Tag Archives: student travel company

Antietam: A Civil War Battle to Defend the Capital and Gateway to the North

by Howard Clemens

Student groups studying the Civil War Battle of Antietam will find a visit to this historic place to be a beneficial learning experience. Named after a creek in Maryland near Sharpsburg, Antietam Creek once ran through farmland and forests. It was in this remote section of Maryland that General Robert E. Lee made his first incursion into the North and took a firm stand against the Union Army.

The fated day of the battle of Antietam was on September 17, 1862. This first battle in Maryland was traumatic, with 100,000 soldiers clashing. Over 23,000 soldiers were lost during the 12-hour battle of Antietam with casualties the heaviest on the Confederate side, around 15,000 soldiers. Although most people believe Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, in fact it was the Battle of Antietam.

Antietam was part of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s overall strategy of advancing his Army of Northern Virginia into the North. This would bring the Civil War to the Union territories. He hoped to inspire some to rethink their position on the Civil War altogether. In Maryland, the populace was divided as to allegiance to North or South. Lee sought to convince the slaveholders and propertied landowners of Maryland to join the Confederate cause.

Not far away, Washington D.C., the Union Capital city, needed to be defended. Lee’s first attempt to bring the battleground North was also seen as a mighty force being brought upon the nation’s capital. His invasion was answered with the full force of the Union Army.

General Robert E. Lee gathered his army on the western banks of Antietam Creek. Meanwhile, Stonewall Jackson’s troops held the left flank and General James Longstreet’s army held the center position for the Confederates. Human losses at Antietam were devastatingly large because the battle lasted over 12 hours. There were huge casualties on both sides. On September 18th, both armies carried the wounded away and buried their dead.

Lee and the Confederate Army took leave of Sharpsburg and Maryland altogether. They crossed the Potomac River back into Virginia, much to the relief of the Union soldiers and citizens of the North. This first decisive battle would leave its mark on Confederate and Union troops. It surely was a bold move by a General whose strategy was unique and took chances.

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The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

For the small town of Sharpsburg, Maryland this battle of the Civil War was a devastating blow. Properties were destroyed and crops were burned. Much was lost, including livestock and other food sources. Now the people of the North knew what it was like to live amongst battle torn countryside and ruins.

Students Travel to Battle Site to Learn More About Antietam
Prior to a planned class trip to Antietam National Battlefield, students will want to study this year in the Civil War that included other decisive battles. One such battle was for Harpers Ferry, which took place in tandem with Antietam. While Lee positioned troops on the northern front, Stonewall Jackson’s army took Harpers Ferry, a town that possessed a strategic railway station and a large munitions cache.

Another focus area of study may include an investigation into Lee’s strategy to bring the Confederate Army – and Civil War – North. By visiting Antietam, students can participate in the Parks as Classroom program and learn more about the background of the land, its people and the soldiers who fought there. At the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center students can review historical photographs, sketches and paintings of the battlefields during Revolutionary times and tour the battlefields today to learn more about pivotal skirmishes during the battle.

When considering a class trip Antietam, teachers and trip leaders may want to schedule a trip to Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia to to visit other key Revolutionary War Sites. Request a Quote or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Advance Planning for Student Tours of D.C. to Include White House and Capitol

2015  Student Travel Update

by Howard Clemens

Government, Social Studies & History Teachers often take class trips to Washington D.C. to experience democracy at work. This type of active learning is a great way to immerse students into thinking and questioning about various facets of the U.S. government. Security measures are more complex across the United States and internationally – and rules change from time to time. Nowadays, teachers and trip leaders must be aware advance planning is needed to tour the White House and the Capitol.

For student tour groups headed to Washington D.C. – there are some recent changes in rules about bringing electronic devices to the White House, too. The good news is that students can now bring smart phones in the White House, so long as they do not use it to take video (only still shots). With enough planning, student groups can be well informed about what to bring – and what items to leave on the bus or in the hotel room.

