Tag Archives: students travel

Student Travel to NYC: Ellis Island Reopens

One of the most popular and most visited national monuments in the United States, Ellis Island, is now partially reopened after receiving devastating blows from Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Preparing Students for a Trip to New York City to See The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Prior to a class trip to New York City, teachers often encourage students to spend time in the classroom viewing the Statue of Liberty’s various webcams. There is the Crown Cam, the Torch Cam, and even a full panorama live streaming cam.  In 1916 access to the torch was restricted, making these webcams the first ever completely unobstructed view of the New York harbor in generations.

Webcams are a great way to familiarize students, but taking a boat trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is a once in a lifetime adventure for many who have never visited NYC or this historic site before.

Thousands of people are back to visiting the State of Liberty again each day after interruptions from damage by Hurricane Sandy, and the Federal Government shutdown in October 2013.   Did you know Lady Liberty’s face (not including the crown) is eight feet high?  This 225-ton statue was a gift to the United States from France in 1886 to commemorate the important friendship between the two nations during the American Revolution.  The statue was 350 pieces that had to be shipped to New York harbor then reassembled, a giant metal puzzle representing the brave fight for liberty.  The famous Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus” from the voice of the statue ends with the remarkable reminder, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

An incredible, breathtaking journey awaits all students who visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Over twelve million weary, overwrought human beings passed through Ellis Island between the years 1892 and 1954.  More than half a century of immigration occurred in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, first designated as a check in point by president Benjamin Harrison.  The Native American’s called Ellis Island Kioshk, or Gull Island because of the abundant oyster beds the birds would feed on.

Many history and social studies teachers know that one of the most important places in the United States to visit for a significant historical and cultural reference is Ellis Island.  Students can learn more about immigration to the United States during the years of growth and even investigate their own ancestry – provided they come prepared with information.

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor on the Ellis Island tour is astounding and has the effect of connecting many to their history as immigrants. The wall overlooks the Statue of Liberty and is the longest wall of names in the world, and you can join fourth and fifth generation Americans pouring over the wall looking for long lost relatives from Ireland, Italy, Germany, and other countries.

The People of America Center is the newest expansion of Ellis Island’s historic landmark built to preserve the countless stories of the families who came to make this one of the greatest nations on Earth.  The exhibits are interactive and engaging, with stories ranging from the pre-Colonial immigration patterns to the great potato famine of Ireland.

The Flag of Faces exhibit is one of the most popular interactive displays at Ellis Island to date.  Individual American faces set into the mosaics of red, white, and blue to make the American flag.  You too can have your face and the faces of your family included in this project while it is still in process.  Ask about this opportunity when visiting, or check out the Ellis Island Foundation website for additional details.  You want to make sure to stop and spend some time with the Flag of Faces exhibit when on tour at Ellis Island.

The American Family Immigration History Center is one of the true highlights of any tour to Ellis Island.  This engaging interactive exhibit allows visitors to access immigrant boat passenger records of more than 22 million people.  When visiting students should come prepared by bringing the full name of an ancestor, their ethnicity, and approximate landing time in the Port of New York or Ellis Island. Chances are good these inquiries will result in seeing actual data on the first day the first member of a family stepped foot on American soil.  There are also photos of ships and manifest records to be viewed, as featured on The Today Show on broadcast television.

Student trip leaders may now plan trips that incorporate a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Now is the time to start going back to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, since many repairs have been made. The entire facility is not yet ready for the complete tour.  Expect renovations on the rest of Ellis Island to be underway during 2013 and 2014 – until complete.

For more information on booking a student travel group on a tour of New York City that includes a visit to Ellis Island and other destinations, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Washington D.C. and Williamsburg Jamestown Yorktown Tour: How to Make it All Work

If an educational travel group is bound for Washington D.C. and the educators wish to expand that group’s exploration of our nation’s history, a visit to Virginia is in order. Just 2 ½ hours south of Washington D.C. by bus, Early American history awaits in Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown Settlement.

In 2007, Historic Jamestown celebrates its 400th Anniversary of the settlement of the English Colonies. This year kicks off many living history programs that explain the early colonial era from diverse perspectives. Even after 2007 is complete, many of these educational programs and exhibits will stay in place so the student traveler may learn from them, even if they do not make their visit during the 400th anniversary year.

