  Sea otters are plentiful in this climate and captivate students with their adorable faces and interesting personalities. Groups should plan to spend time in the Aviary, where they can see birds that either use the California coast as a flyway, or make their homes there year round.

Big Sur
Big Sur State Park is a rich a varied forest (with Redwood Trees) that leads to rocky cliffs overlooking a wild Pacific Ocean.  In 1884 John Pfeiffer homesteaded a piece of the Big Sur River canyon then later donated it to the state in the 1930s.  Just off Route 1, Big Sur offers breathtaking views of the rough California coast. Student groups can see the 50-foot waterfall that drops into the Pacific Ocean. If there is time, tour groups can take short hikes on 1800 acres of ridges and uplands.  Majestic Redwood trees thrive in areas of the Big Sur forest. In addition, a 1,680 acre underwater reserve allows for exploration of marine life by snorkeling or diving. The park offers Junior Ranger Programs and Nature Walks for school groups.

Great America Theme Park
To add some entertainment to the mix, a trip to California’s Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, California is sure to please students.  Students can take thrill rides, such as Invertigo, Vortex, or Flight Deck to get their adrenaline pumping.  Loggers Run, Rip Roaring Rapids and White Water Falls are also popular with student groups. The Great America Theme Park also provides special concerts and themed events.  Trip leaders can secure specific days with enough advance notice.

This tour of the San Francisco Bay area in California encourages students to explore the great outdoors, urban life and marine life of the Pacific Ocean and Bay. For some students, this may be their only visit to the West Coast. They will have a chance to see Redwood trees, and visit San Francisco, one of the largest port cities in the United States, while they explore a history of settlement that helped define this country’s vastness and ability to expand.

Request a quote for a student trip to San Francisco or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Following the Steps of History: A Student Trip to NYC, Washington D.C., Philadelphia & Gettysburg

For many students living faraway from the East Coast in other parts of the U.S., a student trip is often a once in a lifetime experience. Jason Fulton’s eight grade history students visit the East Coast each summer, departing from Azalea Middle School in Oregon. The educational objectives of the trip are to study the Revolutionary through the Civil War era.  Having his students explore the actual sites where this history took place is important to Fulton, “As we travel through time in the classroom, I focus on the many stops on our trip.  I want the students to understand the land before they walk on it,” commented Fulton.

Students Travel to Three Different States Discovering History

Fulton’s class trip occurs in the summer and includes a packed itinerary that takes students on a historical tour of three different states: New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  The student trip is seven days and five nights and includes a look at some of the most famous historical sites in the East, including Gettysburg, PA, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in New York City, and Mount Vernon in Virginia. This is just a sampling of historical places. This ambitious tour encompasses even more sites.

Active Learning Through Living History in Gettysburg

One of the favorite destinations for students on this school trip was Gettysburg. Here they toured the famous battlefields where there were a massive number of soldiers killed in both the Union and Confederate ranks. Fulton scheduled a ghost tour of Gettysburg for the group. Fulton remarked, “Kids love to be scared!  They also liked to walk the streets of Gettysburg since it too was part of the battlefield.”  The ghosts of Gettysburg helped to ignite their interest in history. So did their meeting with Abraham Lincoln, a living history actor.  “President Lincoln was a kick because of all the knowledge the actor has about Lincoln and the war,” said Fulton.  He said both of these active learning experiences were a great way to assimilate information about the Civil War from different perspectives.

Highlights of Student Tour of Washington D.C. Area

From Gettysburg, students traveled south to the Washington D.C. area.  On the way they visited Antietam Battlefield, Harpers Ferry and Arlington National Cemetery.  During a visit to Mount Vernon the next day, the student group participated in a ceremony where they laid a wreath on George Washington’s grave. “This is a big part of our trip,” said Fulton.  “We have been doing this for many years.  The kids learn how special they are when they lay the wreath.  It is awe inspiring for them.”

Students learn about American History through books, film and the World Wide Web. Yet when they actually have the opportunity to reach out and touch a place where history occurred it seems somehow more memorable.  Making a trip to the East Coast from Oregon for nearly a week takes a commitment of time and resources.  Fulton’s eighth grade students fund their own trips. For many, this opportunity to follow the steps of the great figures of Early American history is desirable, and helps to widen their understanding of the formation of the United States.

Request a Quote for a student trip, or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information.