Student Tours of the White House
There is no denying that a tour of the White House can be a memorable experience for students and persons of any age. Trip leaders must be prepared well in advance of the student trip to Washington D.C. A minimum of six months planning time may be required to ensure that every person who is attending the tour provides a formal name, date of birth and city in advance of the trip. On the day of the White House tour, each person must present a valid government picture Identification that matches the information provided exactly. Acceptable forms of ID include: valid government issued photo IDs, drivers license, military ID or a passport for foreign students.

In the past, students were not allowed to bring electronic devices such as smart phones and cameras on tour of the White House. On July 15, 2015 the White House, through Michelle Obama, declared (on a YouTube.com video) that visitors are now allowed to bring their smart phones and small cameras (lens must be 3” or less) on tours. No video recorders are allowed on tour and no live streaming of videos on any device is permitted. Lifting the ban on cell phones and small cameras on White House tours is excellent news for student travelers. Many students want to take photographs and post them to social networks while they tour Washington D.C. Now they can share their experience with others publicly.

Leave Personal Items Behind
While student groups may bring smart phones and cameras, they still must leave their purses, handbags, book bags and backpacks behind on the bus or in the hotel. Similar to school zones, no explosives or firearms are allowed. This includes: aerosol containers, guns, ammunition, fireworks, weapons or knives of any size.

Students may bring their smart phones and cameras but they are still expected to give their full attention on tour. This means students are not permitted to talk or text while on tour. Students will not be allowed to use flash photography, or – as already mentioned – video recording or live streaming on their devices.

Trip leaders and teachers need to make students aware they are in a sensitive area for national security and breeches are taken seriously. While security measures have loosened in some respects, the Secret Service still reserves the right to confiscate phones if they are used in the White House.

Educational Tours of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

Though the rules are less strict in the Capitol Building for touring student groups, the advance time frame of six months or more to schedule a tour is still relevant. An educational travel company can book the student group tour online or through the school’s Senator or Representative’s office. Trip leaders do not need to provide advance lists of visitors for a tour of the Capitol.

Electronic devices are allowed in the Capitol Building, but not in Senate and House Galleries. Students will be expected to hand over their battery operated electronic devices, cameras and video recording devices of any kind before entering. These items will be securely stored and then returned to visitors once their time in the galleries is concluded.

Student groups can expect to begin the tour at the Capitol Visitor Center, where they will see a brief film, “Out of Many, One” on establishing democracy. Then they will be escorted into the Capitol to see the Crypt, the Rotunda, and the National Statuary Hall. The student tour will end at the Capitol Visitor Center.

Visiting these significant buildings in Washington D.C. is a must for students of history, social studies and government. Seeing government representatives in action, in the environment where political, legal and social battles are fought will be a strong memory for years to come.

Learn more about custom tours of Washington D.C. which include a visit to the White House and Capitol Building. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or visit Request a Quote.

Foreign Student Trips to Washington, D.C.: Winding Shopping, Dining & Sightseeing Together

The National Harbor is a shopping, dining and entertainment area on the shores of the Potomac River in MD, that overlook the D.C. skyline.
The National Harbor is a shopping, dining and entertainment area on the shores of the Potomac River in MD, overlooking the D.C. skyline.

by Howard Clemens

Washington, D.C. is the center of American political and social life and has been a hub for international visitors since the beginning. For foreign students traveling to Washington D.C. for the first time, it is almost always a thrilling experience. However, seeing everything that the area has to offer can take weeks. So the question for trip leaders may be – where is a student tour group to start? And which are the most important points of interest?

Many students from other countries want to shop in the U.S. They can obtain goods that may not be available in their country. Trip leaders need to know that there are several points of interest in the Washington D.C. area where the visitor can combine sightseeing, shopping and dining.

National Harbor: A Grand View of Washington D.C.
With its many shops and restaurants, The National Harbor is situated on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. It is a great place to kick off any excursion. Students can board The Capitol Wheel, a towering 180-foot wheel with enclosed cars, that offers sweeping views of the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol building, and the whole glittering panorama of the city itself. Groups can also cruise the Potomac (or even sail right to the National Mall & Memorial Parks) on the Alexandria-National Harbor Water Taxi, which operates day and night.