The challenge for any educational travel company is how to make all of these destinations work for one student travel tour. For a four to five day tour, it takes advance planning and coordination to include educational tour highlights of Washington D.C. and Williamsburg & Jamestown in one tour — with many participants.

Here are some of the highlights I include in my company’s student travel tour of Washington D.C., Williamsburg & Jamestown:

Washington D.C.
Student travel groups enjoy a guided tour of the complete Washington D.C. area that includes sites such as The Capitol, The White House, the Lincoln Memorial, Supreme Court, National Archives and more. Students may also visit sites in Northern Virginia such as Mount Vernon and the Arlington Cemetery. As with all of our student travel groups, accommodations are in three diamond interior corridor suburban hotel, with 24-hour security provided.

Williamsburg Virginia
After two days of touring the Washington D.C. area, students embark on a short 2 ½ hour journey to Williamsburg Virginia to experience the colonial era with living history on the educational program. The Colonial Williamsburg complete sightseeing tour will include a visit to 18th Century historical buildings such as the Capitol and the Courthouse, the Public Hospital of 1773, Raleigh Tavern, and the Peyton Randolph House.

Jamestown Settlement Virginia
Jamestown Settlement is a recreation of the first English settlement in Virginia, Jamestown Island. Student travel groups will see replicas of the ships that made the journey from England: the Discovery, the Godspeed and Susan Constant. They will enter a living history exhibit of an Indian Village, and see a recreation of James Fort, where the colonists first lived. This interactive approach to history, called living history or even active learning by some educators, is a great way to engage students in learning about the colonial era.

The educational student tour of Washington D.C. and Williamsburg/Jamestown is balanced by fun and educational experiences. Students benefit from a guided tour of Washington D.C. and historic Williamsburg and living history educational programs at Jamestown Settlement. With this approach to educational travel, students are given a great learning experience as well as a trip to remember for a lifetime.

Educational Student Tours of Walt Disney World Promote Active Learning

The Disney YES programs are a student favorite when touring Walt Disney World. I have escorted student tour groups to Walt Disney World with and without participation in Disney YES programs. Students seem to really prefer at least some participation in Disney YES programs, because it gives them great insight into backstage at Disney, how it operates, and the talent that drives the scenery.

Behind the Scenes at Walt Disney World
It’s exciting to tour Epcot Center, and MGM Studios. But to know what kind of imagination, training, tools, and techniques go into work behind the scenes is sometimes even more powerful. While on educational student tour of Walt Disney World, students need more than exposure to the rides and exhibits to gain a greater understanding of the way to work in their chosen profession.

Many types of student groups can benefit from Disney YES programs, which are geared towards a variety of fields.

Educational Travel in Arts and Humanities
Students in Arts and Humanities can learn about the “Magic Behind the Show” or they can delve into the realm of animation magic or learn about American history through “The American Story.” There are lots of options for students on a high school band trip, high school musical tour, or a performance tour of Orlando Florida. High school choirs, orchestras, theater students, and more can benefit from these great behind the scene workshops by Disney.

Disney YES Programs Geared to Science Education Tour Groups
Educational travel to Orlando Florida need not be entertainment only for other types of student groups. It can be filled with wonder and excitement for the student in natural and physical sciences as well. Disney YES programs like “Team Up For Wildlife” teach students sound methods of ecological preservation in marine and wildlife environments. In the field of physical sciences, Disney YES programs such as “How Things Move” and “Energy and Wave” provide tangible examples in the park that illustrate the operation of light, sound, and magnetism. Students learn how scientists manipulate these elements.

Disney YES Programs for the Ecologically Empowered Student
Finally, Disney YES programs contain a component for marine and wildlife sciences students on educational tour. “Keepers of the Kingdom” allows students to interact with some of the animals and their keepers at the Magic Kingdom®. “Making Waves with a Marine Career” gives students on tour guidance in marine science, and insight into real jobs that might be held in the profession.

Whatever your field of academic study, consider a Disney YES program when visiting Orlando Florida. Students will come back with great memories of their trip, and a new perspective on their field of study.