NTA Student Trip Planner 2014-2015 : Page 8
21 Educators can use technology to expose students to far-flung places with ever-increasing depth, but there will always be a difference between seeing and experiencing a place. Photo galleries, streaming video and libraries of information cannot replace walking through a city, hearing the local dialect or seeing historical artifacts up-close. Educators can work with professional tour operators to select destinations that match curriculum, time and budget requirements for school trips. Here are 21 top destinations with amazing experiences for students. I Want to Go There TOP DESTINATIONS FOR STUDENTS 8 nta tr i p planner
I Want to Go There
21 TOP DESTINATIONS FOR STUDENTS
Educators can use technology to expose students to far-flung places with ever-increasing depth, but there will always be a difference between seeing and experiencing a place. Photo galleries, streaming video and libraries of information cannot replace walking through a city, hearing the local dialect or seeing historical artifacts up-close. Educators can work with professional tour operators to select destinations that match curriculum, time and budget requirements for school trips. Here are 21 top destinations with amazing experiences for students.
Amman, Jordan, is a modern metropolis deeply rooted in ancient history. Archaeological sites and contemporary museums await groups visiting the country’s capital city. The Jordan Museum chronicles the kingdom’s history and cultural heritage through engaging exhibits and artifacts spanning millennia. Groups might also visit the Royal Automobile Museum, which uses its collection of automobiles to show the development of Jordan from the Great Arab Revolt during World War I to the present day.
“You would be surprised at the hidden treasures to be found in this storied Middle Eastern city . . . and what there is to be explored, learned, experienced! One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Amman is a great starting point into ancient history that spans the beginning of civilization. Today, Amman is a fascinating city of contrasts with a unique blend of old and new—a timeless city that offers a little bit of something for every traveler.”
—Janine Jervis, Jordan Tourism Board North America, +1.703.243.7404, www.visitjordan.com
“The National Center for Civil and Human Rights will directly engage students with civil rights history and present day human rights issues. The center will serve as a catalyst for civil and human rights conversation on a national and global scale.”
—William Pate, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, +1.404.521.6698, www.atlanta.net
In May, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights will open in Atlanta. The 42,000-square-foot attraction will provide an in-depth, interactive experience for students to learn about the civil rights movement and its connection to contemporary human rights struggles. With exhibits that include Morehouse College’s collection of original writings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an oral history booth where students share their personal thoughts and stories on continuing struggles for civil and human rights, the center combines powerful images, narratives and artifacts to connect students to human rights issues. The NCCHR is located near other popular Atlanta attractions, including the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park and the Inside CNN Studio Tour.
Branson’s location in the Ozark Mountains is within a day’s drive of many Midwestern cities, and it is an ideal destination for student musical performance groups. Professional musicians from the area teach clinics, and groups can sit in on a pre-show sound check, take a master class and enjoy behind-the-scenes learning opportunities that allow them to interact with theater professionals.
“Branson offers live shows, outdoor adventure and student-friendly fun in an entertaining destination from which to learn and grow.”
—Lenni Neimeyer, Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, +1.417.243.2105, www.explorebranson.com
Students visiting Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village will learn firsthand about western Canada’s past. The park is the country’s largest living history museum and offers insights into the ways of life for the area’s native cultures and the Mounties and fur traders who settled there in the 1880s. Groups can participate in the raising of a tipi or a drumming circle in Heritage Park’s First Nations Encampment. They also can ride a train pulled by a steam-powered locomotive, go on a paddlewheel boat or walk through a 1910 town where they will see, hear and taste life on the Canadian prairie.
“Students visiting Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary will find themselves immersed in western Canada’s unique past.”
—Rhonda Reid, Tourism Calgary, +1.403.750.2391, www.visitcalgary.com
Chicago’s numerous museums and attractions—covering topics from nature and history to architecture and industry—make the city an excellent choice for student travel. On the Wrigley Field Tour and Professional Talk, students learn the history of the ballpark, which celebrates its centennial in 2014. Tour groups make stops in the clubhouses, press box, dugout and field, as well as hear from the professionals working for the Chicago Cubs about their career paths. At Skydeck Chicago, students ascend to the top of the Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the United States, where they can step out onto the Ledges, glass boxes that extend over the edge of the building, for amazing views of the city. For groundlevel sightseeing, groups can book a tour with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours, which includes commentary tailored to the group’s interests.