When it’s time to shop, choose from 150 retailers, with an outlet mall that appeals to everyone. There are also 30 different restaurants to choose from at the National Harbor, ranging from McDonald’s to a high end dining experience overlooking the Potomac.

Downtown Washington D.C. also has more than its share of fun theme restaurants: the Madhatter, which has been a city institution for more than 30 years, takes its name, its décor, and its inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. Or, have the student group sample some Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. Here, patrons can sample maple-bacon, s’more, or passionfruit pastries. Astro Doughnuts is the kind of fun and quirky eatery that students are bound to love.

Shop, Dine & be Entertained in Georgetown
There’s also never any shortage of shopping, historical sights, and dining in D.C.’s legendary Georgetown neighborhood. Students can take the Gastronomic Georgetown Food Tour, an outing that will expose them to gourmet French and Italian cuisine, delectable desserts from D.C.’s best bakeries, and other capitol-region culinary delights.

Shop at the Smithsonian Museums or National Air and Space Museum
One-stop shopping (as in something-for-everyone) is also an apt way to describe D.C.’s Smithsonian Museums. Students can take in three centuries of American art at once, or explore “the final frontier” (as Star Trek calls it) at the National Air and Space Museum. At these prominent museums, the foreign visitor will find lots of interesting merchandise for purchase, from clothing to jewelry to interesting limited edition art and memorabilia. Students may also want to visit the magnificent Anderson House, a lavish 50-room mansion-museum located in the city’s historic Dupont Circle neighborhood. This is always a feast for the eyes, and a rare glimpse into what it’s like to live like American royalty.

When it comes to dining out, it doesn’t get any hipper than the Hard Rock Cafe, located near Washington D.C.’s bustling Chinatown district. Students can also visit the cafe’s “Rock ‘n Roll Embassy,” which is situated right next to the world-famous Ford’s Theater. Washington D.C. is also known for its lively dinner theater scene: at Medieval Madness at Renaissance Hall, students can enjoy a 4-course “knights of the round table” type feast while they take in a medieval-themed play, complete with sword fighting.

Finally, if foreign students are looking for really offbeat entertainment, they’ll find it at the Spy Museum, where they’ll learn how to decrypt secret audio conversations, escape from inescapable places, and engage in their own missions of espionage and intrigue. It is definitely an educational experience—and a great time that gives the term “interactive exhibit” a whole new meaning.

To sum it up, there’s no shortage of entertainment in the nation’s capitol, and for foreign students looking to get a taste of sightseeing, dining and entertainment all in one – there’s no place quite like Washington, D.C.

For more information about booking a tour your foreign students will never forget, email: info@educationaltravelconsultants.com, or visit the website at http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Student Travel Update: New One World Trade Center Graces NYC Skyline

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The view from the observation deck of One World Trade Center encompasses NY and NJ.

 

by Howard Clemens

For many high school and junior high students today, the tragedy of 9/11 in New York City happened is already a part of history. It happened when many of this age group was young children – or they were not even born yet. As a new generation considers the tragedies of 9/11, the event is already making its way into the shrouds of history.

Students Travel to NYC & See the New One World Trade Center
This year, the new One World Trade Center has arisen, and it is ready for commercial occupancy. Fortune 500 companies and successful tech companies are securing decade long leases on office space.

For student trips headed to New York City, the New One World Trade Center is certainly worth a look. Groups may also want to visit the 9/11 Museum – a separate building nearby.

One World Observatory spans 3 floors and is open for public, ticketed admission. Ask a student travel company representative about group rates and scheduling tickets. A trip to the 100th Floor is a phenomenal way to see New York City from a bird’s eye view and learn more about the history of 911 as well as present day New York.

Workers Hoist the New Sign to Top of Building
As the sign, One World Trade Center, was hoisted to the top of the 1,776 foot building, workers on site took photos. The written signatures and messages of loved ones were visible on the back of the street sign. Many who live and work in New York City lost loved ones: family and friends, work associates and neighbors. After 9/11 the city was never to be the same again, with tightened security and heightened anxieties at large public events. Yet the spirit of New Yorkers has survived the catastrophe, and this new building stands today as a testament to those who were lost – and those who remain.

