There are a few destinations that immediately spring to mind when thinking about educational travel. These are the cornerstones of the subjects, the epitome of a great field trip with everything you're looking for. Of course, these destinations might not be so close to home, in which case you can call us and let us help your student group get where they need to go.
Of course, the nation's capital makes the top of the list for educational travel. Practically around every corner, you're going to find a museum, historical landmark, or even the White House. Politics, history, and even art and science live within the walls of the many Smithsonian museums, several of which are situated around the National Mall and all of which are free of charge. Student groups can tour at ease with affordable tours including free ones of the Capitol Building, White House, and Pentagon which is supremely significant in the grand tapestry of American history. National landmarks, parks, and memorials are also free and on everyone's bucket list, including spots like the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Washington Monument, and many more.
If the national capital is on the list, you'd best bet the birthplace of American freedom would make an appearance. As such, you can't visit Boston and not take part in the Freedom Trail, a two and a half-mile walking tour of the city highlighting 16 important national landmarks. Some of these sites include the Granary Burying Ground, Paul Revere's House, Old South Meetinghouse, and Faneuil Hall and Marketplace. Not all of the stops are free of charge, although a good portion is, the trail itself is free if you walk it without a costumed guide provided by the Freedom Trail Foundation. While you're in Boston, also stop by the Museum of Science, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the best art museums in the country.
Again, one of the most historic cities in America makes the top of the list. However, New York did not stay in antiquity but rose up and became one of the world's leading cities in commerce, theater, business, and fashion. Depending on your focus, student groups will surely find something educational to experience. The go-to attractions are, of course, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the Empire State Building. You can also check out Ellis Island for some genealogical information, St. Patrick's Cathedral or Temple Emanu-El for history and religion, and Broadway for their wildly popular shows and superior acting chops. Wall Street is still the financial capital of the U.S. and you have the opportunity to visit not only the NYSE but the Federal Reserve and take a museum and Gold Vault tour. If all else fails, stick to Central Park and the museums where you'll definitely find something educational to talk about.
It may not seem so educational at first blush but believe me, Walt Disney World is a gold mine for education. If you can swing a trip to at least one of the main Disney parks, there are ways to make it work for your students. At Epcot, you (almost) literally have the world at your fingertips with the World Showcase with authentic design, attractions, and even employees immigrated from the pavilion's own country. Geography, culture, history, and art are all in attendance with spots like the Bijutsu-kan Gallery, Impressions de France, and many more. If you hop over to Animal Kingdom, it's easy to make biology, environmental, and life science lesson out of it. With Hollywood Studios, try and skew it towards the art of animation, the cultural significance of movies, and the work that goes into making blockbusters. Finally, with Magic Kingdom, you have the Hall of Presidents, Carousel of Progress, Tom Sawyer's Island and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse to link to your literature studies.
If Hollywood Studios piqued your interest, perhaps the real deal is upright your alley! Home to the original Hollywood and the reigning capital of the entire world's movie industry, Los Angeles may not really be a city of angels but it sure is fun. Hollywood Boulevard is lined with memorialized stars, historic attractions like the Chinese Theatre where many Oscar-winning movies were premiered, and much more. Tour the behind the scenes at Warner Bros. Studio Tour or at Universal Studios newest park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For a little more traditional education, check out the La Brea Tar Pits and its interred ancient creatures, or visit the California Science Center (free), Griffith Observatory (free), Los Angeles Zoo, or the Getty Center art museum (free).
Popular Educational Attractions in the U.S.:
- Colonial Williamsburg - Built for educating the public on colonial America, Colonial Williamsburg is a goldmine for student groups of all ages. See demonstrations, listen in on revolutionary meetings, explore historic landmarks, and even eat authentic 18th-century foods at the restaurants.
- San Diego Zoo - As perhaps the number one zoo in the country (maybe even the world), the San Diego Zoo welcomes in millions of visitors and thousands of school trips every year. They have plenty of educational programs to try out if you want something more than leisurely touring.
- Mount Vernon - The presidential homes are a prime choice for educational field trips and Mount Vernon is the cherry on top. See where the first president lived and worked, raised his animals, and was buried beside his wife, Martha. Tours cover the entire property and are often led by costumed guides. (Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is also a great choice)