“There is so much history at Wrigley Field, and the guides really bring it to life through their stories. It’s an experience like none other knowing that you’re standing where some of the best athletes in the world once stood. It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to talk with a professional and discover what steps they may need to take for a certain occupation, especially during a significant time in their lives when they are researching career paths.”
—Kristi Schuda, Choose Chicago, +1.312.567.8474, www.choosechicago.com
“This year is particularly exciting for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, with the opening of a new wing offering 126,000 feet of additional exhibit space for permanent and traveling exhibitions, plus a Science Atrium, where groups can watch science demonstrations and even try their hand at fun, interactive experiments.”
—Jayne Buck, Visit Denver, the CVB, +1.303.571.9442, www.visitdenver.com
Colorado is a geologically amazing, fossil-rich state, and Denver’s Museum of Nature & Science is one of the most outstanding natural history museums in the country. At the museum’s “Expedition Health” exhibit, students see the effects on the body of hiking one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains. The museum showcases fossils of dinosaurs that roamed the state millions of years ago. Many traveling exhibits also come to the museum, including “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed,” the largest exhibition dedicated to the ancient civilization ever to be displayed in the United States, on display through Aug. 24.
Flagstaff offers student groups insights into history and discovery—both terrestrial and extraterrestrial. At the Elden Pueblo and Wupatki National Monument, students see the area’s early cultures and the practices of archaeology. Elden Pueblo is a 60- to 80-room site of the prehistoric Sinagua culture and a Hopi ancestral site where students can spend a day learning mapping, excavation and analytical practices. Then, on a trip to Wupatki National Monument, students can see these principles in practice as a ranger leads them through 800-year-old pueblos.
Students visiting Flagstaff also can see Lowell Observatory by day or at night. Groups can customize their experiences to include multimedia presentations, tours of the historic building and solar or telescope viewing. The U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Center offers guided tours of exhibits that explore lunar geologic mapping and the center’s history with NASA’s lunar programs.
“As the first STEM city in the United States, Flagstaff is a great destination for groups to immerse students in attractions that focus on science, technology and native cultures.”
—Joyce Lingenfelter, Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau, +1.928.213.2915, www.flagstaffarizona.org
“Students can examine reproductions of tools, cooking implements, medical and navigation instruments, and weapons at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center and witness their use in demonstrations of agriculture, blacksmithing, carpentry, food preparation, musket and artillery firings, and ship navigation. Technology lessons are incorporated in an array of themed tours and in-depth, hands-on programs for student groups, including ‘Powhatan Indian World,’ ‘Voyage to Virginia’ and ‘Colonial Medicine.’ The programs, which meet most state curriculum standards for U.S. history and other disciplines, offer students the opportunity to perform tasks using technology of centuries ago and make comparisons with today’s technology.”
—Vivian Bunting, Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, +1.757.229.6975, www.grouptourswilliamsburg.com
Virginia is full of essential stops for student groups interested in early U.S. history. Jamestown was the first permanent English colony in 1607, and Yorktown was the site of a decisive battle of the American Revolution. Today, they are home to numerous immersive living history experiences.
Little Rock Central High School played a significant role in the desegregation of American public schools and in the civil rights movement. Nine African-American students made national news when they attended the formerly all-white public high school following the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Today, the school is still a functioning high school, but also a national historic site. At the adjacent visitors center, groups can watch a film about the 1957 integration and the birth of the civil rights movement.
Little Rock also is the home of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. Including replicas of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room, the museum and library uses documents, photos, videos and interactive displays to show the history of the United States under President Bill Clinton.
“With an extraordinary collection of museums and cultural attractions, a beautiful natural setting, and a breadth of activities and festivals held throughout the year, Little Rock has lots of great tour options that operators can easily put together with our group sales office.”