Philadelphia Art Tours Designed for Student Travel Groups

Philadelphia Art Tour Designed for Student Travel Groups

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, is also place where art flourishes. There are so many different choices for students of art when exploring this particular city. I have designed this selective tour of art venues in Philadelphia for students traveling for educational purposes.  These five art institutions are important museums in Philadelphia that represent the diverse collection of art and artifacts available in the city.  There are numerous private galleries and many other museums to visit in the Philadelphia area.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Located at the center of Ben Franklin Parkway, with a grand stepped entrance where Rocky ran to the top triumphantly, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the premiere place to view art in the city. The museum has over 200 galleries with furniture, sculpture, photography, funerary objects and more. The collection ranges from the art of antiquity to contemporary art.  Many of the permanent exhibitions represent artists from different eras. Trip leaders may want to view the website for up-to-date information on current, rotating exhibitions on view during their visit.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is one of the most prestigious places to study art in the U.S.  The focus is entirely on fine art, with an emphasis on painting, sculpting, and works on paper. The PAFA faculty is distinguished, working artists who exhibit regularly. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum has a substantial permanent collection and also displays rotating exhibitions of American artists.  In May, the graduating class exhibits a senior show at the Museum and it is always well attended.  Students interested in pursuing a career in art will find their visit to the PAFA enlightening.

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

Part of the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute of Contemporary Art is a unique space where living artists exhibit their work. There is no permanent collection at the ICA, so the exhibitions are continually rotating.  Here the student artist may encounter installation art, video art, traditional arts such as painting and sculpture and much more. The idea for the ICA originated with Holmes Perkins, an architecture professor who felt his students should be exposed to contemporary art. The ICA is a strikingly angled building with a unique design. Guided tours are available for student groups, with advance planning.

The African-American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP)

The African-American Museum in Philadelphia is a relatively new museum, begun in 1976. The Museum has four galleries and an auditorium. AAMP is located on Arch Street, close to the Reading Terminal Market and near City Hall.  Rotating exhibits at the AAMP touch upon African-American experiences and contributions to: home life, Civil Rights, arts and culture, entertainment, sports, medicine, architecture, politics, religion, law and technology.  Exhibits cover the African-American experience from pre-colonial times through the present day. Interactive exhibits, educational programs designed for greater understanding of African-American cultural forms of expression, and living history presentations are some of the ways students are encouraged to engage with African-American art.

Rodin Museum

Just across the Parkway from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of Philadelphia’s treasures — the Rodin Museum — beckons students to explore it.  The gate to the Rodin Museum was designed by the master himself, Auguste Rodin. A statue of “The Thinker,” Rodin’s most famous work, sits near the entrance. Jules E. Mastbaum was a wealthy movie theater magnate who became interested in Rodin’s work after a visit to Paris when he began to collect over 100 works. The Museum collection includes bronzes, plasters, terra cotta, ground glass, drawings and more.  Mastbaum made a gift of the Rodin Museum to the City of Philadelphia, and it was opened after his death, in November 1929.  The interior of the Rodin Museum is being renovated and will be closed until late spring of 2012. Student groups are still encouraged to visit the gates, gardens, and grounds, where larger scale pieces Rodin created can be viewed.

For student groups involved in the study and practice of art, Philadelphia has many high caliber museums to tour.

Group leaders may also want to include historical destinations such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell to give students a broader perspective of the city.  For more information about scheduling an art tour, Request a Quote.

A Student Trip to California With an Eco Tour Focus

Students groups studying science, biology, ecology and other related topics may want to consider planning an eco tour of California. This tour would encompass some of the most well known national forests in the United States.  Students would be able to see the California Redwoods up close and visit sites relevant to marine science.  A well-rounded trip might also include a visit to San Francisco, where there are natural areas to explore nearby and within the city limits.

Eco trips are a great opportunity for active learning about the natural world.  Visiting some of California’s natural treasures will impress upon students the importance of preserving these and other areas in the U.S. Following are some suggested itinerary stops for an eco tour of California, along with brief descriptions of what each place has to offer.

Sequoia National Park
Located in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sequoia National Park offers the ecology or science student a rare look at some of the largest mountain ranges in the West (rising to heights of 12,000 feet or greater) and some of the oldest and most well- preserved sequoia redwood trees.  Up until the late 1700s and early 1800s Sequoia National Park was inhabited by two different tribes of native Americans:  The Monache and Yokuts.  Students exploring the park will learn about their history and see their artifacts. In the late 1700s the Spanish explored the region. Later came hunters, trappers, loggers and miners. By 1890 this region became Sequoia National Park. Today it is called Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks – both in the same vicinity of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  In addition to a rich history and some very special trees, the Sequoia National Park is also an excellent site for the study of geology with some unique features of the mountains, canyons and waterways.

