Students go on trips together to learn, be inspired and have fun. So a great trip will have it all: fun for the kids and education to make their parents and teachers happy.
Here are some great places to take student groups in 2019 for a trip they will remember forever.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
There’s more than just sand in Virginia Beach. At the Adventure Park at Virginia Beach Aquarium, guests can swing through the trees after exploring the aquarium. The Ocean Breeze Waterpark brings splashing fun, and kids can try skydiving at iFly. Guests can take guided kayak tours that go out into the ocean to see dolphins. After all this fun, students will be happy for a relaxing day on the beach.
Tourists can’t visit St. Louis without seeing the 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch, which is known as the gateway to the West. Students can go to the top of the tallest man-made monument in the United States. The national park experience was transformed by a recent renovation. Nearby, City Museum is a playground for all ages, with a rooftop made completely of repurposed items. Grant’s Farm, the 281-acre ancestral home of the Busch family named after former President Ulysses S. Grant, now has more than 100 species of animals that guests can visit and learn about. They can take paddleboat ride at Forest Park, which is also home to the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum and the Muny Outdoor Theatre.
All students should learn about American history with a visit to Philadelphia. There’s the U.S. Constitution Center, the new Museum of the American Revolution, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and more. But students will also enjoy the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, which is loaded with medical artifacts. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology houses artifacts from ancient Egypt and the Middle East and has special tours and interactive workshops for all ages. Kids will love going to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the site of the iconic stair-running scene in “Rocky.” Lunch at Reading Terminal Market offers a wide variety of options. Guests can choose to down a cheesesteak or buy a Pennsylvania Dutch pretzel or homemade cookie.
Though everyone knows Disney World is the main Orlando attraction, several of Orlando’s parks have seen explosive growth, offering new options for older students. The hard part is narrowing it down. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which includes attractions such as “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run” and “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.” Legoland now has the Lego Movie Land, which debuts this spring, with three new attractions based on the movie. Disney Springs just opened the NBA Experience, a state-of-the-art restaurant with interactive games. Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure offer the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and SeaWorld’s Aquatica has a new family thrill ride, the KareKare Curl. Another option is Dezerland Action Park, an 800,000-square-foot indoor entertainments, events and museum complex.
Indianapolis is teeming with fun opportunities for students. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum and features the new 7.5-acre Sports Legends Experience. Another cool attraction is Newfields, home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Also at Newfields is the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, where visitors can find “Funky Bones,” a sculpture highlighted in “The Fault in Our Stars.” White River State Park is home to seven family-friendly museums, including the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians. Visitors can enjoy a ride on a gondola or a paddleboat on the Central Canal.
Formerly a rugged Rust Belt city, Cleveland is now a gem on Lake Erie and has many opportunities for students to enjoy. The Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame is full of great music artifacts and history and has special classes for different age groups. Packages with the Cleveland Orchestra provide a unique musical experience. The Great Lakes Science Center allows students to travel through space with John Glenn or go aboard the William G. Mather steamship. They can learn about life underwater at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium and cruise along the waterfront in the Nautica Queen. Just an hour down the road is the ever-popular Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, which has 71 rides, including 17 roller coasters.
As one of the country’s largest cities, Los Angeles has opportunities galore. Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain promise lots of fun. But at the OUE Skyspace LA, guests can see 360-degree views of Los Angeles 1,000 feet above the ground and take a trip down the 45-foot slide above the city. The Space Shuttle Endeavor is on display at the California Science Center. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum offers likenesses of Hollywood greats, and at the Aquarium of the Pacific guests can take a behind-the-scenes tour or even dive with the fish. The aquarium will open a new wing in May.
Portland, Oregon, is known for its weirdness, so teens will fit right in. For multicultural experiences, options include the Lan Su Chinese Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. A great educational spot is the Oregon Zoo, where visitors can travel the world in an afternoon through animals. The zoo is also known for its elephant breeding program. The Portland Art Museum has six stories of modern art and an outdoor sculpture court. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is chock full of learning opportunities: It includes the USS Blueback Submarine, the one featured in “The Hunt for Red October.” Visitors should definitely try a confection at Voodoo Doughnut, open 24 hours, and shop at Powell’s City of Books, a store with more than a million books.
Guests will get heaping dose of the Southwest in San Antonio. The River Walk provides beautiful scenery, and visitors can take a sightseeing cruise down the canal. Students should not miss the Alamo, where they can learn about the epic battle fought there between Mexico and Texas. Natural Bridge Caverns gives students a chance to see the world underground while beating the heat. It also has above-ground zip lines and an outdoor maze. The Tejas Rodeo Company has a rodeo every Saturday night, and visitors can learn about Texas history at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures. Underwater learning and thrill rides abound at Sea World San Antonio, and the all-new Andretti Karting and Games brings more adventure.
Throughout 2019, America’s capital celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees women’s right to vote. To celebrate women, students can visit the National Portrait Gallery, which has a special exhibit, and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. The National Museum of Women in the Arts is another great option. As always, the Smithsonian can keep visitors busy for days, but the new National Museum of African American History and Culture should not be missed. Kids will love the International Spy Museum, which has special educational workshops. And they can learn about the history of journalism at the Newseum before it closes this fall.