—John Mayner, Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, +1.501.370.3228, www.littlerock.com
“This is the perfect tour for students as not only is it run on a pay-what-you-like basis but each guide is an East London specialist, meaning you’ll hear information that you won’t read anywhere else. Just don’t forget to take your camera!”
—Louise Maher, London & Partners, +188.8.131.5200, www.londonandpartners.com
Alternative London Walking Tours takes groups on walks that showcase the city’s vibrant street art and promises tours that evolve apace with the constantly shifting images scrawled across London’s buildings. On the tour, students will see work from approximately 40 artists in a variety of visual styles that display East London’s creativity.
“Amazing L.A. Race really captures the energetic, creative spirit that defines Los Angeles. This kind of adventurous, outdoor activity is an ideal way to make the most of Los Angeles’ signature year-round warm weather and blue skies, while experiencing L.A.’s iconic attractions, like the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Bowl and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.”
—Ernest Wooden Jr., Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, +184.108.40.2064, www.discoverlosangeles.com
“For teenage student groups, I highly recommend the ‘Young People’s Tour’ at the BMW Welt (World) in Munich. Teenagers have different expectations on a tour than adults. BMW understands and caters to this young demographic with a customizable, experiential tour that allows hands-on opportunities throughout the tour to fully engage students and keep them excited about what they’re learning.”
—Susan Krulic, Bavaria Tourism, +1.212.661.7200 (218), www.bavaria.us
13New York City
The 9/11 Memorial Museum is scheduled to open in May and will guide visitors through the events of September 11, 2001, with resonant artifacts, first-person narratives and multimedia displays. The museum has 110,000 square feet of exhibition space, and its education center has four classrooms and is equipped for welcoming incoming school groups and accessing museum databases, archives and digital exhibitions.
“The 9/11 Museum will be an important addition to any student group visiting New York City. While there, visitors can take advantage of the entire Lower Manhattan neighborhood, an area of the city that has witnessed a dramatic revitalization over the last several years, and offers a variety of educational and memorable options for groups of all ages.”
—Fred Dixon, NYC & Company, +1.212.484.1200, www.nycgo.com
Newport, Rhode Island, offers students the opportunity to try new athletic skills while learning. Students visiting Newport can experience the sport of sailing through lessons on the waves. Sail Newport’s Student Sailing Program teaches the basics of sailing, navigation, safety on board and boat handling, all while emphasizing the importance of ocean conservation. Newport also is home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, which offers student tennis lessons by certified instructors. The museum displays videos and memorabilia to celebrate the past greats of tennis and its current stars.
“Sailing is an exhilarating experience. Not only do students become sailors, they learn teamwork, sportsmanship and respect for our oceans.”
—Alex Hurd, Discover Newport, +1.401.845.9119, www.discovernewport.org
Florida’s ecological treasures are on display at a pair of Orlando attractions. At Florida Eco- Safaris at Forever Florida, students can learn more about the natural environment of central Florida through zipline experiences, guided horseback tours and nature trails. This wildlife conservatory shows visitors 12 unique, well-preserved ecosystems. Guests also can try the Zipline Safari, a treetop tour taking them up to 55 feet and as fast as 25 miles per hour. The Rattlesnake, a zipline rollercoaster, and the Cypress Canopy Cycle, a reclining bicycle on a network of hightension cables, add to the attraction’s treetop offerings. SeaWorld Orlando offers students the opportunity for encounters with dolphins, penguins and other marine life, as well as a chance to see how the park cares for its more than 60,000 animals. The park also has day camps and educational sleepovers.
“Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando is a perfect destination for students to discover new worlds created by science, engineering and art, while having fun at the same time.”
—Mark Jaronski, Visit Orlando, +1.407.354.5586, www.orlandoinfo.com/trade
“When I visited Ottawa as a student, I thought it was wonderful that Canada had a governor general, a representative for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and that the representative was so accessible. I’ll never forget going to the Garden Party at Rideau Hall of the then Governor General, Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé. I got to shake her hand, and she told me to enjoy the sandwiches! That accessibility continues today at Rideau Hall for student groups and all who visit.”
