Learn More About Student Tours
Being a teacher means that preparation and forward-thinking are crucial. As the academic year begins in earnest and students settle into their school routine, your thoughts may pass from preparing lesson plans to a more ambitious hurdle: crafting the perfect class trip. Thankfully, Brightspark Travel offers a diverse slate of custom-tailored itineraries that allow students to engage with the subject matter that interests them the most and take the logistical burden off teachers and administrators. Brightspark’s tours are all-inclusive — they take care of your transportation, tickets to attractions, and dining arrangements, and a Tour Director joins your group to handle logistics on the road. This school year, brush up on some of your favorite subjects with Brightspark’s top student travel itineraries.
History may be an engaging subject for some students, but Washington, D.C. is a living classroom crammed with museums, monuments and urban wonders that add peerless context to what can be taught from a textbook. One of Brightspark’s most popular options for Social Studies tours is the Washington, D.C. Student Tour, an immersive, multi-day experience in the nation’s capital. For groups seeking an in-depth immersion in America’s past, the itinerary features a walking tour through the National Mall and a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol Building. Museum options can include the National Museum of African American History & Culture (the newest Smithsonian museum, which houses over 30,000 artifacts), the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of Natural History. For an excursion away from the District, students can discover the spookier side of Alexandria across the Potomac on a Ghost & Graveyard Tour.
Other popular Social Studies destinations include San Francisco, New Orleans and Greece.
Arts & Culture
An iconic city filled with thousands of restaurants, theaters and attractions, New York City can be overwhelming for even the savviest and most experienced traveler. Luckily, Brightspark can make all the arrangements for you and give your students a comprehensive Big Apple experience that highlights the city’s role as a cultural capital. Your visit will include stops at some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including Central Park, Times Square and the Empire State Building, and a stop at Ellis Island will give students a glimpse into America’s diverse immigrant and cultural history.
Performing arts groups can take a backstage tour of iconic venues such as Radio City Music Hall (where the Rockettes call home), NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center (where Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show are filmed) and Madison Square Garden (where a behind-the-scenes tour will include Elton John’s autographed setlist and the Papal Mass of Pope Francis). Groups can also perform for visitors at Liberty Island, spend an evening catching a Broadway show and discover world-famous collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Additional Arts & Culture itineraries await in Los Angeles and Nashville.
There’s no better way for students to develop their foreign language skills than an immersive overseas trip. Fortunately, Brightspark offers a variety of French itineraries that grant students unrivaled access to France’s cultural touchstones and beautiful cities. The Paris & French Riviera itinerary introduces students to the City of Light’s world-class art and culture with visits to the Louvre (home to iconic works like the Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa), Versailles and the Eiffel Tower. Beyond the iconic sights, students are given the opportunity to develop their French speaking and comprehension skills with dinner in the Trocadero district, walks through the Latin Quarter and an architecture tour of the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. Groups then depart for the South of France, where they can walk the glamorous boardwalks of Nice and learn how perfumes are made from local flowers in La Fabrique des Fleurs in Grasse. Trips conclude with a tour of the small sovereign state of Monaco.
Other French Brightspark itineraries include Paris & Northwest France, which includes visits to the charming Loire Valley and preserved fortified city of Saint Malo. French itineraries can also be paired with explorations of other nations; the “Paris and London” option includes visits to the Globe Theatre, Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, while “London, Paris & Rome” also stops at iconic Italian locations such as the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Pantheon.
Known for more than just its scenic views and innovative architecture, Chicago is the perfect playground for students to apply the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills they’ve learned in the classroom in world-class museums and institutions. School groups begin their Chicago adventure with a visit to Navy Pier and ride on the Centennial Wheel before embarking on an architecture cruise of the Chicago River. Engineering students will see iconic buildings like the Tribune Tower and Marina City and learn how this previously unstable swampland transformed into the birthplace of the modern skyscraper. Students next explore the mysteries of space at the Adler Planetarium (the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere) and learn about Earth’s biodiversity at the John G. Shedd Aquarium.
They’ll also spend time in the Field Museum, home to a 5,000-year-old mummy tomb and 112-foot model of Maximo the Titanosaur (the world’s largest discovered dinosaur). More immersive experiences await with the wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory & Great Garden and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which features hands-on programming to learn about urban nature environments. The itinerary also includes iconic sites such as the Willis Tower Skydeck, the Magnificent Mile and the Cloudgate sculpture (better known as “The Bean”). Groups with an interest in the social sciences can schedule a visit to the Chicago History Museum, where students can climb aboard the first “L” car, learn about Chicagoans during World War I, visit a jazz club and explore “Lincoln’s Chicago.”
Explore more custom-tailored STEM student tours across the US and abroad in Costa Rica, Southern California, Seattle, Walt Disney World® Resort, Washington, D.C., and Iceland.
Teaching Civil Rights history is more vital than ever, and Brightspark offers a unique student travel itinerary that allow students to discover the nation’s Civil Rights past throughout the American South. This highly-customizable itinerary lets you build a trip from a selection of five cities. The tour’s first option is Memphis, Tennessee, the home of the National Civil Rights Museum. The setting will definitely evoke thoughts of the movement for well-read students; the museum is located at the Lorraine Hotel, where James Earl Ray fatally shot Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968. Students will also journey to the antebellum South at the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, where they will see the hidden passages and retrace the steps of runaway slaves. Next, students can travel to Birmingham, where their first stop is the six-block Civil Rights District. Here, they’ll visit such important landmarks as the 16th Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park, both of which served as rallying points during the movement.
In Montgomery, students get a chance to tour the Rosa Parks Museum, which tells the story behind one of the best-known incidents in the movement. They’ll also visit the Civil Rights Memorial and the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which was built to commemorate victims of racial terror and violence. Many groups continue to Atlanta by way of Tuskegee, where they visit the Tuskegee Airmen’s National Historic Site and learn about the history of people of color in the armed forces. In Atlanta, students can explore the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park and National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Explore more American History itineraries along the East Coast in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.