The project to rebuild the World Trade Center began in earnest post 9/11 as collaboration between government and private industry. It was to illustrate that the U.S. has an indomitable spirit, not easily broken. The building is immense, covering 3,500,000 square feet, including: offices, observation deck, parking and storage and more. Shopping and dining is available beneath the building, as well as PATH and subway train access. One World Trade Center has 70 different elevators and nine escalators. Five elevators are reserved for access to the top of the building where the Observatory is located.

One World Observatory
Student travel groups will be interested in visiting the One World Observatory, an innovative, contemporary space that gives more information about 911 and the new One World Trade Center’s construction, as well as present day New York City.

Timed ticket entry is part of the scheduling for student tour groups, so prompt or early arrival will be necessary. Students will ride the elevator to the 102nd Floor on a sky pod with windows on three sides. As students enter the Global Welcome Center, digital signs in many languages will greet them.

On the 100th Floor of One World Trade Center, students can enter the Main Observatory to see 360-degree panoramic views of New York City and beyond. The sky portal is another observatory where students may enter a 14-foot wide circular disc that opens up an astounding view of the streets below. To find out more about NYC neighborhoods below, students can question the City Pulse – a video monitor system that provides close-up street views.

The new One World Trade Center was designed and built to showcase the latest state-of the-art technologies, and to encourage public engagement. Plus it sets aside three floors for public access and enjoyment, while the floors below are teeming with work and productivity. One World Trade Center offers its tenants a prestigious address, a work environment with a contemporary design and one stupendous view of New York City. Its presence has already enlivened the lower Manhattan neighborhood.

One World Observatory has opened a brand new gift shop called the Gallery at One World. Here, students can obtain exclusively designed mementos of their trip to the top of New York City. Dining at One World Trade Center may be a bit over budget for many student groups or simply inconvenient for touring. Instead, take groups on a walk through the restaurants and stores below the building’s street level to find lunch or dinner.

For more information about seeing One World Trade Center while on tour of New York City, trip leaders and teachers may contact info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Student Travel Groups Encounter the Ghosts of Arlington, Virginia While Visiting Washington D.C. Area

By Howard Clemens
No student trip to Washington D.C. is complete without a stop in Arlington, Virginia. Arlington is the second largest city of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Situated on the southern bank of the Potomac River, a stunning view of the D.C. skyline can be seen from all vantage points. While in Arlington, be sure to also visit The Pentagon Memorial, The Marine Corps Memorial and The United States Air Force Memorial. Student groups will learn a great deal about the history of the military in Arlington. In the evening, groups can look forward to seeing the hair-raising Arlington Ghost Tour, and learning about history from a different perspective.

 
Who said Virginia was for lovers? Actually, Virginia is for ghosts. Virginia is the most haunted state in America. No city in Virginia could be more haunted than Arlington, home of Arlington National Cemetery. The heroes of the United States are resting here, or according to the ghost hunters and tour guides – some of the ghosts of America’s past are not at rest at all.

Famous Ghosts Haunt Arlington

Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most haunted sites in the country. This famous cemetery is the second to the largest burial ground in the United States. It is home to the graves of many American war heroes and two U.S. presidents (John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft). Over 300,000 are buried on these green, rolling hills. Over 7,000 funerals occur here per year, adding many new apparitions with each passing season. On average, there are 28 funerals per day at Arlington National Cemetery. This is also the only cemetery where servicemen from every war in U.S. history are buried. Many apparitions of these departed souls have been spotted roaming the cemetery at night.

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The Custis Lee Mansion at Arlington National Cemetery was built in the early 1800s.

The Custis-Lee Arlington Mansion and Robert E. Lee Memorial is a haunted spot located within the cemetery. This Greek-revival style mansion was the last resting place for the Union War dead. Before this, it was the pre-war home of Robert E. and Mary Lee. Several ghosts have been spotted here, including the spirit of Mary Custis Lee herself.

 
Dedicated to American service members who died without their remains being identified, The Tomb of the Unknowns is famous for its frequent changing of the guard ceremony. It is perhaps even more famous for its high level of paranormal activity.