Yosemite National Park
The famous naturalist John Muir was one of the main forces behind the creation of Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is approximately 200 miles from San Francisco and just over 300 miles from Los Angeles.  The park encompasses 1,169 square miles and is also home to many larger than life redwood trees.  Almost 95% of the park is designated as wilderness – making it a wonderful location for the study of ecology, biology, geology and other scientific subjects.  The park has many dramatic waterfalls, with Yosemite Falls being the tallest in North America at a height of 2,425 feet.   The highest peak in Yosemite is Mount Lyell at 13,114 feet; the most well-known is Half Dome, at 8,842 feet — this famous peak was cut in half by a glacier. The park offers a great deal of bio- diversity with many different plant and animal species, some which are unique to the park itself.

Cowell Redwoods State Park
At this California State Park, students can take a self-guided nature path tour to become familiar with the flora and fauna in the area. Here students will experience the wonder and magnificence of walking in old growth woods.  There are a variety of trees in the Cowell forest that have never been cut. Some of the trees in this park are 1400-1800 years old. These may include Redwoods and Douglas fir, Mandrone, Oak and Ponderosa pines.  The tallest tree in the state park is 285 feet and approximately 16 feet wide. Students will see the San Lorenzo River and visit the nature center and bookstore to learn more about the trees they see.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

A visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers students the chance to see the marine life that lives and feeds near the California coastline up close.  Some of the sea creatures that inhabit the aquarium include octopus, sea otters, pink flamingos and other wading birds and penguins. A visit to the Aviary offers a look at birds and animals that live near the ocean’s edge, including:  the leopard shark, sand crab, bat ray, bay ghost shrimp, North American plovers and red phalarope.  For student trips designed for seeking a more interactive adventure, group leaders can plan a sailing trip or surface scuba diving adventure with the Aquarium dive staff in the Great Tide Pool.

Morro Bay State Park

Students can further explore species that live on the California coast by taking a glimpse at marine life in the Morro Bay and lagoon.  The group can visit the Morro Bay State Park Museum and learn about the cultural history of the Morro Bay area, Native American settlements that once existed there and the unique geology of the bay. Groups can visit the saltwater marsh where they will have the opportunity to watch native birds in their natural habitat.  Another suggested stop near Morro Bay is the Museum of Natural History where they can opt to take a nature walk, view the exhibits, and learn about the Chumash and how they used native plants in their diets and daily lives.  The Museum of Natural history tour is recommended because it will further deepen students’ knowledge of the area.

If student groups have time in their schedule and wish to visit an urban area, San Francisco offers Twin Peaks and Fort Point National Historic Site, and other eco tour options. They can also visit well-known sites, such as the downtown district, Chinatown, Cannery Row and other places.

Eco tours are a rewarding experience for both teacher and student, because this type of trip is a great complement to learning through reading.  Teachers interested in advance preparation for trips can visit the websites of locations discussed in this article for learning modules and other materials.

To request a quote for an eco tour visit  http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com and fill out the brief questionnaire. Or, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

School Choir Teacher Takes Students on Trip to NYC and Washington D.C.

Performance tours are designed for student musicians and choirs to bring their music and song to new audiences.  These tours include visits to major student travel destinations such as Washington D.C., New York City or Orlando with fun, interesting and historical sites on the itinerary.  In addition to touring, there is a pre-booked performance date at a well-known location, such as the Statue of Liberty or Washington Cathedral.

I recently interviewed a teacher from Hawaii, Cora Palafox Aczon, who has traveled with her school choir for 13 years. Aczon began traveling since 1998 with her student choir to perform in different places like California, New York, Washington, D.C., and even in Vancouver.  Aczon says, “I started organizing these tours for choir purposes.  It is an opportunity to showcase the God-given talents of the students, and also to appreciate other parts of the world.”

Aczon has been a teacher for 16 years at Saint Anthony School (Honolulu), a private Catholic educational institution. As part of its religious mission, the school serves its own community in a variety of ways.  The choir sings at St. Anthony Parish on Sundays, First Fridays, Family Masses, and special days.  They also bring their music to the malls, community gatherings, and other places.  So it made perfect sense to me that the group leader would be interested in engaging students in community service while traveling in other cities.

