Education and educational travel are immensely important. You don't even have to travel far to find spectacular learning opportunities. Your students, kids, and other youngsters (and even you) will learn oodles of information while having the time of their lives on these trips.
New England: The educational experiences you're looking for abound in New England. They are certainly very easy to find in the land that birthed the United States almost 250 years ago. No matter the average age and grade of your traveling students, there are wonderful sites, landmarks, memorials, and museums to explore in the Northeast. Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and more all have direct ties to the Revolutionary War and Colonial America.
New York, as modern as it is today, was once the country's first national capital city and has remnant historic landmarks like the Old Stone House in Brooklyn, Van Cortlandt Park, and Fraunces Tavern, one of the nation's oldest restaurants with a fascinating history. Philadelphia is home to the Liberty Bell at Independence National Historical Park as well as the Betsy Ross House, Independence Hall where the Constitution was signed and Congress Hall where Adams was sworn into office. Boston, of course, was known as the birthplace of liberty and was the site of the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, and more. Follow the Freedom Trail through 16 of Boston's most historically important sites to see Granary Burying Ground, the Boston Massacre site, Paul Revere's House, and Fanueil Hall and Marketplace among others.
Living History: It doesn't matter where you're based in the U.S., you'll be able to find a living history destination close enough for you to visit with your students. Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia is, of course, the most famous but you also have Historic Jamestown (also in Williamsburg), the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site in Charleston, Illinois, Old Sturbridge Village and Pioneer Village in Massachusetts, and scores more. Fit the site to your curriculum with working farms, living history plantations, old villages recreated from early immigrant settlements, and others. There is more to learn from history than just artifacts and pages in a book; your students will be excited to learn at places like these.
Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!: Zoos, animal parks, and wildlife reserves are among the most fun educational trips available. And the major plus side for you is that they are literally everywhere. You can find zoos and wildlife preserves in every state in the nation, some of which are free! The National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. is a marvelous (and free) chance to see animals like the endangered giant panda alongside your favorites like elephants, tigers, lions, and more. The St. Louis Zoo in Missouri is also free and among the best-ranked zoos in the country for their zoological family, their programs with animal care, research, and reestablishment into the wild, as well as the beautiful setup of their park. Other wildlife parks include the San Diego Zoo, known as the best zoo in the nation and perhaps the world, and their newer addition, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park which houses African animals in a free-range, natural style for drive-through tours.
Cultural Districts: Your students, in all likelihood, know that this country was founded by immigrants, settled by immigrants, and built by immigrants. The homeland culture of those who immigrated to the United States is steadfastly evident in several particular spots, some more than others. In large cities, you'll find cultural districts like San Francisco's Chinatown or New York's Little Italy but sometimes the culture engulfs entire towns. Hermann, Missouri, is one such city that remains the picturesque Rhineland-inspired village that was settled over a hundred years ago by German immigrants. Solvang, California, is another and is stunningly Dutch down to the statue of Hans Christian Andersen, windmills and poppy flowers. The city was even visited by the Prince of Denmark on the anniversary of its founding.
These cultural districts/cities and more make for wonderful educational destinations, especially when the students cannot afford to travel overseas. Traveling internationally while at home is a marvelous opportunity to delve into another culture, meet new people, gain compassion and understanding, and discover new things like food, stories, and what makes the cultures unique.
Government: Learning about the American government is standard for elementary school students and follows through all the way to high school with civics and American history classes. It is an extremely important part of our nation, which holds us together from the city and state level all the way up to federal. It's also an easy trip. Visit your local courthouse, city hall, or even the police department for a look at how government and civil service operates. Or, you can head to your state capital for a tour (all of them are free) of the building and grounds, maybe even seeing the House in session. The ultimate government trip is, of course, to Washington, D.C. where you can see everything from the White House to Capitol Hill and all the landmarks and memorials in between. There's really no better way to introduce your students to the inner workings of the government than by taking them to the source.
Fun and Fancy-Free: Education doesn't have to be limited to history, science, and art. Widen your perspective and explore the great big world of opportunities. Theme parks now have educational days strictly for students where they close the park to everyone else and the students are given grade-appropriate math and science worksheets to figure out while they have a blast on the engineering feats that are roller coasters. Walt Disney World is another magically educational place that can teach culture, art, and animation, societal history through entertainment, animal conservation, ecological programs, and so much more. If you're in Los Angeles, you can take your students on tours of the capital of entertainment, tour design schools and movie studios for an insider's look into the art and skill of movie-making.