Visit the Kennedy Gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery

A trip to Arlington Cemetery wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Kennedy Gravesites. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, his widow Jacqueline decided her husband should be buried in a very public place, famously explaining, “he belongs to the people.” Thus, he was buried in Arlington Cemetery, on a slope below the Lee Arlington House. On the day of the funeral, Mrs. Kennedy lighted the Eternal Flame, which continues to burn at the head of the grave, serving as a beautiful reminder of the President’s life and lasting contributions to our country. The gravesites of the President’s esteemed brothers, Robert and Ted, are nearby, decorated with simple white wooden crosses.

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Old Post Chapel is adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery and the site of many ghost sightings.

Ghost Tales from the Old Post Chapel

Across the street from the cemetery is perhaps the most haunted Arlington site of them all, Old Post Chapel. Once used as a mourning room, so much paranormal activity has been spotted here that students will experience a ghostly chill. Constant ghostly voices and footsteps have been reported at the chapel. Locked doors have been known to swing open without any known help. Cabinet drawers swing open to 90 degrees. Loud organ music has been said to play in the Chapel at odd hours of the night. The Chapel is also home to many known apparitions. There is a small boy often seen running through the Chapel – but as soon as he faintly appears, he just as quickly vanishes. Some have heard a woman wailing in the front of the Chapel while others have seen a beautiful dark-haired Spanish lady who disappears the moment she realizes she’s being watched.

Entertainment and Dining Near Arlington

The perfect complement to one of our exciting, ghoulish Ghost Tours is a nice meal in Arlington. Arlington has a sophisticated restaurant district including well-reviewed restaurants such as Liberty Tavern, The Green Pig Bistro and Boulevard Wood Grill. For large student groups, advanced reservations are required and an educational travel company can help make these arrangements. Student groups visiting Washington D.C. also love to visit the Hard Rock Café. Looking for fun entertainment and a meal? In nearby Old Town Alexandria Medieval Madness is a great way to spend an evening. For more information on combining a student tour of Washington D.C. with a ghost tour of Arlington visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Museum of Modern Art in NYC Offers Student Travel Groups Sophisticated Look at International Art

By Howard Clemens

student travel new york city
MOMA is a popular point on the itinerary for student travel groups in NYC.

What do Henri Matisse, Diego Rivera and Georgia O’Keeffe have in common? Their works can be found in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. MOMA’s permanent collection of international art is staggering in its enormity. Any student of art will want to visit this museum at some point. No student trip to New York City is really complete without a visit to MOMA. I recommend student travel groups interested in visiting MOMA to spend at least a half day touring this world famous museum.

MOMA’s Permanent Collection Online – A Great Teaching Tool

For those educators who want to preview the work of well known artists before a student trip to NYC, most pieces in the permanent collection are viewable online. This is a wonderful way to familiarize students with the work of artists prior to a class trip to New York City. The permanent collection is in alphabetical order and works owned by MOMA are displayed in image format, making a preliminary study of artists in the collection easy and interesting.

Matisse's "Interior With a Young Girl" is a great example of his work.
Matisse’s “Interior With a Young Girl” is a great example of his work.

Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs

Matisse is a French artist whose interest in drawing and painting the nude set him apart from his contemporaries early on. MOMA owns an extensive collection of Matisse’s work. Matisse’s last body of work, made in the late 1940s, is composed of cut-outs. He used paint, paper and scissors as his primary mediums to construct colorful and playful works of art. In this MOMA show, which will be on exhibit until February 8, 2015, students will see 100 cut outs (both small and large scale) along with related drawings, prints, illustrated books, stained glass and textiles. Running concurrently with this exhibition is MOMA’s restoration and exhibition of Matisse’s “The Swimming Pool” a wall-sized cut out once displayed in Matisse’s own dining room.

The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters

This exhibition displays the art, social life and talent of one of the most famous Parisian painters of the late 18th Century: Toulouse-Lautrec. His work documents the Belle-Epoch era in Paris from 1864-1901. The show will be on exhibit until March 22, 2015.