There is always community work to be done, no matter where the student choir is traveling. Since service is part of the agenda for Aczon’s school trips, I take some time to research retirement communities, churches, and non-profit organizations in the area where her group is touring, to find organizations that serve the elderly, sick or disadvantaged populations. During the trip planning process, I run a few ideas past Cora Aczon to get a feel for what type of site works best for her group. The choir’s performance is always a welcome special event, no matter where they may be booked. Sometimes the choir’s performance location is determined by the travel dates and scheduled openings at host organizations.  If the group leader plans far enough in advance, he or she may have a choice of different locations

It is a long trip to the mainland United States from Hawaii.  The most recent trip Saint Anthony’s School Choir made was to New York City and Washington D.C. Aczon told me, “Some of the students and parents have never been to the mainland U.S.  Most of the students and parents have not gone to the East Coast yet.  They have read a great deal about these places in books, and have seen these places in movies.  The group wanted to have the feel and experience of being there, even just for a short time.” A performance tour is a wonderful way to explore the cities students study in history class. The performance allows students to take time to interact with the community, and get to know people there in a more intimate way.

On their visit to New York City, the Saint Anthony School Choir visited many popular destinations such as the United Nations, NBC Studios, the Empire State Building and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. They also toured Manhattan, dined at Planet  Hollywood and saw the Broadway musical, “Mary Poppins.”  The choir was scheduled to sing at the Statue of Liberty, but the entire group was a bit disappointed when their outdoor performance was rained out. Nevertheless, their visit to NYC was a memorable one and there were many positive experiences on their journey.

The Saint Anthony School Choir’s visit to Washington D.C. and performance there went as planned.  In D.C., the choir visited Arlington National Cemetery, Smithsonian American and Natural History Museums, the Supreme Court, the U.S. Capitol, Mount Vernon, and the Holocaust Museum.  The group even attended mass, and sang at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Capitol Hill.  They also performed at the Air & Seaman’s Home – where they were very well received.  Aczon recalled, “The choir’s performance was emotionally moving.  Some of the residents said they were at Pearl Harbor on December 7th and seeing and hearing the kids from Hawaii brought back memories of World War II.”  When student performance groups make a connection to people at the place they perform, they begin to understand that singing and community service does have an impact.

Student tours should provide active learning opportunities.  There must always be time for recreation and fun as well. I feel that performance tours with community service on the itinerary also open up the possibility of getting to know something about contemporary life and the people who live in large urban areas.  With community service as a component to a performance tour, students are able to hear and see the results of their work.  People in the community also have the chance to learn more about the lifestyles of the places where students originate. This exchange enriches all involved.

For more information about booking a performance tour or band trip, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com to request a quote.

Student Group Travel: Take a Band Trip to New York City

A high school band trip is one of the most exciting moments in the school year for the student musician. For the high school band, a trip to New York City could mean the ultimate in performance opportunity.

There are certainly plenty of choices for a student group interested in performing in either an adjudicated music festival setting or a performance that is not judged in New York City. This article will give band leaders, music teachers and other student trip planners an overview of some of the major performance and adjudicated music festival venues in the New York City area.

Take the Band to an Adjudicated Music Festival at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey

For high school bands that wish to compete, Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ is just a short bus ride from New York City, and offers superb stages outfitted with excellent equipment. Perform in the auditorium and spend the rest of the day at Six Flags riding the roller coasters, log flumes, and other fun activities.

The Six Flags Music Fest usually occurs in mid-May and is a great opportunity to perform and compete. Bands who do not want to compete in the adjudicated music festival with other schools may still perform and receive a rating from judges. This Six Flags Music Festivals are attended by high school bands, orchestras, ensembles, and choirs from across the United States. Six Flags Great Adventure provides musical performance stages with microphones and amplifiers as well as some percussion instruments.

Adjudicated Music Festivals Held at Universities and Colleges in Early Spring

College is still in session in early spring. Many high school bands that visit New York City compete at two universities within a short distance: Montclair State University or Rutgers University. Student band trip planners may book adjudicated appearances March-April.

Student performances are staged and judged in college auditoriums and award dinner ceremonies are held at nearby restaurants. The benefits of performing in a collegiate setting include ample seating, excellent acoustics and a quality sound system set-up and ready for student performances. Many of the judges are well known as musicians and directors of the finest bands and orchestras in this country.

Band Trips: Perform at New York City Venues

If the high school band wants to perform publicly in New York City without adjudication there are some wonderful venues to select from that will give the students excellent visibility. The company I own, Educational Travel Consultants, has booked student performance groups at the Statue of Liberty, United Nations, or Lincoln Center. Consider one of these locations as a place to reach out and find a wider audience for a high school band. Remember to book well in advance (6 months to one year) to ensure the performance will take place at the chosen venue.