—Kelly Dean, Ottawa Tourism, +1.613.866.9125, www.ottawatourism.ca
Rideau Hall, in Canada’s capital city, is the official residence of Canada’s governor general, the representative of Queen Elizabeth II in the country’s government. Only a few minutes away from downtown Ottawa, Rideau Hall caters tours to groups ranging from elementary to postsecondary students. The mansion is the largest official residence in the city, and its grounds include approximately 10,000 trees, a totem pole and—in the winter—an outdoor skating rink.
Pigeon Forge is full of ideal attractions for student groups, covering a variety of interests. At WonderWorks, designed to look like an overturned building plopped down in the middle of town, groups will find hands-on science and art exhibits. Students can enter the hurricane or earthquake rooms, the bubble lab or face-off in a brainwave contest. The town is also home to Dollywood, which is known for its theme park and thrill rides but also offers educational and performance programs for students. They can learn about physics or the region’s history or visit the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary and see the attraction’s efforts to rescue bald eagles.
“Dollywood offers one-stop shopping for a student group tour planner because everything is in one location and in an environment that students enjoy. There are thrills and fun, and there also is excellent stage entertainment as well as some solid education about the folkways of the mountains. It’s a theme park that really reflects its home.”
—Joy McNealy, Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, 800.285.7557, www.pigeonforgetours.com
“I have lost count of the number of times I have visited the longhouse at the traditional Huron site with friends and clients, and still each visit leaves a lasting impression. I’m guessing that it’s the combination of the storytelling mixed with the smells of traditional foods, the clothing, the mesmerizing dances and the chanting.”
—Nancy Dacres, Québec City Tourism, +1.418.654.6654 (5427), www.quebecregion.com
Québec City is an excellent destination for groups interested in Canada’s First Nations culture. Visitors can explore the Traditional Huron Site, a re-creation of an Aboriginal village. Students will find guided tours and canoe rides and can hear legends and participate in activities including handcraft and animal skin workshops and archery. This year, the site will host its annual powwow June 27–29. The Huron-Wendat Museum also honors Canada’s heritage through its conservation and promotion of the history and culture of the Wendat people and other First Nation tribes.
As the birthplace of aerospace giant Boeing, Seattle has long been a part of the aerospace industry. At the Museum of Flight, students can learn about the history of and technology behind aircraft. The museum’s Aviation Learning Center gives students a look into the life of a pilot with a lesson from pilot ground school, a preflight inspection of a Cirrus airplane and a session in a flight simulator. At the Challenger Learning Center, visitors are taken through a simulated space mission to emphasize teamwork, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking. School groups also can see the NASA Space Shuttle Trainer, a full-scale mockup of the space shuttle. Once located at Johnson Space Center, the trainer is now used for tours that show what the crew compartment of the spacecraft was like.
“With the addition of the Space Shuttle Trainer, the Museum of Flight has truly added to its collection of fun and educational experiences for students of all ages.”
—Brad Jones, Visit Seattle, +1.206.461.5816, www.visitseattle.org
“The Crime Museum offers fantastic team building activities. From forensics workshops to museum sleepovers, this is a really unforgettable experience for groups visiting Washington, D.C.”
—Morgan Maravich, Destination DC, +1.202.789.7056, www.washington.org
The popularity of TV shows such as CSI: Las Vegas has led to an increased public awareness of the role forensics and criminal investigations in the justice system—but how accurate are these TV whodunits? At the Washington, D.C., Crime Museum, students can tour interactive exhibits showing the history of crime and law enforcement in America. The museum offers student groups overnight stays that include a hands-on forensics lab, guided museum tours, a scavenger hunt, a movie and a continental breakfast.
This summer, Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo will open “A Journey to Churchill,” North America’s most complete polar bear exhibit. Students will see a number of arctic species, hear about the impact of climate change on the region and learn methods of polar bear conservation.
“Winnipeg is a living, dynamic classroom that’s fun and educational for student groups. At ‘A Journey to Churchill,’ students get an opportunity to view polar bears and ringed seals swimming together overhead in an acrylic tunnel—an experience they won’t find anywhere else in the world.”
—Natalie Thiesen, Tourism Winnipeg, +1.204.954.1978, www.tourismwinnipeg.com
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