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“Girl With Tulips” by Henri Matisse.

It includes posters Lautrec made for actual theatrical productions in Paris, lithographs, printed materials, illustrated books and 100 examples of Lautrec’s best work. For student travel groups headed to NYC in late fall 2014 or early spring 2015, stop by the Bauhaus Staircase to participate in the Interactive Lounge. Here, students learn more about the entertainment, dining and personal spaces that inspired Lautrec’s work.

Painting and Sculpture I & II

These exhibition rooms are designed to cover specific eras in art history, by offering a comprehensive look at it, while showcasing works of artists from MOMA’s permanent collection. Painting and Sculpture I covers the period from 1880-1940; Painting and Sculpture II surveys 1940-1980. Both exhibits give an overview of stylistic movements, artists and themed works that exemplify these periods. Students walk away with a broader understanding of the way artists across the globe impact a time period by stimulating cultural conversations.

Teach Art, English and History on a Student Tour of MOMA

While Art teachers may find it easier to develop a customized tour of MOMA, History and English teachers will want to complement a study of a certain period in history or literature with an examination of art of the same period. It is possible to structure a tour geared towards these areas of study at MOMA, mainly because of the way exhibitions are organized. Teachers will want to take a look at MOMA’s permanent and rotating exhibitions prior to planning a tour, to focus the educational experience.

Consult with an educational travel company to create the perfect student tour of MOMA to fit curricular needs. For more information about student travel itineraries to New York City, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Educational Travel Consultants Awarded Three-Year Contract for College Tours in New York

(Hendersonville, NC)  Educational Travel Consultants, a student travel company based in Hendersonville, North Carolina, was awarded a contract by Federation Employment and Guidance Services (FEGS) in New York City. The three-year contract funds students from underserved neighborhoods to take college tours in the State of New York. Administrators of the workforce development program have been instrumental in steering students towards obtaining college degrees and certificates from technical and trade schools. FEGS participants also compete for employment opportunities throughout New York.

Educational Travel Consultants (ETC) was selected out of a group of student travel companies that submitted proposals for college tours. ETC had demonstrated experience at college tours in the past. Howard Clemens, CEO of ETC, said, “We are proud to be working with FEGS.  Six different college tours have taken place since the three-year contract was awarded last year. Financially disadvantaged students have the opportunity to take two and three day trips to visit colleges, giving them a glimpse into their possible futures.” Clemens says, “ETC was awarded the contract by FEGS because of the quality of the student tour experience and economical pricing.”

Sandi Rosenthal is Senior Director of Workforce Development at Education and Youth Services in New York City. Rosenthal reflected upon a recent college tour from April 16-17, 2014 with South Shore and Bronx Community High School students.  “Students toured Sullivan Community College, Delhi College, Herkimer College and the State University of New York (SUNY) Morrisville State,” said Rosenthal.  In addition to the tour, the student group stayed overnight in Utica, New York and enjoyed some dining and entertainment activities.

Educational Travel Consultants has been conducting student tours in the U.S. for over 30 years.  The company is based in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and has taken student groups to Washington D.C., New York City and Orlando, Florida, as well as other popular student travel destinations.  Theme tours of major cities include art tours, performance tours, music festivals, science and history tours. ETC has taken students from the U.S. and abroad on tour of U.S. colleges and other destinations.  ETC’s professional staff works with teachers to create tours that reflect curricular objectives and are affordable for all students.  Visit:  http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Contact: Howard Clemens, 828-693-0412
info@educationaltravelconsultants.com

A New Student Travel Site in DC: Capital Ferris Wheel Set to Open this Spring

National Harbor will have a 175 foot observation wheel opening in May 2014.

Student travel groups with a destination of Washington D.C. will want to spend some time at The National Harbor (NH).  It’s located on the shores of Prince George County, Maryland, just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C.

The National Harbor encompasses a stretch of shoreline with magnificent views of Washington D.C. and the many famous structures that dot the skyline of the nation’s capital. National Harbor visitors will have a new treat when they come in the spring of 2014: The Capital Ferris Wheel. Get ready for a ride on an observation wheel that is 175 feet above the Potomac River, providing phenomenal views of downtown Washington D.C. and the surrounding area.