Complement public performances for the high school bands with some exciting itinerary choices. Add some variety to the student travel itinerary. Many student trips to New York City tour Lincoln Center, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or Chinatown. Student groups may enjoy some of the best art museums in the world or take in a Broadway show. Students may also visit some of the finest delicatessens in the U.S. and dine at the Hard Rock Cafe, or a Medieval Dinner theater.

Most importantly, work with an educational travel consultant who is experienced in music festivals and touring New York City. Whatever a student group trip planner chooses for entertainment and dining — a qualified student travel consultant will assist in building an excellent trip to New York City designed specifically for the high school band. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

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.

Planning an Exciting Band Trip: Educational Student Tours Near Washington DC

In today’s modern world planning student trips everyone will enjoy can be a daunting task. Planning a trip for the high school or junior high band can add even more complexity. Band trips can be designed to have something for everyone. If a student group plans to attend one of Washington D.C.’s most popular festivals, the trip can be designed to suit music and art students. Here are a few suggestions for your next student band trip.

A Band Trip to Washington D.C.: The Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

In 1912 Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington D.C. in honor of the relationship between the United States and Japan. In 1915 the United States returned the sentiment with a gift of flowering dogwoods for the people of Japan. By 1935 the first Cherry Blossom Festival was held and the tradition has continued ever since. Currently over one million people visit Washington DC each year to see the cherry trees in full glory and to enjoy different festival events, which include the annual Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is one of the highlights of the festival each year. Huge parade balloons, musical performers, celebrities, marching bands and more fill Constitution Avenue while TV stations broadcast the parade live. The parade features a wide variety music including:

1. Singers like American Idol finalist (2nd season) Kimberly Locke, Grammy winner Thelma Houston, Disney Radio star Joey Page and Miss America 2009 Katie Stam.
2. Student Performers come from far and wide to play at the festival. Students from the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Philadelphia, the All-Star Tap Team and Youth Choir and marching bands from as far as Elko High School in Nevada make it to the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.
3. Broadway performances by the cast of Chicago and songs from Mamma Mia! have also been part of the festival and the Broadway tradition will likely continue.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the perfect destination for a high school band trip to Washington DC, whether students want to watch on the sidelines or participate in the parade fun. To plan an extra special band trip consider attending the 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival, the centennial anniversary of Japan’s beautiful gift to the nation’s capital. Always plan at least a year or more in advance to schedule band performances in the parade. Be certain to work with a qualified student travel professional that has experience in putting together band trips.

Make Sure to Wear Green on Your Student Trip to the Washington D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Another great plan for a high school band trip is to attend or participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Washington, DC. Started in 1971, the annual St. Pat’s parade is a community endeavor supported by the Irish American Club and city officials. Each year a noteworthy person is chosen as the parade Grand Marshall. A parade theme is announced and the honored title of Gael of the Year is bestowed on a deserving member of the community.

Invitations are sent to marching bands, performers, organizations, floats and groups the parade committee feels are appropriate for the parade celebration. Student band trip itineraries can be created to secure great seating to watch the parade or groups can schedule time to perform in the parade. To learn more about receiving an invitation for your band visit the parade web site at www.dcstpatsparade.com.

A Band Trip to Virginia Students Will Love: The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Each year more than 250,000 visitors descend upon the small town of Winchester, Virginia to enjoy a week of fun activities that comprise the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. For student trips headed to Washington D.C. the Apple Blossom Festival is a great addition. Since 1924, the annual festival has grown to include parades, dances, band competitions, floats, a 10K run, music, a carnival, a circus, sporting, events, car shows, craft shows, delicious food and the traditional Apple Blossom Pageant.

High school band trips, student musical tours and student performance trips to Washington D.C. can all be planned around the Apple Blossom Festival. Musically inclined students may enjoy seeing some famous faces. In the past the Apple Blossom Festival has been proud to host celebrities like Fantasia Barrino, Wayne Newton, Sea Astin, Dan Akyroyd, Katie Couric, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball who have served as grand marshals. In 2009 American Idol star Bucky Covington will headline the week’s concerts.

A must see event for band trips and student groups is the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah and the annual Pageant. The coronation ceremony is fashioned after the ceremonies of the British monarchy and the Pageant originally featured a performance by over 1,000 local school children. The annual Pageant has been held on the steps of Handley High School since 1925 and the traditional Royal Command Performance is presented by the Handley Singers.

If you are planning a band trip, student performance tour or a simple group excursion festivals can be an excellent plan whether you are in Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia or anywhere else in the United States. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote for a student travel company that can help manage all of the details, itineraries and events.