The Capital Wheel

This project is a small piece of the National Harbor as a whole, which offers hotels, shopping, dining and entertainment for visitors.  While student tour groups may enjoy these activities, some groups may have limited time to further explore the National Harbor – but trip leaders will still want to schedule a ride on the Capital Ferris Wheel.

The Capital Ferris Wheel is slated for completion in May, 2014 and will be a great attraction to enhance National Harbor. Initially, developers wanted to build a Disney theme park and resort at National Harbor, but this deal fell through.

Now MGM will be building a casino at National Harbor instead, a decision that has left many unhappy.   Student travelers and educational travel companies would have benefitted more from a Disney resort than a casino.  Yet the harbor itself and the views of D.C. the Capital Wheel provides are reason enough to visit.

Representatives of the maker of the Capital Wheel, Chance Rides, call it an observation wheel, not a ferris wheel, making an important distinction.  Rather than a carnival ride, the Capital Wheel is designed for those who want a long, slow look at landmarks with a bird’s eye view of the Washington D.C. skyline.  Each ride allows for two revolutions around the Capital Wheel. Riders see views of the Washington Monument, U.S. Capital, the Pentagon, Alexandria, Virginia and Prince George’s County, Maryland.

There are other world-class cities that have observation wheels and these have proven to have great appeal for the public. The idea is to see iconic landmarks in cities like Washington D.C. from a high vantage point.  Other cities with wheels include, Seattle, Washington and London, England, among others. The London Eye reaches heights of over 400 feet and surely bedazzles visitors.

Up to eight people can be seated in each of the 42 climate controlled gondolas and it can be used year round. Students can ride it anytime between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., making it convenient to complementary activities in Northern Virginia, such as a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and/or Mount Vernon.

On a pleasant spring or fall day, student travel groups will love a visit to the Potomac River waterfront, strolling along the docks of the National Harbor Marina. If there is time for the student tour group, perhaps they can enjoy a lunch or dinner at one of the fine restaurants in National Harbor, too. If time permits, groups may take water taxi rides or even add a sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River to their itinerary. Whatever the plan when visiting National Harbor, consult an educational travel company. Their experts will help to coordinate the trip with visits to many of the other rich historical and cultural sites to visit in the Washington D.C. area.

Visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information about student trips to Washington D.C. that include a stop at the National Harbor.

Highlights of the Smithsonian Museum for Student Travel Groups Visiting D.C.

Student travel groups headed to Washington D.C. have many different options for their itinerary.  In addition to the Capitol and the White House, student group leaders may also want to schedule time at the Smithsonian Museum.

Some of the Smithsonian Museums most popular with student travel groups are the National Zoo, the National Museum of  Natural History and the National Portrait Gallery.  Admission to the Smithsonian Museums is free. If there is enough advance planning, student travel groups can even take part in hands on educational programs.

The National Zoo in Washington D.C. is a popular point of interest for student travel groups - who want to see the Panda exhibit.

National Zoo
Like all of the National Museums, the National Zoo is free.  Students will see animals from A to Z, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.  In the Great Ape House students will see a tribe of western lowland gorillas, their youngest family member is Kibibi who was born in 2009.  Gibbons, monkeys, and lemurs are also in the ape house where the golden lion tamarins are always a popular spectacle.  Besides the zoo’s collection, it is also the home of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) where animals are studied for conservation, evolutionary genetics, and other sciences, making it an invaluable tool for many to access.  The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is part of the SCBI, dedicated to studying the migration of many species of birds for the sake of protecting their flight paths and habitats.  One of the other most popular exhibits is the pandas. With the birth of the newborn Bao Bao, the pandas are more popular than ever with all visitors.

The National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History holds the distinction of being the largest museum in the world.  Student tour groups can see the live butterfly pavilion with swallowtail and monarch butterflies waking from their chrysalises.  T-Rex, triceratops and other dinosaur bones fill the gallery preserving the ancient fossil records.  The Hope Diamond, the world’s largest blue diamond is on display.  A 24-foot giant squid is also on permanent display.  This museum is one of the largest science classrooms in the world, and their education department is dedicated to inspiring us all to understand the natural world and to be better stewards of our fragile ecosystems on our planet.  The Insect Zoo is also a must-see as part of your visit, complete with a volunteer tarantula feeding.  As entomologist Thomas Eisner says, “Insects won’t inherit the Earth—they own it now.”  Students may touch, hold and ask questions about the many-legged creatures crawling around the Insect Zoo.  There are an estimated 126 million items in the museum, both in laboratory archives and exhibition halls.  This collection rivals any the world has ever seen with specimens of minerals, plants, fish, insects, birds, mammals and reptiles; it’s one of the most exciting educational tours you can take.

The National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is the only place outside the White House to have a complete collection of portraits of U.S. presidents. The education department uses art and history to introduce visitors to the galleries.  In the Gallery, students may see performances from musicians, actors and other artists who bring the collection to life.  There are also documentary films about the lives of significant Americans and their achievements that made them great.

Besides U.S. presidents, another permanent exhibition is called “American Origins, 1600—1900.”  There are 17 galleries devoted to a chronological journey of the first contact with Native Americans to the very beginning of the 20th century.  Three of the galleries in this exhibit are devoted to the Civil War, presenting a careful lens on the years of that bloodiest American war.  The museum’s curators work hard to collect and display portraits of diverse and respected men and women who have left an indelible mark on U.S. history and our rich and ever growing culture.  Other highlight portraits include Martin Luther King Jr., George Gershwin, Rosa Parks, Julia Child, Babe Ruth, Marry Cassatt, Marilyn Monroe and many others.  The National Portrait Gallery is a must for any serious school group tour in the Washington D.C. metro area.

There are other Smithsonian Museums that are popular with student tour groups, such as the National Air and Space Museum. When it comes to planning a visit to Washington D.C. there are so many choices. Teachers and group leaders tend to focus the itinerary on curricular objectives.   Learn more about a putting together a student tour of Washington D.C., request a qu0te online by filling out a brief inquiry.

Educational Travel Consultants Expands Staff, Celebrates 30 Years in Business

(Hendersonville, NC)  Educational Travel Consultants (ETC) celebrates its 30th year in the student travel business. ETC was founded by Howard and Cheryl Clemens, now deceased. Their daughters, Tiffany and Kristen Clemens, are assuming management roles in the company this year, with their father, Howard Clemens, as CEO.  “I’m pleased Tiffany and Kristen are as committed to this company as I am,” remarked Howard Clemens.  “We’ve been organizing student trips to Washington D.C. and other locations since they were children, so they have plenty of experience.  Their mother was a real motivating force in getting them involved in running the company.”

Tiffany Clemens graduated from the University of Texas Brownsville with a Bachelors degree in International Business. She speaks Spanish and is working on a Certificate from New York University in Spanish to English translation. Tiffany Clemens has worked for ETC since 2002 and she is the General Manager.

Kristen Clemens has a background in education. Her previous positions were at the Love and Learning Pre-School and Telamond Migrant Headstart. At Telamond, she used her fluency in Spanish to work with a Hispanic student population.  Kristen Clemens is Educational Travel Coordinator for K-12 school trips.

ETC began by serving the Washington D.C., New York City and Orlando student travel markets in 1983, with informative educational tours for K-12 groups at affordable prices with no hidden charges or fees.

As the company evolved, student tours of Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Williamsburg and Gettysburg were added to the roster as well as other major U.S. cities and some Canadian and Mexican destinations.

ETC became popular with educators who coordinated trips with the company each year.  ETC founders and staff started to formulate specific tours geared towards areas of study such as history, science, performance and other types of class trips. Staff accommodated teachers by designing custom school trips to focus on special areas of study.  The professionalism ETC staff demonstrates has enabled the company to retain loyal teachers and student travelers for decades.

Over the past three decades, ETC established a solid name as a student tour company to be relied upon to keep prices for individual students low enough for the maximum number of students to attend their class trips.  Visit the website to learn more about Educational Travel Consultants or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.